Welcome to another edition of the Emerald Specter column, number 13, and I wanted to do something a little off beat for this edition. I wanted to run through a scenario that I don’t believe will happen, but would expect to end the way I detail.
This edition, I’ll be exploring the concept of Star Wars as a television series. I’m running on the fictional theory that maybe the Force Awakens never happened… maybe the Clone Wars or Rebels never happened… let’s just say that someone gets the bright idea to turn Star Wars into a TV series to “revitalize” the franchise.
Hey, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica are TV series, why not Star Wars?
Keep in mind, I don’t think this will happen. I’m not suggesting this will happen. I am not advocating for anyone to do what I’m going to be writing about, I’m simply coming up with what I think would happen if someone got the bright idea to reboot or reimagine the franchise into a TV series.
Let’s continue, shall we?So, Disney approaches George Lucas, whose dated science fiction franchise needing new life breathed into it, purchases the name, characters, etc and announces to the world that there will be a new series for ABC, Star Wars the Series.
The old school fans cried out in agony and were suddenly silenced when the marketing machine that is Disney starts announcing the casting for the series. The undiscovered young stars they chose, while initially dissed as “shallow imitations” of the originals, starts gaining leverage when clips from the first season are released, fans start slowly coming around… because Disney’s spending on this series make the special effects look better than anything ever seen on TV. Then comes the season, to much applause.
ABC sees record viewership for the premiere episode as the escape of Princess Leia with C3PO and R2D2 to Tatooine leaves enough of a change from the original film that people start wondering what the new direction is for this franchise. There was so much buzz, in fact, that the haters tuned in setting a new record for viewing… making the second episode more viewed than the first one!
The first season goes off like gangbusters (I’m not old enough to understand that reference, by the way, but why not use it). Leia and the droids locate Obi Wan Kenobi, who can’t leave without a farm boy named Luke. His Jedi skills allow the group to battle off the Empire, who finally capture Leia but allow Kenobi, Luke Skywalker, and the droids to escape to Mos Espa, where they look for a way to get off Tatooine to save Leia from the Empire.
Enter Han Solo, Chewbacca, and the Millennium Falcon. The group flees the planet and comes across the Death Star, the Imperial super weapon… just as it destroys Alderaan! The group gets captured and things look bleak just as the mid-season ends.
The second half of season one kicks off with the dramatic rescue and fight off the Death Star by the Falcon crew. There is the loss of Obi Wan Kenobi in the escape, which ends the in depth talk of the time before the “Dark Times” and the Jedi of old.
Several encounters with the Empire later, as the Millennium Falcon flees to find the Rebellion, they finally end up on Yavvin, where they finally gain access to the Death Star plans and plot the full scale assault of the Empire’s secret weapon. The clock is ticking as the Empire tracked the Falcon to Yavvin and are almost there, ready to destroy the planet and the bulk of the Rebellion!
The season ends with the epic climax of the battle at Yavvin, where the Rebellion manage to deal a serious blow to the Empire by blowing up the Death Star. Luke Skywalker, the hero of the attack, is joined by the support of Han Solo and Chewbacca in the finale, where they’re awarded medals for their valor… but we see, just before the credits roll, that Darth Vader escaped and has a new mission: find the Force user that destroyed the Death Star.
After the season, which was a resounding success, Disney announces that they’ll produce a second Star Wars series to run between Star Wars the Series, which will be a prequel to the Season One series exploring the era of the Old Republic that the Obi Wan Kenobi character kept talking so much about. Some fans roll their eyes, having hated the prequel movies, but all the fans of this new series are willing to give it a shot… knowing that Disney will be going in a new direction.
The deal is sealed for most fans when they discover the actor playing Obi Wan is returning to be the linchpin of the new series.
SEASON TWO (Star Wars the Series)
Viewership for the second season is high, though not as high as the series premiere. We pick up only one month after the end of season one, where Luke Skywalker arrives on the planet Hoth to join the Rebellion as they prepare to launch their next big offensive, which is to plan a full scale assault of Coruscant to depose the Emperor.
