Scene 18: Darth Maul stalks through the station’s corridors, until he reaches a great observation window, looking down over Nabooine. He snaps his fingers, and a spider-legged holo-projector (similar to the one scene in LI) scuttles over. Maul waves his hand, and a bluish-gray hologram appears before him – that of a hooded, wrinkled figure: Darth Sidious.
“Report,” Sidious growls.
“The Jedi have shown themselves, my Master,” Maul says, bowing his head slightly as he speaks to his master. “A full Knight, and his apprentice, have tried to pierce the blockade.”
“And you have killed them?” Sidious asks, mildly.
“They were… formidable, Master.”
Sidious growls. “Do not disappoint me again, Darth Maul. Everything we have planned for revolves around this moment. For millennia, the galaxy has forgotten us, but our time has come again to rise… and even the Jedi cannot stand in our way.”
Darth Maul nods. “We will have our revenge.”
“Good,” Sidious says, smiling. Then his scowl returns. “Now… report back to me when you have killed the Jedi.”
“As you wish, my Master,” Maul bows again, and the hologram flickers out. The spider-droid scuttles away, and Darth Maul gazes out the window. We see, simultaneously, the Federation army’s landing craft descending to the planet, and Darth Maul’s baleful reflection in the window, scowling down at the planet.
Scene 19: Down on Nabooine’s surface, in a dense, lush forest, an escape pod lays in a crater, still smoking and scarred from re-entry. The pod shakes suddenly, and the escape hatch is blown off. Qui-Gon Jin climbs out, smoothing his robes and looking around him. The sound of descending ships catches his eye, and he looks up, as Federation landing craft and fighters swoop overhead.
“Hoy, yoy!” we hear someone yelling from behind Qui-Gon. He turns behind him to look.
Jar-Jar Binks, looking more like someone who’s been living in the rough than he did in LI, emerges from the brush, holding a hand up to his face to block the glare as he, too, stares up at the ships. “Whosa dis! What happenin?!”
“The Trade Federation has chosen to invade, it appears,” Qui-Gon says, jumping down from his escape pod.
“The what?” Jar-Jar asks, staring at Qui-Gon. “And whosa are yousa, anyway?”
“I am Qui-Gon Jin,” Qui-Gon replies. “A Jedi Knight.”
Jar-Jar blows a raspberry at Qui-Gon. “Tell me anoddah one, no Jedi ever come out here!”
“And I suppose the planet being invaded is a common occurrence?” Qui-Gon asks, raising an eyebrow. “Today is a day for strange things, my friend. Now, who might you be?”
Jar-Jar gives Qui-Gon a once-over, looking suspicious. Finally, though, he says “Mesa Jar-Jar Binks.”
“Are you a native of Nabooine, Master Binks?” Qui-Gon asks.
“Hah! He wants ta know I’m a native,” Jar-Jar says to no-one in particular, shaking his head. “Jar-Jar been tryin’ ta get off dis place for years! I been marooned, ever since…” he trails off. “Eeeh, mebbe I don’t tell you all about dat right now.”
Qui-Gon shrugs. “Well, if you’ve been here for years, you must know your way around.”
“Maaaaaabee?” Jar-Jar says.
Qui-Gon: “I find myself in need of a guide. I must reach the planet’s capital, Theed, if I’m going to be any help in resisting this invasion.”
Jar-Jar: “Dat sounds kinda dangerous.”
Qui-Gon: “It likely will be, yes.”
Jar-Jar: “Jar-Jar don’ do dangerous, Mister Jedi, sorry.” He turns around to leave.
Qui-Gon: “I can’t make you take me there, Jar-Jar. But I can make it worth your while.”
Jar-Jar, walking away, waving goodbye. “Sure, sure!”
“I can see to it you are taken off-world, when all this is over,” Qui-Gon says, following him. “Anywhere you like – from Coruscant to Sollust, your choice.”
Jar-Jar stops, turning around. “Why should I believe you? Yousa crazy! Yousa think you’re some kinda Jedi.”
Qui-Gon smiles, and nods past Jar-Jar.
Behind Jar-Jar, we see a trio of rocks floating in the air, orbiting one another. Jar-Jar turns around to see what Qui-Gon’s indicating, and then jumps almost four feet back. “Whoa!” he yells. “You… yousa…” He turns to look back at Qui-Gon, who he’s practically jumped onto. “Yousa Jedi!”
Qui-Gon nods, smiling benevolently.
