EXTREME NERDERY ALERT. Tonight, on the Greedo Shot First podcast, Benjie will be pitching his idea for Star Wars: Episode VII. This was mostly developed last week on vacation in Seattle with the help of Marco and a lot of Happy Hour drinks. Below is the basic gist of it, as written by Benjie, posted online for your/his everlasting enjoyment/shame.
Lets be honest, this is an exercise is pure fan wankery and will likely only lead to disappointment when the actual plot-line of Episode VII is revealed to be entirely different from my idea. I realize this and am under no delusions of grandeur here. Besides, this sort of fan wankery is undeniably fun, and is also a pretty great creative exercise when it comes to writing and plot in general. All sorts of decisions have to be made before one can even begin to spin a pitch, and I find it useful as a writer to work through them to see where they take me. Art is about making choices etc etc.
What I offer here is a very basic outline and some general ideas. I have tried not to go too deep into the plot mechanics here. Obviously if one were actually going to make a movie out of this, a good writer would have to dive in and do a lot of more on character motivations, story logic etc. I went ahead and made up some fake character names for simplicity's sake. They are not good names, but were I to spend the time trying to think up good names, you should probably start to worry about me. Oh, and this takes place about 60-65 years after Return of the Jedi.
The New Republic is failing. After decades of peace, attrition and old sectarian grudges have allowed the dastardly Crime Lord Xinjin and his sinister lieutenants to corrupt the halls of power.
Determined to save the Republic, Princess Leia Solo has met in secret on New Alderaan with her most trusted allies to craft a new government, one that can prosecute Xinjin and restore justice to the galaxy.
Before the Princess can sign the Charter, a distress call from Coruscant ends the summit in chaos, as the allies race against time to prevent an unimaginable disaster...
- Han Solo; Smuggler, retired General (Human male from Corellia)
- Leia Solo; Princess, former Chief of State (Human female from Alderaan)
- Xinjin; Crime Boss (Human male from Bilbringi)
- Raek Contrail; Courier (Human male from New Alderaan)
- Jendi Skywalker; Smuggler (Human female from Coruscant)
- Jessara Skywalker; Jedi Knight (Human female from Coruscant)
- Horusk "Colt" Enthresh; Smuggler (Thakwaash male from Thakwaa)
- Luke Skywalker; Jedi Master (Human male from Tatooine)
- Degon Frost; Criminal Enforcer (Falleen male from Fondor)
Starfield, pan down reveal the Millennium Falcon dropping out of hyperspace with a giant armada of small vessels behind them. They're in the Coruscant system where the primary star is, for unknown reasons, collapsing into a black hole. Han suspects that this isn't a natural occurrence, but there's no time to investigate and everyone races to the surface to evacuate whomever they can before Coruscant gets sucked into the black hole.
Cut to our hero Raek Contrail, a courier piloting a small delivery ship. He is young and bright-eyed, eager to help. He lands on a platform, pushes all his cargo out and load a bunch of people aboard. When he tries to take off, there's too much weight. He kind of awkwardly asks if anyone can get off and take a different shuttle. The passengers respond by throwing him off the ship, along with a small child, and they take off in his ship without him.
Things are getting desperate. Raek manages to throw the kid up onto the ramp of another ship, and then finds himself all alone on the platform of a world that's about to die. He is saved by Princess Leia, who yanks him off the ground with the force while leaning off the ramp of the Falcon. Cool shot of her in white Jedi robes with long white hair blowing in the wind as she pulls Raek up.
So we're on the Falcon now, Leia back in the cockpit with Han and trying to escape the gravity well. Coruscant starts breaking apart. Suddenly, they are fired on from the aft by an unknown ship, that then races ahead. The Falcon's engines are damaged and they can't escape the black hole. All the other ships are too far ahead now, won't be able to save them.
Han curses, you killed us! etc. He throws all the power into the remaining engines, but it's not enough, and they're sinking deeper into the black hole.
Realizing their situation, Threepio suggests the escape pod. The engines it it will be strong enough to exit the black hole, but there is only oxygen for one. Leia tells Artoo to start recording. Cut to the Falcon's cargo hold. Han enters, asks everyone under 20 to raise their hands. A few do, including Raek. Now everyone under 18. Only Raek and one other guy left. Before Han can choose, Leia stops him, peering suspiciously at Raek, and chooses him. Raek refuses, says Han or Leia should go, but they both know they can't leave each other.