Things are changed, though, when word gets to the Rebellion about bounty hunters looking for key members of the Rebellion, which include the bounty from Jabba the Hut on Han Solo. When Luke starts showing real signs of his Force abilities, the Empire is led to Hoth by Darth Vader sensing where this new Force user is… and discovering the name of his target, Darth Vader contacts the Emperor and passes his information on, changing the focus of the two Sith who are leading the Empire.
When Vader leads the attack on Hoth, the Rebellion repels the attack just long enough to allow the bulk of the forces to escape, to fight another day. The Millennium Falcon is Vader’s sole focus, as the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker force Vader to follow the one lead from season one that he felt was best to locate Luke. Enter Boba Fett, the premier bounty hunter in the galaxy, puts together a plan to capture Han Solo for Jabba the Hutt, his true employer. The first half of the season ends when Luke crashes on Dagobah after exploring a Force vision and losing control of his X Wing. Enter Yoda, the only other Jedi left in the galaxy.
Casting news for the companion series, Star Wars the Old Republic, comes out with who is playing Mace Windu, Qui Gon Jinn, Anakin Skywalker, Darth Maul, Count Dooku, and Palpatine gets the fans really excited to see what is coming for the “between the seasons” series. Disney also announces that Star Wars the Old Republic will be only 13 episodes instead of the 20 that the main Series is. Then we kick off with the second half of the season!
We return to a galaxy far, far away with Luke deep in training to be a Jedi on Dagobah. We see all kinds of weird Force visions and learn the reason Luke doesn’t have to worry about being discovered is that Dagobah is cloaked by the Force, keeping them safe.
In a separate plot, the Millennium Falcon housing Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, C3PO, and R2D2 are running from the Star Destroyer fleet through an asteroid field and then to Bespin, where they are introduced to Lando Calrissian. Unbeknownst to the Falcon crew, Boba Fett is on Bespin and has an elaborate trap laid for the crew.
Back with Luke, he starts seeing visions related directly to him, which relate to his friends who will be dealing with the Empire and bounty hunters. He becomes distracted, which sends Yoda into despair that his last pupil won’t stick around to finish his training. Before he departs, Yoda and the ghost of Kenobi plead with Luke to stick with what he’s already learned and not be swayed to the Dark Side of the Force. He promises and leaves, headed for Bespin… the city in the clouds from his visions.
On Bespin, the trap laid for Solo and the others is sprung, implicating Calrissian as a double agent. They resist until Vader shows up, with his fleet, and takes over Bespin by force. Solo is tortured and Vader plans to test the carbon freezing on him for the Emperor’s prize: Luke Skywalker. No longer shrouded from him, Vader senses him impending arrival.
Han Solo is frozen and Boba Fett takes him on Slave One towards Tatooine, where his employer, Jabba the Hutt, will pay him handsomely for his success. Luke arrives too late to stop the plot and ends up coming face to face with Darth Vader, the most dangerous man in the Empire. Their battle lasts an entire episode, ending with the loss of Luke’s hand and the revelation that Vader is his father, just before he is rescued by Leia, Chewbacca, and the cleared Calrissian on the Falcon… we are also given a glimpse of the lair of Jabba the Hutt and what awaits the heroes for season three in the season finale.
The long awaited companion series then starts with a bang!
Qui Gon Jinn and Obi Wan Kenobi are locked in battle with the last Sith, Darth Maul, on Naboo during a dispute on trade routes. The Republic supports Naboo but politics has bogged down the Senate, forcing the Jedi Council to become involved directly. When Maul escapes the battle to fight another day, we learn that he isn’t actually the last Sith but an apprentice to the last Sith Master, Darth Sidious. The plot to take their revenge on the Jedi begins.
Fan reactions to the new series are mixed but viewership rises as the season continues, renewing the faith in those who were worried the prequel series would follow too closely the original Lucas attempt.
The season continued when Princess Amidala, who starts showing an affection towards Jinn’s apprentice Anakin Skywalker, as she is ferried to Coruscant by Jinn and Kenobi to try and sway the Senate to Naboo’s favor. Their arrival is met by Darth Maul and a force of Battle Droids. Count Dooku, one of the strongest Jedi on Coruscant, leads the resistance against Maul but the real fight comes back to Maul vs Qui Gon Jinn.