Jar-Jar sputters a little, before heading off in the opposite direction he’d been heading. “Dis way!” he calls back. “Theed-a dis way! Come on!”
Scene 16: “What happened?” Obi-Wan asks.
Artoo rolls into the cockpit, and says something to Padme.
“He says they must have gotten too far from the control station,” she says, sighing. “Lost their power and direction. Thank the stars…”
“We’re not safe yet,” Obi-Wan says, slumping down on the floor, massaging his temples. He looks beat. “With the hyperdrive gone, we can’t get to Coruscant…”
Padme nods, turning around to face him. Artoo wheels himself up, and plugs himself into a slot near the cockpit. “There are two other inhabited planets in this system,” she says. “Tatooine’s closest, but there’s not much there… it’s run by the Hutts.” She scowls as she says the last word.
“Gangsters,” Obi-Wan nods. “Still, that might be a good place to hide from the Trade Federation. We might be able to get a new ship there, as well.”
“No,” Padme says. “We need mine – I left the sensors on for the entire invasion, before they finally captured me. We have proof of what the Trade Federation is doing, we’ll need that to convince the Senate – but all that is locked in the ship’s computer.”
“Alright, then we’ll have to find a way to repair it,” Obi-Wan says. He leans his head against the bulkhead. “This wasn’t how I expected things to go.”
Padme gets out of her chair, and sits down next to Obi-Wan, putting her hand on his shoulder. “Me neither.”
“I keep seeing his face,” Obi-Wan says. “Qui-Gon, my Master…”
“Can you tell if he’s alive?” Padme asks. “I mean, you’re a Jedi…”
“The Force isn’t that strong with me,” Obi-Wan says. “I’m only a padawan, an apprentice.”
“But the Force led you to find me,” Padme says. “That couldn’t have just been coincidence. I think you’re stronger than you know, Obi-Wan Kenobi.”
“I hope you’re right,” Obi-Wan says. “For our sake, and that of your people.”
Padme nods gravely. She stands, and turns to R2-D2. “Artoo, plot in a course for Tatooine.”
Artoo chirps a reply. Cut outside the ship, as it rockets forward, the scars of its battle evident across the otherwise smooth, shiny vessel.
Scene 17: Ursana paces across her command room, using a cane to support her vast bulk. “And they escaped?” She addresses a group of officers, including a few droids.
“Only temporarily, ma’am,” a Federation officer, obviously nervous, says. “Without their hyperdrive or communications, they’d have no way of contacting anyone.”
“Send ships out to track them down anyway,” Ursana says, taking a bite of something nasty-looking. “Set up a perimeter around Tatooine and Dantooine both, that’s where they’re likely to try and make port.”
“We’ll be weakening our blockade if we do that,” another officer says, then realizes he’s maybe made a mistake. “Ah, respectfully, Commander Ursana.”
“Idiot,” Ursana says, annoyed. “If those two get word to the Senate, we’ll have the entire Republic Fleet coming down on us, and then our blockade will be as useless as you are.” She sighs, a sound full of phlegm. “And you,” she continues, looking away at another figure.
Darth Maul broods in a corner, his cloak burnt and shredded, making him appear even more dangerous and wild. Ursana continues: “What aid can your master give us, if he is indeed so intent on our success?”
“I will consult with him,” Maul says, growling out his words. “The Jedi… they must be eliminated.”
“Oh, most certainly,” Ursana says, flapping her hand around dismissively. “But we have other concerns to attend to, first.” She turns to one of the droids. “General, land your troops – if we will not have the girl-Queen’s submission, we will have her people’s.”
“Roger roger,” the General droid says, in a deeper tone than that of the cartoonish battle droids.
Scene 13: Obi-Wan, Padme over his shoulder, runs through the corridors, making his way back to the hangar. Padme stirs, and begins pounding on Obi-Wan’s back. “Let me down!” she yells. Obi-Wan does, but checks her over for a moment. “Are you alright?” he asks.
“I’m fine, just rattled,” she says. The ship shakes with another bad hit. “What’s happening?”
“Your value to the Trade Federation seems to have depreciated,” Obi-Wan says, as they continue on. “My Master, Qui-Gon Jin, is holding off our attacker.” They reach the hangar bay, which has already been emptied out of any ships they may have used, besides droid fighters – except for the sleek silvery ship that was there. “Blast,” Obi-Wan says. “We’ll have to find another way off - I’m not familiar with that ship design.”
“I am,” Padme says, grabbing his hand and pulling him toward it. “I should be, it’s my ship!”
