Revenge of the Sith: Fix-Fic

Revenge of the Sith troubles me. In particular, its ending has several flaws:

  1. It does not give Padme any real moral agency
  2. It lets Vader off the hook for his wife’s death
  3. It does not actually explain why Anakin feels betrayed by Obi-Wan
  4. It does not explain how Leia remembers her mother, as per Return of the Jedi

Here’s my solution:

The movie proceeds identically until Anakin kills Mace (slight edits to the visions might be relevant). Palpatine announces Order 66, and makes the same “join me, overthrow the Jedi” pitch to Anakin. Anakin vacillates.

At that moment, Padme goes into labor and either calls Anakin, or he senses it. Palpatine goes for the hard sell: you need my power to save your wife, and I won’t give it to you unless you become my apprentice. Anakin agrees.

The scene of Anakin killing children in the Jedi temple is intercut with the scene of Padme in labor, waiting for Anakin to arrive. At the last moment, a Jedi rushes in to her—but it’s Obi-Wan, not Anakin. (You can have the droids call him, if you’d like).

Anakin returns to Palpatine, to get the technique. Obi-Wan tells Padme they have to flee. “Anakin’s coming, and he’s dangerous.” Anakin bursts into the delivery room, but Obi-Wan and Padme have already fled, with the twins. (Anakin kills the nurse who gives him this news? discuss.)

Padme and Obi-Wan flee with Bail. Anakin/Vader follows them. Padme and Obi-Wan conclude he wants to claim his children. Finally, Obi-Wan infers that he’s probably tracking them through his bond with Padme or Obi-Wan; he proposes they split up. Obi-Wan tells Padme that if Vader finds her, she should say the children are with him. He thinks this is her best chance of survival; that Anakin will take her prisoner or leave her for later. They give the kids to Bail, and Padme and Obi-Wan go different ways.

Intercut with the above, Yoda returns to Coruscant, infiltrates the temple, and decides to kill the Emperor.

Anakin finds Padme first. He confronts her and demands his children. “Where are MY children?” he roars.

Padme, however, does not go through with Obi-Wan’s plan. She knows the risk to her hidden children is too great. Instead, she tells Anakin: “I killed them. So that they wouldn’t grow into butchers like you.”  Anakin, enraged, kills her with a Force choke. Yoda spies on the Emperor and waits for his moment.

When Anakin confronts Obi-Wan, he says “Tell me you tried to stop her,” and Obi-Wan replies with something like “Stop her? Anakin, I helped her.” (Thinking they’re discussing Padme’s escape.) It’s only after Anakin accuses him of killing the children and confesses to killing Padme that Obi-Wan accepts the lie. “It had to be done.” They fight—

Palpatine senses that Vader is in danger; this is when Yoda ambushes him. No changes here. Obi-Wan wins and Yoda loses.

Finally, Obi-Wan reunites with Bail, and the ending of the movie is more or less the same. Yoda can even find them then, if it’s desired.

Not only does this give real moral force to Padme’s choices and real blame to Vader’s fall, it adds a new depth to A New Hope. In this movie, Vader finally kills the man he believes is responsible for his children’s death in the SAME SHOT that he first sees his living son.

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