When Darth Maul ends Jinn’s life in the Coruscant underworld, Kenobi leads Anakin to overcome Maul, resulting in the promotion of Skywalker to full Jedi status by slaying Darth Maul. Count Dooku is approached by Darth Sidious because of his “faltering faith in the Jedi,” recruiting himself a new apprentice that needs very little training. There is a space battle alluded to around Naboo, winning Naboo’s freedom from the trade dispute.
The season ends with Windu, Yoda, and Kenobi discussing the real possibility that Darth Maul wasn’t the Sith Master and what plans the Sith have for the galaxy.
Fans of both series start putting the word out that both series are taking different turns than the original source material and are hopeful that the saga will result in only bigger and better storylines for the future.
SEASON THREE (Star Wars the Series)
The season three opener gets nearly as many viewers as the series premier when the direction for the season came into question just before the launch. Instead of retelling Episode VI, the season starts out with Luke getting his mechanical hand and debating whether or not his path towards becoming a Jedi is right for the galaxy. This is done on Jakku, a planet eerily similar to Tatooine. Leia, Lando, and Chewbacca collect what they can in research to recover Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt while we see the control that Jabba has on Tatooine and surrounding systems.
As the season progresses, we see that the Empire is drawing in towards the inner systems and Coruscant, leaving the outer rim territories largely uncontrolled. This consolidation of power by the Emperor, revealed to be Darth Sidious, is in preparation for the reveal for the new super weapon to replace the Death Star. The exact nature of this super weapon remains a closely guarded secret, even from the audience.
News of the Empire drawing in forces the attention of Admiral Ackbar, Mon Mothma, and the Rebellion leadership to start formulating a plan of attack. Several small engagements reveal that the super weapon is around the Coruscant system, so spies go in to investigate.
Luke eventually decides to return to Dagobah and finish his training, begin encouraged by the ghost of Kenobi. His secluded training is seen for the rest of the season dealing with Yoda, Force visions, and learning to become a full fledged Jedi.
Leia, Lando, and Chewbacca infiltrate Jabba’s palace, set themselves up in covert positions that enable them to have a chance at freeing Han, and they discover that Boba Fett is far more than he initially appeared. The power struggle between Jabba and Boba forces Boba off world, back to Mandalore, where he no longer threatens Jabba’s hold. When the liberation attempt is made, Leia and Chewbacca are captured by Jabba’s forces, leaving Lando without a viable escape plan and he is forced to remain disguised until help can arrive.
The season finale is the darkest cliffhanger yet, leaving Leia enslaved, Han Solo still trapped in carbonite, Luke driven to leave his training again due to visions, Lando unable to save any of his friends, and the Rebellion discovering the super weapon the Empire was hiding: a Sith Order with hundreds of apprentices being recruited from across the galaxy.
The season finale was met with mixed reviews, though more positive than negative. No one could seem to agree if the remake was better than the original film or if the new direction gave hope that there could be a new and interesting direction for the future of the franchise.
SEASON TWO (Star Wars the Old Republic)
The Senate is torn in half by debate after the destruction of Dantooine, which was blamed on the Union, an alternative to the Republic. The member states of the Union fully withdraw from the Senate and start building an army of droids. Their immediate hostilities force the Senate to begin asking for recruits to fight back, as the Jedi cannot battle the large scale assaults of the Union.
Just when the Senate was faced with the real possibility of being unable to defend the inner systems, the cloners on Kamino contact the new Chancellor Palpatine to report his order has been fulfilled for millions of clone soldiers. Forced into utilizing this fortuitous army, Palpatine gives the Senate the option and they unanimously vote to use the clones while also requiring the Jedi to investigate where this “order” came from, leaving those Jedi not investigating to become the generals of the clones against the increasingly aggressive Union.
Darth Tyrannus, also known as Count Dooku, is leading the Union from behind the scenes. Dooku is also being trained by Darth Sidious in the ways of the Dark Side of the Force. Through this training it is revealed that Darth Sidious and Chancellor Palpatine are one in the same.