“What?” Obi-Wan asks, as they reach it.
“I was flying when they invaded,” she replies. “Captured me in a tractor beam, pulled me in.” She puts her palm against the ship’s surface, and ripples of light expand from the contact point. The ship’s seamless body splits open, exposing a walkway, and Padme and Obi-Wan rush inside.
There, they find themselves face-to-face with two battle droids, standing guard. Obi-Wan ignites his lightsaber, but before he can use it, the droids are electrocuted by an unknown source. As they crumple to the ground, everyone’s favorite Astromech droid rolls out, chirping happily at Padme.
“Artoo!” Padme calls to him, grinning. “Get the engines spun up, we’re getting out of here!” Artoo squeals, and turns down the corridor to do just that.
Padme and Obi-Wan make it to the cockpit, and Padme starts throwing switches to start the ship up.
We cut to an exterior shot, as Padme’s yacht flies out of the hangar bay, as a torpedo slams into the side of the Federation ship, triggering a series of explosions across the whole vessel.
Obi-Wan’s reaction at seeing this is one of immense pain. “Master…” he whispers.
Scene 14: The whole place is falling apart around the two lightsaber duelists, but their battle continues. Darth Maul fights with mad, exhilarating speed and intensity, while Qui-Gon counters with precise, smooth blocks and sweeps. This fight scene should visually illustrate the differences between the Sith and Jedi philosophy – passion against composure, aggression against peace.
“We’ll both die if we continue,” Qui-Gon says, calmly, even as he sweeps aside one of Maul’s attacks.
“Do you fear death, Jedi?” Maul demands.
“A Jedi fears nothing,” Qui-Gon replies. “But it is our duty to preserve all life.” An exchange of blows. “Even that of our enemies.”
“And that is why you are weak,” Maul snarls, and attacks with an acrobatic flurry of strikes.
Qui-Gon leaps back from the blows, and suddenly sheaths his lightsaber, shaking his head. “You do not understand,” he says, sadly. Then, just as Darth Maul moves in for the kill, Qui-Gon Force-pulls several chunks of debris between them, forming a grid-wall. Darth Maul swiftly begins cutting through this barrier, but by the time he gets through, Qui-Gon has disappeared. Maul shrieks in anger, as more of the corridor falls down around him.
Qui-Gon runs down the corridor until he locates an unused escape pod. He enters it, Force-sealing the hatch.
Cut to an exterior shot, as the pod rushes down towards Nabooine’s surface, just as Ship 217 finally explodes under the withering fire from its sister-ships.
Scene 15: Six droid fighters have pulled in behind the Queen’s yacht, licking blaster fire across the hull. We’ve moved away from the planet, now, but we’re still in range of the Federation’s blockade.
“Artoo, activate the hyperdrive!” Padme calls into a headset she’s wearing, as she yanks the controls back and forth, trying to dodge the fighters’ shots.
Artoo, in the ship’s engine room plugged into a terminal, bleeps something back at her.
Padme growls in frustration, turning to Obi-Wan. “They yanked the hyperdrive and the communications antennae!”
Obi-Wan, who has been holding on to the back of the Queen’s pilot chair, turns around, looking through the back of the ship’s bubble cockpit. He extends a hand, his face flushing and wincing with effort. He manages to jiggle one of the fighters a little, but it regains control, and swoops in for another attack. Obi-Wan’s powers are still not the equal of Qui-Gon’s, and it shows.
He gathers his will again, and tries once more. This time, he manages to send the fighter spinning away, right into the path of its compatriots’ blaster fire. As it explodes, we see the five remaining fighters sweep past the camera, showing us that our heroes aren’t out of the woods yet.
Padme throws the yacht into a spin, dodging another round of blasters, and then hits the brakes, and the fighters sweep past them. One of the fighters doesn’t quite react in time, and it clips its wing against the yacht. The yacht gets a nasty scrape, but the smaller fighter is done for – it goes spinning off into space.
Obi-Wan snags another fighter with the Force, and manages to actually shred the fighter in two parts. However, the Jedi is looking exhausted and tense now, grabbing Padme’s chair for support. Padme looks up at him, worried, and calls into her headset: “Artoo, boost all the power we’ve got into the engines, we’ve got to escape now!”
Sure enough, the yacht’s engines flare, and they start pulling away from the fighters. The fire doesn’t let up, however, and the ship continues to take hits. Padme grits her teeth, speeding them forward. The ship takes a hard hit, and the internal lights flicker for a moment. Things aren’t looking good…
…and then the three remaining fighters stop firing, their engines sputter out, and they start drifting forward, carried by their own inertia.