Han forces Raek into the escape pod, and Artoo enters as well, as there is room for him. He and Threepio say their goodbyes, "Yes Artoo, I'll say hello to the maker for you." Leia gives the Charter to Raek, says he has to get this document to Luke Skywalker; they still need seven signatures to form a new United Alliance. Pod doors close and Raek is ejected into space with the escape pod able to escape the black hole.
Back in the Falcon cockpit. Leia and Han share a moment. Leia apologies to the refugees in the hold. Han has an idea. Lando knew some crazy scientist who thought you could travel through a wormhole in hyperspace. Did it work? Well, no, the ship exploded, but they're all dead anyway, why not give it a shot. So, hands clasped together they point the ship toward the center of the black hole and pull down on the hyperspace throttle. Smash hyperspace cut. The Falcon is gone. Raek watches mournfully from his pod.
* * *
The rest of the story
Cut to several other worlds as people watch the news feeds in horror: Coruscant, the seat of power in the universe, and it's trillion citizens are now gone.
Cut to Xinjin, telling all of his lieutenants via hologram to move to consolidate power in their regions. The others sign off except for Degon Frost. Xinjin instructs Frost to confirm the destruction of the Falcon, and find the escape pod: the Charter must not be signed.
Cut to Jendi Skywalker on Corellia (but we don't know she's a Skywalker yet, she's dressed like a more punk rock Han Solo, as is her sister Jessara.) She finds Jessara in the landing bay for her ship, which is some kind of cool smuggling ship with a cool name) Jendi says, "There was an escape pod." Jessara says, let's go.
Raek is picked up by a large cargo ship with several other escape pods. He's barely out of his pod when several pirates burst out of theirs and hijack the ship. Obligatory scene where the pirate leader tells the crew and refugees that they can either join the pirate gang or get dropped off at the nearest spaceport. Who wants to get dropped off? A few raise their hands, but not Raek. The pirate captain shoots them and everyone else gets the message.
So figure we're about 20-30 minutes in here. The next scenes would involve Raek being sent with other pirates on a job. Since he is a courier, he is useful to them as a pilot, and can keep Artoo with him as a navigator. Meanwhile Degon is tracking them. It all comes to a head when Jendi and Jessara, posing as smuggler's with Jendi's first mate Colt find Raek and abduct him just ahead of Degon, whom they escape from. Degon probably uses one of those pikes that Grievous's droid guards used, or something. Somewhere in here, a scene or two of Xinjin being a ruthless crime lord. Also, it should be mentioned that Xinjin has the body of someone encased in carbonite hanging in his lair that he talks to occasionally. One-sided conversations, of course.
Some character notes here. Jessara is a Jedi, perhaps a bit pious. Preferably blonde. Played by someone like Teresa Palmer. Jendi is dark-haired and more worldly, a bit of a bad girl (KSTEW!). She is not a Jedi, has turned her back on the order to be a smuggler instead, does not want to responsibility or expectations of being a Skywalker. They are Luke's granddaughters. No mention is made of their parents other than that they are dead and both prefer not to talk about it. The idea here is to preserve as much of the continuity of the EU as possible without really having to be hamstrung by it.
So Jessara reveals herself to be a Jedi, but Jendi is not, though she still is strong in the force, if untrained. They are both suspicious of Raek, because neither can feel him in the force. Jendi stabs him in the hand with a knife to confirm that he is not a droid. Raek reveals the Charter and his mission to find Luke.
The Skywalker twins take him to Luke. Degon is tracking them, but rather than attack, he calls Xinjin.
Luke is on New Alderaan or some other friendly planet with a few Alliance supporters, this can be fleshed out as needed. Raek delivers the Charter to Luke, along with the message Artoo is carrying from Han and Leia to the Skywalkers. The message is sad but uplifting, full of feels, etc. Luke asks Raek if he would like to go home, or if he wants to help Luke. Raek wants to help, there's nothing left for him at home. Luke warns that there is always something left to lose. Raek is insistent, so Luke asks him to travel with Jessara as her pilot and watch her back, and Jendi's as well.
Here, Xinjin shows up at Luke's place for a "friendly" visit. He brings the carbonite-encased figure. Reveals that, according to legend, an ancient Sith Apprentice is trapped inside, because his master feared him. Xinjin offers the slab to Luke as a "gift" because he delights in presenting the Jedi with moral quandaries. Says that the slab seems to bring financial success and personal tragedy to everyone who owns it. Luke can choose to destroy it, which would mean killing a defenseless being. He can free the Sith Apprentice, which could have dire consequences, or he can do nothing and reveal his moral bankruptcy.