The investigation reveals that a long dead Jedi is credited with the order of the clones but the host for the clones reveals he was paid by a man named Tyrannus, linking the clones to the Sith. As the investigators try to report this back, the clones turn on them and kill them, leaving the mystery of the clones hidden.
Windu, Yoda, and Kenobi confer and decide the Jedi are being targeted, as things they are doing in support of the war effort are becoming bad publicity for the Jedi Order as a whole. The season finale sees Anakin Skywalker becoming a personal attache to the Chancellor as a “plant” for the Jedi to figure out who the real enemy is.
Fans were once again mixed on the direction of the entire franchise, so Disney hired six of the top creators in the industry to bring back the large viewership of their first three seasons, as many fans blamed them for “resting on their laurels” from their initial success. Those that made this claim cited the last seasons of Star Wars weren’t nearly as successful. This collaboration caused a delay in the new season but everyone anxiously awaited what would come out of the delay.
SEASON FOUR (Star Wars the Series)
The season four premier was a smash success as Luke leaves Dagobah after Yoda dies, stating he must defeat Darth Vader in order to realize his training to become a full Jedi. He heads straight for Tatooine, where his visions revealed that his friends needed his help.
C3PO and R2D2 are sent to Jabba as gifts, or plants for Luke, to give the would-be Jedi a look inside the inner workings of the criminal underworld, and to provide hope that Lando wasn’t going to be all alone for long.
Attending the Sith Order Academy on Korriban himself, Darth Sidious places the last of the Nightsisters, Asajj Ventress, in charge to teach them all the ways of the Dark Side. Her training from decades before was incomplete, but with Darth Vader needed to run the Empire, only she remained as a viable option for Korriban. Korriban’s location was tough for the Rebellion to discern, as the moon was in orbit around the enormous forest planet of Endor.
Luke’s arrival on Tatooine is big, as he waltzes into Jabba’s palace and announces the imminent death of Jabba if his friends are not released. He’s taken into custody after Luke slays the Rancor in a pit below the palace, angering the crime lord. Jabba is so angered, he releases Han Solo from his carbon prison and plans to feed them all to the Sarlac, a desert creature. The attempt to feed them to the Sarlac is a failure, as Luke used his new lightsaber and a coordinated plan with Lando and Chewbacca to free the others and escape Tatooine. They then rejoin the Rebellion, only then learning of the new Sith Order.
Han Solo and Lando Calrissian join the upper echelons of the Rebellion as generals, with a full scale plan ready to go for a multiple pronged attack. Lando Calrissian would lead the attack on the Imperial fleet in orbit around Coruscant along with Admiral Ackbar. Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Leia would remove the shield protecting Korriban by freeing the natives on Endor and destroying the Imperial machinery. Luke Skywalker would lead the direct attack on Korriban, on the hundreds of barely trained Sith before they could become full Dark Side users.
The season finale sees the attack’s success in question when Luke Skywalker is captured by Darth Vader and taken to Darth Sidious to be swayed towards the Dark Side, Han Solo’s group is overwhelmed by a much larger Imperial contingent than expected, and the fleets clash is dire for the Rebellion when Coruscant hits the largest capitol ship with a planet side canon.
Fans were emboldened as the season went on and the viewership went up again. The hope for the Old Republic spinoff was greater, too, but fans were distraught when they learned that the next season would be the last season.
SEASON THREE (Star Wars the Old Republic)
The season premier of the final season of Old Republic is all about a flashback, showing Anakin and Padme Amidala in a forbidden relationship, growing through events already seen. Their union ends up with Amidala becoming pregnant, which is hidden from Anakin so that he wouldn’t be torn between his duty to the Jedi and leaving the order due to breaking their code.
The season continued with present day machinations of Palpatine maneuvering the mind of Anakin to be receptive to his turn towards the Dark Side. Obi Wan Kenobi detects the turning of Anakin’s mind, reports that to Mace Windu and Yoda, who realize that things are not what they seem.