Scene 10: On the Federation command ship, a communications droid turns to face Ursana. “Commander, Ship 217 is reporting intruders – Two Jedi.”
Ursana spits something into a spittoon, and almost rises up from her command throne. “Blast! What about that girl-Queen, isn’t she on 217 as well?”
Ursana’s face twists in disgust. “Bah. She’s more trouble than she’s worth… Order Ships 93 and 504 to destroy 217. We’ll take no chances with these Jedi!”
The ship’s living officers stare in shock at Ursana, but the droids simply carry out their tasks. Comm Droid: “Repeat, target Ship 217, fire at will.”
Scene 11: Qui-Gon, on the bridge of Ship 217, is interrogating the Federation commander. “The Queen? Amidala, she’s here?”
“Yes,” the Federation captain blubbers. “In the detention block. She was supposed to issue a full surrender, submit the planet to Federation rule, but… but now you two have gone and ruined all that, and I-”
Before he can finish whining, the ship is hit with a sudden, rocking blast. “What was that?” Qui-Gon asks.
“We’re being fired upon by Ship 93,” a droid answers. “Ship 504 is locking torpedoes on us.”
“What?!” the Federation commander yells. “They, they can’t, what?!”
“Get your people to escape pods!” Qui-Gon orders the commander. “Now!”
Before the commander can issue any orders, the bridge starts emptying itself, as people and droids alike run for exits. Qui-Gon himself, looks up, concern. “Obi-Wan…” he, too, runs out of the bridge, but not in the same direction as all the others.
Scene 12: Aaand, we’re back with more lightsaber fighting. Obi-Wan is starting to tire, and we can see that Maul is playing with him now, relishing what will soon be the kill. Even as the ship rocks and parts spark and fly away, Maul never turns his attention from vanquishing the young Jedi.
We can see on Obi-Wan’s face that he knows he’s lost already, but he refuses to give up – his swings become wilder, riskier, but not desperate – even now, he does not succumb to fear.
Just as Darth Maul seems ready to deliver the killing blow, he hesitates, and spins on his heel to block a blow from behind him – this time from Qui-Gon. The two begin their own duel.
“Go, Obi-Wan!” he yells. “Get her out of here!”
Obi-Wan hesitates a moment longer, watching the two battle, Maul now evenly matched with his opponent. Still, Obi-Wan manages to get himself together, and lifts the Queen over his shoulder, and makes a run for it.
We hold on Qui-Gon and Maul for a moment, their lightsabers crossed, sparking and humming with tension. “Who are you?” Qui-Gon demands.
“The beginning,” Maul replies, before swinging the other end of his lightsaber at Qui-Gon’s head. Qui-Gon blocks the attack, and the fight continues.
Scene 7: Obi-Wan is running down the corridor, but he skids to a halt, as two destroyer droids roll up before him, unfolding to deploy their shields and weapons. They start blasting away at Obi-Wan, who scampers back behind a bulkhead, looking around desperately to figure out where and how to escape. He finally leaps straight up (maybe a bit of a somersault to it, because, hey, Jedi) into an exposed ventilation shaft. The destroyers come about, searching around for him (but not looking up). Obi-Wan jumps down between them, then rolls away. The destroyers don’t react quite fast enough, and their powerful blasters overload one another’s shields, and they both go kablooie. Brushing himself off, Obi-Wan continues down the corridor.
His head snaps around, as if he’s hearing something off in the distance, and then he makes a turn, running for a locked door. He puts his hand up to it, as if feeling for vibration, and then, nodding to himself, begins slicing through the door with his lightsaber.
Inside, we see the young Queen standing in the middle of her detention cell, a dismembered battle droid’s arm-gun in her hands, a smoking ruin of droids all around her. “My thanks,” she says, nodding to Obi-Wan. “I was wondering how I was going to get out of here.”
“Queen Amidala,” Obi-Wan says, surprised. “I am Obi-Wan Kenobi, of the Jedi Order.”
Padme: “Thank the stars… you’re here to save our world? Has the Republic fleet arrived?”
Obi-Wan: “Um… not exactly. We sort of… crash-landed here.”
Padme: “Oh.” Pause. “Well, we have to get out of here, come on!” She rushes past Obi-Wan, who hurries to follow her back out into the corridor.