Xinjin leaves with Degon. Jessara sneaks aboard Degon's ship before it departs, so does Raek. Luke has a disturbing dream/vision. Awakes to find Raek and Jessara gone.
At this point, my plotting becomes vague. Jendi chases after Jessara and Raek, who have discovered that Degon is in control of some kind of weapon that causes the black holes. Luke travels to Xinjin's palace with the carbonite Sith. He returns the Sith to Xinjin, saying that the answer to the riddle is that the Jedi cannot hold themselves responsible for the actions of others. Something happens where Luke has to sacrifice himself for Raek and the twins to escape. Luke defeats the attackers so they can get away but is mortally wounded. His last moment is saluting his granddaughters before pulling his hood over his head and then disappearing, as Jedi do.
The climax is Jendi and Jessara working together with Raek's help to kill Degon and stop his black hole weapon. Something where Jendi must embrace her Jedi skills. The idea I had was something where they lose shields on the ship, and Jessara is injured, so Jendi must exit the ship in a spacesuit, tied to an anchor line, and use Jessara's lightsaber to deflect laser blasts from attacking ships.
They succeed, Degon is defeated/killed. End with Luke's memorial. The galaxy is still in chaos and Xinjin's agents are everywhere, so Raek will need Jendi's smuggler connections to track down the other members of the new alliance to sign the treaty. Last shot is of the carbonite Sith, hanging alone in Xinjin's palace after hours. A device on the side of the slab starts to blink and the carbonite begins to melt.
A general outline of the next two movies:
Episode VIII opens with the Sith Apprentice carving a path of destruction through Xinjin's palace and then the galaxy. Xinjin is basically forced to become of a puppet of the Sith Apprentice. One idea that I had was that the Sith is permanently blind from hibernation sickness, but he can use the force to maneuver. But this gives Raek an advantage, since Raek cannot be sensed in the force. The Skywalker twins are trying to sneak into systems to get their Charter signed while also pursuing the Sith. Of course there is a love triangle here with Raek leaning towards Jessara. Also, Grando Calrissian shows up as a bounty hunter whom they employ to help them track down the Sith apprentice.
In the climax, Jessara battles the Sith. She looses her hand at the wrist and seems defeated. As the Sith prepares for the killing blow, Jessara blasts him with force lightning. She simply refuses to lose, no matter the cost. She reveals that she is the one who freed him from carbonite because she wanted him to rain chaos on Xinjin. She uses the force to bind his arms and legs with chains or ropes or something, stretching him in all directions before poking him with the tip of his own lightsaber, which causes him to be ripped apart. She has taken her first step on the journey to the dark side.
Not much for Episode IX. An opening where Raek and Jendi are caught by Xinjin and locked in his vault. Romance between the two slowly developing. Jendi uses items from the vault to forge her own lightsaber and escape. If you want to be real fan-servicey, it can be a black lightsaber. They barely get away and have to crash land on an uninhabited planet. Here they find the Millennium Falcon, which has been here for thousands of years. They find graves for Han and Leia. Threepio is slumped down on the boarding ramp, unpowered. They are able to get him turned back on, but he doesn't really remember anything. Raek and Jendi use the parts from their ship to fix the Falcon and escape the planet in it.
The main plot-line here would probably be about the new United Alliance coming together with Jessara at the lead, but her tactics against non-members under Xinjin's sway become increasingly brutal. This leads to an ultimate confrontation between Jendi and Jessara. Xinjin ends up sacrificing himself to keep his super weapons away from Jessara. Jendi defeats Jessara but does not kill her. Jessara collapses, begging for forgiveness, Jendi shows mercy. Raek and Jendi are together, Jessara in prison, everyone's happy, the end.
Also, I want a brief scene where they encounter a wookie Jedi with an enormous lightsaber that Raek can barely lift. Possibly this wookie jedi rides a Rancor into battle or something.
Speaking of the Jedi, I figure that at some point in the past, Luke dissolved the jedi council, as he concluded that their actions were too intertwined with politics, so now the Jedi exist as independent agents who only train a single apprentice or two and mostly stick to their own regions to assist locally as needed.
Please feel free to excoriate me in the comments.