I'll get into the secret origins of the SuperWhoLock project at a later date, but the end result is that it was a lot of fun for writer, performers and audience members alike. So I started wondering if I could do more. SWL (as we abbreviate it in our correspondences) was a television show, could I do the same thing for a movie? Could I get people to be excited about sitting watching actors read out a movie, the majority of the action playing in their heads and not on a screen? I knew I could write something at least competent, and that the actors would be able to strut their stuff, but would that be enough? And more importantly, what would draw an audience in?
That's when I read an odd article. This was in the lead up to Star Wars: Episode 7. Disney had bought Lucasfilm and the rumors were flying around about every single piece of Star Wars, from movies to television shows, casting to merchandising. The one that caught my interest was about the Prequels. The gist of it was this: Disney was considering redoing all of the prequels. The fans didn't like them, the merchandise from those movies never sells, why not redo them in the Disney way and have a consistent tone through all of the films? I think the story was the dreams of a well meaning fanboy, but I started to wonder...yeah, what if...
I dug into my archives and found a document I had written. It was the Star Wars prequel I had imagined from what Obi Wan tells Luke about the times before. I'd gathered all discussions and mentions of the Clone Wars, the fall of Anakin Skywalker, plus my own fevered dreams of how that epic duel on the edge of an erupting volcano had gone down. It wasn't in opposition to the Prequels, it was what my 12 year old self had dreamed of when I heard the stories.
But could I do this? Should I do this? Who the hell am I to redo what the creator of the franchise had done? The answers were, in reverse order, nobody, absolutely not and hell yes. Would this be firmly in the realm of Fan Fiction? Sure, but who the hell cares? No one else was going to do this. And more importantly, if someone else did this, I'd be first in line to check it out. So I committed to it, I was going to write Star Wars Episode One the way I hoped it would be. But I knew I couldn't do it alone. I needed another voice, just so it wasn't all in my head, someone who loved Star Wars like I did, was as disappointed by the prequels as I was, and most importantly, had story structure in his blood.
Enter Ryan Dalton, published author and all around awesome dude. I pitched him the idea right as his book was about to launch and he was preparing for his tour. We would develop the story together and then I'd go off and write the screenplay. His response? "I've been waiting my whole life for someone to ask me to do this." then "Why the hell did you have to ask me this NOW?" But we made it work, collaborating on the story document, throwing character names back and forth, dreaming about how this would play into Episodes 2 and 3. Then I took the notes, went into my cave and two months later emerged with a workable draft.
I know this is getting a bit lengthy, but let me just say writing Star Wars is way harder than it looks. (One of the hardest parts was not letting the voices of the Clone Wars animated series slip into the words when Obi Wan and Anakin are together.) We pitched it to the assorted members of Legible Scrawl and they went nuts. All of them were clamoring to get into it. Let me say, as a writer, that's what you want to hear when you've finished a piece.
The first reading was great, the actors were all spot on but there was a problem. Well, problems. The script was too long, no way would we be able to do it in two hours. And there was too much me. Not me as the writer, but me as the narrator. In writing a Star Wars script, you need epic locations, thrilling sword fights, exciting space battles. But in a script read through, that means I as the narrator am talking A LOT while the cast sits patiently waiting. It was the unforgivable sin in this case: it was dull.
Revisions must be made. Instead of a straight read through of the script, what if it was an audio adventure? We move the descriptions to dialogue, throw in the classic Star Wars sound effects, get the actors on their feet and make it more like a radio play. This added a whole new level of difficulty, but when it worked, the whole thing just came alive.
Will it work for the audience though? You'll have to tell us. The story will be presented in two parts, ACT ONE on Friday at 6:00 pm in North 228AB and ACT TWO on Saturday at 6:00 pm in North 228AB. If we've done our job, it'll hit you right in the fandom. And if we really soar, we hope this will be your new Head Canon. For the price of admission to Phoenix Comicon, we think it'll be worth your time.