Scene 8: The Federation ship’s command center, a smaller, more cramped version of Ursana’s opulent command room, is in chaos, with reports of intruders ringing out all over the place, the ship’s commander looking on the verge of complete panic.
Naturally, the doors blow open around this time, smashing two battle droids, and Qui-Gon Jin enters the room, his hands clasped, appearing as calm and regal as possible. “Power down your defenses,” he proclaims. “I would prefer not to-”
“Kill him!” the commander shrieks. The battle droids open fire.
Qui-Gon goes from a perfect image of serenity to a flurry of action, his lightsaber suddenly in his hand and pinwheeling around to deflect blaster bolts. The command center erupts in sparks and blasts as the errant bolts fly about, and Trade Federation personnel duck for cover. The battle droids don’t have quite the same level of self-preservation, so they get torn up by their own blasts pretty good. Finally, the blasters cease, and Qui-Gon sheathes his lightsaber again, appearing perfectly calm once more.
“Now,” he says. “Who, may I ask, is in charge here?”
All eyes turn to the commander, who tries to hide behind a console.
Qui-Gon’s lips twitch in a bit of a smile.
Scene 9: Obi-Wan and Padme are running for the hangar bay, but when they get there, the shadowy figure from before is waiting for them. “So,” he says. “The Jedi have sent one of their padawans to die. Where is your master, boy?”
Obi-Wan stares at the figure, confused and frightened, but he ignites his lightsaber nevertheless. “Stay behind me, your Highness,” he says. “I’ll deal with this-”
“Oh, please,” Darth Maul says, and extends his own lightsaber (just one blade, for now), and attacks Obi-Wan, a glancing, testing flurry of blows. “You’re barely old enough to wield a lightsaber.”
Obi-Wan slashes back, a wild attack which nevertheless forces Maul back a step. During the attack, Maul’s hood flies back from his head, and we are exposed to the full horror of the Sith Knight’s visage. Maul grins. The other end of his lightsaber extends, and Obi-Wan’s eyes flare with surprise and fear. Darth Maul proceeds to very nearly kill Obi-Wan several times, with Obi-Wan just barely escaping.
Darth Maul extends his hand and clenches it into a fist, Force-pulling Obi-Wan towards him, his lightsaber swinging forward to kill the young Jedi. Just as it looks like the end for Obi-Wan, Darth Maul swings his lightsaber around, in order to deflect the bolts from Padme’s appropriated blaster. Darth Maul sneers at her, and Force-smashes the Queen into a bulkhead. She is knocked out, but before Darth Maul can finish her off, Obi-Wan gets up and lays into him again, crying out to get the Sith Knight’s attention. The fight continues, but the scene shifts in the middle of Obi-Wan’s swing, leaving us on a mini-cliffhanger.
Scene 4: The Jedi ship drifts in closer to Nabooine. From inside the cockpit, we see Qui-Gon’s furrowed-brow and Obi-Wan’s startled reaction. Then we see the planet itself – Nabooine is practically encrusted with matte-black Trade Federation ships, droid fighters zooming past in swarms, other independent-looking ships all docked with and, presumably, being boarded by, Federation vessels. High over the planet hangs a huge hemispherical vessel or station, watching over it all.
“This is insane!” Obi-Wan says. “They must have their entire security fleet here… I didn’t think the Federation had this many vessels!”
“They don’t,” Qui-Gon says, shaking his head, appearing a little worried for the first time. “At least, they never appeared to… this is far bigger than we thought.” He turns to Obi-Wan. “We must return to Coruscant, my padawan, and inform the Senate. There is nothing we can do here.”
Obi-Wan: “What? Master, that planet is being invaded, who knows what the Trade Federation is really doing down there, these people need our-”
Qui-Gon: “Obi-Wan, we are walking in a blind corridor. We are Jedi – we must proceed with reason and knowledge, above all other concerns.” He sighs. “We cannot win in a battle against these foes. You are a formidable fighter, Obi-Wan… but there are alternatives to fighting.”
Obi-Wan looks ready to protest again, but then he closes his eyes, breathes for a moment, then nods. “You’re right, of course, Master. I-”
But, of course, before Obi-Wan can continue, an alarm goes off, and Qui-Gon, examining it, says “it seems we may have to fight after all.”
A trio of droid fighters peels off from a patrol group, heading straight for the Jedi ship. Obi-Wan switches the engines back on, but they start up with a coughing, backfiring sound – they don’t like starting cold. The fighters open fire on the limping vessel, and fire rakes the hull.