A covert action to discover the truth leads Mace Windu to enter the Chancellor’s chamber and spy on his activities, forcing a confrontation between Windu and Darth Sidious, framed in Anakin’s eyes as the Jedi attacking the Chancellor during a time of war because they aren’t as popular in the eyes of the Republic. Anakin is the one that strikes down Mace Windu, causing him to fully take the mantle of Darth Vader. Darth Vader solidified his place at Darth Sidious’s side by slaying Darth Tyrannus.
The Union begins falling to the overwhelming clone armies but just as suddenly, the clones turn on their generals and take out nearly all of the Jedi in the galaxy in a matter of days. The only remaining Jedi on Coruscant end up being Kenobi and Yoda, both decide on taking on the two Sith Lords in charge of what was just named the Galactic Empire, replacing the Republic.
Kenobi takes on Skywalker on Mustafar, where the Empire is mining the metals for the Death Star construction. Their battle ends with massive physical damage to Skywalker and Kenobi mistakenly decides to leave him to die among the planet’s molten rivers. Yoda faces Darth Sidious in a battle at the capitol building, where Yoda is overwhelmed by the Dark Lord and driven into hiding on Dagobah.
The series ends with Darth Sidious rebuilding Darth Vader into the mechanical menace we see at the beginning of Star Wars the Series, with both Kenobi and Yoda going into hiding with the child of Anakin being taken into hiding… along with his sister.
Redemption for the companion series was a resounding yes, with the season running slightly longer than 13 episodes. Fans were rejuvenated and very interested in what would happen in the next season of Star Wars the Series.
SEASON FIVE (Star Wars the Series)
Much like the start of the final season of the Old Republic, the Series starts out in flashback… way back… with Darth Sidious training three apprentices to be full Dark Lords of the Sith. They were Darth Maul (formerly known as Savage Opress), Darth Daka (Asajj Ventress), and Darth Ren (whose true identity is not revealed). Their training proceeds to a certain point, when Darth Ren ventures away believing this own training is over. The other two’s destinies are known, and the first episode fills in much of the history of how Palpatine became Sidious… being taught by Darth Plagueis and eventually killing him for the seat of power of the Sith.
The season returns to the present with Darth Vader being pitted against Luke Skywalker by Darth Sidious. Han Solo and company is liberated and the odds are evened by the natives of Endor, the Ewoks, who help take down the shields from Korriban and eventually allow the Rebellion to sweep the Imperial forces off of Endor. With the forces around Coruscant weakened, the return of Han Solo and others to the battle gives the Rebellion the upper hand, forcing the remnants of the Empire to flee from the capitol. As the season progresses, Darth Vader is struck down by Luke Skywalker, but not killed, forcing the Emperor (Darth Sidious) to engage Luke directly. He loses when a hobbling Vader evens the odds after a change of heart, allowing for the Sith to be swept away from the seat of power in the capitol.
All Rebellion forces then begin to converge on Korriban, with Jedi Master Luke Skywalker leading the charge against Asajj Ventress directly. The recruits are all either killed or imprisoned in the raid, leaving the Sith in ruins and Korriban a rumor to the galaxy.
With the season ending in the removal of the Empire, fans were overjoyed to see that the creators really took the series back from the low point in season four, where there was doubts of the reimagining being a success. The direction for the future was of big interest, especially considering the season finale showed that Nemo Ren, formerly Darth Ren, was emerging as a threat with his small band of Knights of Ren seeking their place in the new galactic order of things.
Well… I’m going to stop this little exercise here, but only because I don’t want it to drag on too long… if there is interest, I’d write more about the Star Wars the Series direction. I don’t name actor names because of the “unknowns” factor that I believe the casting would take. I also don’t get too descriptive on episode by episode because then I’m bogged down by the tiny details that don’t need to be fleshed out. Know that the reimagining would be more cohesive, more uniform, and there would be more opportunities for storytelling to go in different directions now that I’ve gotten us through remaking the “Original Trilogy.” My own personal guess would be fleshing out the distant past, maybe a Darth Bane series, and continuing into the future, allowing for a second “current day” series to run concurrently in a different part of the saga. I’m suggesting the second current series would flesh out other parts of the galaxy that aren’t dealing with the “core problems” of the main characters.
So… what do you think? Feedback is welcome.