Rat's Nest
Bloggage, rants, and occasional notes of despair

A long time after, in a galaxy far, far away

(First in a potentially infinite series)

A correspondent and I exchanged remarked on the future of Star Wars. I said:

It will be interesting to see what, if anything, is made of Episodes VII-IX.

to which he replied:

Lucas keeps saying there won't be a 7-9....that 1-6 was the 'life story of Darth Vader' and he had no idea of what happened next....

Wagimoko tells me that she heard the same thing, so I reckon that thereís something to it, even if itís not the truth, the whole truth, and nothing the truth.

In some ways, thatís too bad. In other ways, itís not; Lucas has evidently decided for Star Wars to settle in its decrepitude into being a franchise for action figures and a reason for 13-year-old fanbois to steal money from Mommy and Daddy. Actual plotting and writing have been thrown over in favor of really k00l CGI effects and general eye candy.

Let us assume, however, that Lucas is suddenly struck by guilt (yes, yes, I know, but itís just an assumption for argumentís sake) and decides to make the third trilogy as an apology for the mindlessness of the second (and the second half of The Return of the Jedi). Or, absit omen, he suddenly drops dead and his copyrights are inherited by someone with a clue. What then?

Well, there are legions of better SF writers than I (I proved this conclusively in the late Ď70s and early Ď80s; at least the number of rejection slips that I collected should prove something). On the other hand, I have one telling advantage over them; Iím writing this blog, and theyíre not. So, adding to the outrageous assumption that the actual or logical Lucas decides to make a third Star Wars trilogy with some actual ideas in it, we also assume that Iím asked to write an outline for it.

Episode VII (The Final Fall) opens about fifty years after the close of Episode VI. Luke and Leia are old; everything else from the second trilogy (except possibly Chewbacca Ė who knows how long Wookies live?) in dead of old age. In particular, Han Solo is dead, a decade or two before the start of the film.

At the end of Episode VI, the Rebel Alliance and the Ewoks are celebrating the destruction of the Empire in the persons of the Emperor and Darth Vader. After the celebrations are over and everyone has recovered from the hangovers, the Rebels spread out, bringing the joyous news with them. Surprisingly, the Republic doesnít just spring back to life. After all, there are all those governors and admirals with cloned Imperial Stormtroopers to call on Ė it passes belief that all of them are basically good (if falliable) men intimidated by Vaderís mastery of the Dark Side of Force. More likely, weíll see some, at least, of the Emperorís minions declaring themselves King of this sector and President-for-Life of that one. The Rebel Alliance (now presumably the "temporary" Republican government) has some hard fighting ahead of it, possibly as much as a decadeís worth (in my outline, anyway).

Itís questionable if the Republic can be revived in any meaningful sense at all. The corrupt, sclerotic polity run by hide-bound bureaucrats that we saw in Episode I is unlikely to be due entirely to the machinations of Senator Palpatine Ė much more likely that the Republic is dying of old age, and Palpatine is simply the most successful of a host of plotters (and, of course, the one that we see in the first two trilogies). The intervening decade or two under Imperial rule (the exact interval will likely be defined in Episode III) will not give new life to galactic electoral politics. More likely, it will cause a bigger host of plotters to arise, all thinking, "If Palpatine could make himself emperor, why canít I?"

So, Leia and her Rebel Secret Police Alliance have spent a decade re-assembling the Republic territorially, then an additional forty years or so keeping the plotters as far away from the centers of power as possible. The result is that Leia is now Empress of the Galaxy in all but name. Elections give the results that she wants; the Senate rubber-stamps her policies in the end, no matter how spirited the debate seems to be; the Republicís officials are all nominated, if not by her, then by the second tier of her apparatus. And sheís now given up to the Dark Side. When her consort Han Solo was alive, he kept her on the straight and narrow (unlikely, but hey, the guyís dead; letís throw the bones another bone); after his death, first weariness at having to run as fast as she can to stay in the same place, and then the seduction of wielding power, has corrupted her. Sheís no longer manipulating things behind the curtain for the sake of democracy, or of peace, even in her own mind; sheís doing it because she enjoys seeing the marionettes dance when and only when she pulls the strings.

(UPDATE:  If you're George Lucas looking to turn this scenario into a set of scripts, let's talk real money.  Otherwise, have a free, permament, universal, non-exclusive and non-transferable license to use this as the basis for an RPG or such.  I only ask that you credit and, if you write anything for publication, that you provide the URL of, or a link to, this blog.)

John "Akatsukami" Braue Sunday, May 19, 2002