“Obi-Wan,” Qui-Gon says, calmly. “We need to leave, now.”
“I’m trying, I’m trying!” Obi-Wan says, panic edging into his voice, as he throws switches and turns knobs.
Qui-Gon turns his attention to the fighters, and extends a hand out, fingers splayed in a warding gesture.
Suddenly, one of the droid fighters careens into one of its partners, destroying both of them – the shrapnel from the explosion gets caught in the third fighter’s engine, and it, too, explodes. Just as the debris is clearing, however, more fighters, nine of them this time, are swooping in.
Obi-Wan seems to have gotten the cantankerous freighter moving finally, and he dips and spins away, trying to avoid enemy fire, though he doesn’t succeed entirely.
Scene 5: Inside the Trade Federation’s command station, we can see the distant laser flashes through a giant observation window. Federation personnel, living and droid alike, are hard at work at consoles and desks. A Federation commander, Ursana, in an absurd-looking uniform, leans forward in her command throne, examining the battle. “Who is that, down there?” she asks. “Those little twinkling lights… so pretty.”
“Sector seven reports an intruder, commander,” a console droid says. “Came out of nowhere.”
“Well, we can’t let them escape,” Ursana says, though somewhat dismissively. “Go ahead and smash them already.”
Scene 6: Two larger Federation vessels are moving in to pin the Jedi ship inside the blockade, to prevent their escape.
Qui-Gon: “Can we go to lightspeed?”
Obi-Wan: “Not in the middle of all these ships, we’d smash right through them and blast ourselves in the process-”
A solid hit slams the ship about.
Qui-Gon: “It would appear we are headed that way nevertheless.” He looks around the battlefield, and then makes a brushing motion with his hand, as if shooing away a fly. A droid fighter that had been headed straight for them is knocked away, and instead smashes through a set of bay doors on one of the Federation ships. “There!” he says, pointing. “We cannot escape out – we may try to escape inside. Find out what we can about what’s happening, maybe take the ship ourselves.”
Obi-Wan, slightly amused: “What was that you said about avoiding fighting?”
Qui-Gon, who doesn’t have time for Obi-Wan’s sarcastic shenanigans: “Go, now!”
Obi-Wan slams the throttle forward, and their ship spirals out and away from the fighters toward the damaged ship. The ship’s landing bay has defenses, though (think the little roof-mounted laser that blows up the ship in LI), and Obi-Wan’s landing doesn’t quite come off all that nicely – in fact, the ship skids in on its side, smashing an engine off or something cool and explosive like that.
The landing bay (which contains a sleek, drop-of-mercury-chrome ship as well) is quickly flooded with battle droids, all of them taking up cover positions and pointing their weapons at the crashed ship. For a moment, there is tense silence, and some of the droids move forward, covering the entrance with their guns.
“Go check it out,” one of the droids says.
“Roger roger,” it replies, and it and four of its buddies enter the ship, staying low, just in case. Nothing happens at first…
And then we hear the iconic sound of two lightsabers starting up and cutting through something thick and metallic, and a great big piece of bulkhead drops onto the battle droids standing guard in front of the ship.
Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon jump down from a giant hole in the ship, its edges still glowing with heat, their lightsabers ignited. The battle droids behind cover open fire, and Qui-Gon sets to work deflecting their blasts. The droids inside the ship start to rush back out, but Obi-Wan slams the ship’s door on them, cutting of one of them in half. The torso-head of the battle droid says “Uh-oh,” as it flies through the air.
Together, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan advance on the battle droids, and make quick work of them (thirty second battle, tops – we’ve got things to do and people to see).
The Jedi escape into the corridor, but start heading in opposite directions. They stop and turn to each other. “The control room will be this way,” Qui-Gon says.
“Yes, Master, but… there’s something this way, too,” Obi-Wan says. “Someone, I think. Important.”
Qui-Gon considers this, then nods. “Go. Meet back here.” The Jedi go their separate ways.
Scene 2: High above Tatooine, the binary stars off in the distance, a small, unmarked vessel (perhaps a sleeker, early-model Corellian freighter?) shoots past the planet at extreme speed, heading toward the brighter sun. This is Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan’s ship.
Obi-Wan sits at the controls, looking nervous. Qui-Gon, of course, is a picture of bemused serenity.
“Seven years you have been my apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi,” Qui-Gon says. “Never have I seen you so agitated.”
“I have a bad feeling about all of this, Master Qui-Gon,” Obi-Wan replies. “An entire planet gone completely silent, cut off from the entire galaxy? Beyond that, a planet as important as Nabooine? Surely that is cause for worry!”
“It is cause for concern, yes,” Qui-gon replies. “Worry? Worry never helps, my young padawan. Worry leads to fear, and fear leads-”
“leads to anger, anger to hate, and hate to suffering,” Obi-Wan finishes, sounding like he’s heard it a million times before. “I do remember my first lessons – it was only seven years ago.” He does seem a bit more relaxed now.
“Of course,” Qui-Gon says, smiling. “Nothing wrong with your memory. Now… what concerns you about what is happening?”
“It is as I said, Master. Naboo is the largest trading world in the Republic, trillions of credits, millions of people and thousands of starships pass through there every day – and yet, all that have in the last three days, have not been seen or heard from since. It’s like something traps them as soon as they come out of hyperspace.”
“Which is precisely why we aren’t traveling that way,” Qui-Gon nods. “Who do you suspect is behind this?”
“It could only be the Trade Federation,” Obi-Wan says, confident but not exactly liking the idea. “They hate Senator Palpatine, and doing something to stop the trade around his home planet would certainly hurt him… but why? They must know this will hurt themselves, in the long run.”
“Never underestimate the persuasive power of greed, padawan. It is as pervasive, and as corrupting, as any aspect of the Dark Side.”
Obi-Wan visibly shivers at the mention of this half of the Force. “Master, do you mean it could… do you think-”
“I think,” Qui-Gon says, “that you should cut our engines now – we’re approaching Nabooine, and we’ll have to drift in on minimal power to avoid being seen.”
Obi-Wan masters himself, and presses buttons. “Yes, Master.”
The Jedi ship’s engines go dim, but the ship continues forward – as the camera follows it, we begin to see a lush, blue dot, the planet Nabooine, come into view.
Scene 3: Inside a darkened, harsh-looking detention cell, we see a young Queen Padme Amidala, surrounded by battle droid guards, staring down a trio of Federation delegates.
“As you have seen, your Highness,” one of them says, overblown and overconfident, “your world is at our mercy. For now, we are content to merely cease your trade… It would be terribly unfortunate if we had to resort to more, direct, methods.”
“I’ll make no surrender, and offer no negotiation,” Padme says, angry but dignified. “This is an illegal act, and the Republic will hear of it, and put an end to it.”
“Ah, but how long until that happens? What indignities will your people endure before your precious Republic swoops in to save you… Unless, of course, you choose to forego all of that.”
Padme is gravely silent.
The lead delegate continues, though a bit slower, not as confident under Padme’s gaze. “All we ask is your cooperation – a greater tithe of your world’s trade, an end to your blatant disregard of the Federation’s legitimate business interests… and the recall of Senator Palpatine from Coruscant.”
“That’s all this is?” Padme asks, laughing despite herself. “This is all about your grudge with the Senator? You’re pathetic.”
“And you are ignorant,” a voice hisses from a shadow deeper within the room. A figure in a black robe and hood steps forward, a long lightsaber handle swinging from the robe’s belt. Only his mouth and chin, black and red mottled, can be seen. The delegates, and even some of the battle droids, step further away as he approaches Padme. “There is far more to this than you can even imagine… your Highness.”
Padme swallows, but recovers herself. “I am Queen Padme Amidala, the rightful ruler of Nabooine… and I will not be intimidated by some Trade Federation lackey!”
The figure snarls, and Padme is forced up against the bulkhead, her feet dangling over the floor. She isn’t being choked, but very forcefully lifted. “Do not presume to know me, little Queen,” the figure says. “Make the right choice… or you, and your people, will suffer.”
Slowly, Padme is let down, as the figure (Darth Maul, though he is not fully revealed yet) walks, robes billowing, out of the holding cell.
The delegates turn back to Padme. “So, your Highness… do we have your cooperation?”
Padme glares at them, but we can see that she is scared, now.
As the opening crawl and fanfare music fades and recedes, the camera swoops down to the planet Tatooine, a dry and dusty world, with two suns blazing away oppressively. The scene switches to Tatooine’s surface, looking out over the town of Mos Espa, including the massive domes where most of the populace lives. The scene then changes again, to the spare, worn-looking bedroom belonging to a young slave boy named Anakin.
Anakin stirs in his sleep, whimpering slightly. No images of what he’s dreaming, but it’s clear it isn’t a good one. With a small gasp, he wakes, gray light pouring in through a slit of a window. He gets up, tiptoeing past his work-exhausted mother, Shmi, asleep at the table, and makes his way up the stairs of their small slave apartment, to the surface of Tatooine. He walks past his apartment complex, which is surrounded by junkyards and rusting industrial equipment – Mos Espa is essentially a giant scrap heap – towards a lot containing a dinged-up, but lovingly-painted and maintained racing pod. He gets close enough to almost touch it, before a bulky wristwatch-like device begins to flash a warning: WARNING: WORK PERIMETER BREACHED. ALARM TRIGGERED. Anakin sighs, knowing he’s been caught, and sits before his pod, gazing at it a mix of youthful wonder and ennui.
“Boy!” Watto, the Toydarian slaver and owner of this junk heap, hovers over to him, rubbing sleep from his eyes and snout. “What in (Hutteese) are you doing up this early – I won’t have my slaves falling over from exhaustion because they didn’t get enough sleep!”
“I can’t sleep, sir.” Anakin replies. “I just want to work on her for a bit, can I, please?”
“Hrmph. Well, it’s all you’re good for anyway, until you get older and can work the scrap fields,” Watto says, and presses a button on a similar wrist device, deactivating Anakin’s own. “Go ahead – but I’m watching you!”
Anakin jumps up, grabbing a toolkit sitting under the pod, and starts taking off one of the engine cowlings. Watto watches him, grinning a bit, not unkindly, as he does. Despite the fact that he owns Anakin as a slave, and is a gruff and sometimes mean owner, he does care for Anakin in his own way.
As Anakin does mechanic-y things with his pod, he pauses for a moment, as the false dawn gives way to a real one – a binary sunrise, peeking over the Dune Sea, light spilling over young Anakin, his shadows (one shallow and boyish, one long and dark) cast toward the audience. John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra, eat your heart out.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
Episode I: The Phantom Menace
The mighty Galactic Republic stands on the edge of great conflict: The power of the greedy Trade Federation has been challenged by the charismatic Senator Palpatine of the planet Nabooine, and the Federation is beginning to lose its support and influence within the Republic. Now, however, Nabooine itself has gone silent, and the leaders of the Republic, including the wise and mysterious Jedi Order, fear the worst.
Two Jedi Knights, Qui-Gon Jin and Obi-Wan Kenobi, have been sent to Nabooine to determine what is happening there, and to put a stop to it. Little do they know that they are walking into something far larger, and far more dangerous, than a mere political duel.
Meanwhile, on nearby Tatooine, a young boy named Anakin dreams of escaping his dusty world and his fate as a slave,yearning to realize the great destiny he is certain awaits him, somewhere out there in the stars…
All notes listed below are subject to addition and change as I write more of The Phantom Menace’s treatment, and more things need explanation or elaboration.
-The ages of various characters has been slightly revised. Obi-Wan is no longer an ambiguous early-twenties age, but is now much closer to Padme, around 17-18 (around the age Luke Skywalker is in A New Hope). Anakin has been bumped up a bit to 12-13… his crush on Padme is now a bit more forgivable. Padme remains 16. So, basically, we’re covering all our prime target age-group audience bases, here.
-The battle droids have their weapons integrated into them, because it just seems silly to have droids with external weapon sources. Plus, it’ll be cooler later when droid weapons get “appropriated” by people. Other than this, however, they remain mostly unchanged – I kinda like their thin, vulture-like appearance.
-Naboo, as it is called in LI, has its name changed slightly, to Nabooine. This is to strengthen the connection between Nabooine and Tatooine, which in this version are part of the same star system – thus explaining why our heroes can reach Tatooine from Nabooine without a hyperdrive. Besides, the original trilogy makes mention of someplace called Dantooine, so it’s not impossible that the -ooine suffix may just be how this system’s inhabitants name their planets. Maybe there’s a Vactooine, or a Anadooine, or something silly like that out there, too. I’ll leave that to you people to decide.
-Astronomy majors, yes, this means that Nabooine exists in the same binary star system as Tatooine – however, it is much closer to the major, stable star while Tatooine is sorta caught between the two stars, which is why Nabooine is a lush paradise world, and Tatooine looks like Southern California and Tunisia had a crack baby. More importantly, it explains why Nabooine doesn’t have the iconic double sun, but Tatooine does. This is important, for visual storytelling purposes, as we shall soon see.
-The Trade Federation is made up of members from multiple races, including humans – this makes sense, if the Federation is essentially a super-powerful trader’s union – so, gone are the Neimodians as the sole rulers of the Federation.