“What if Darth Plagueis was a light sleeper?” journalist Charlie Ashby responded on Twitter to the question “What If?” It’s a stunning pitch for an alternate Star Wars timeline, brilliant in its simplicity but with major implications for the galaxy far, far away.
Let’s think about Plagueis’ alternate sleeping habits for a second. Were Plagueis a light sleeper, Palpatine probably wouldn’t have been able to murder him in his slumber, which would have likely led to Plagueis killing the future Emperor before he even had a chance to become Supreme Chancellor in The Phantom Menace. This means Plagueis would have been the Dark Lord of the Sith in charge throughout the Prequel Trilogy. Would Plagueis have next taken Maul as his apprentice, sparking a chain of events that led to Plagueis or Maul becoming Emperor? Without Palpatine to manipulate the midi-chlorians, would Anakin have been born? Would there BE a Skywalker Saga at all?
Ashby’s is just one of the many pitches currently being circulated on Twitter, thanks to a prompt from The Star Wars Underworld handle that reads: “If Lucasfilm created a ‘Star Wars: What If…?” series and asked YOU to come up with an alternative scenario in the Star Wars universe base an episode on, what would you choose?”
With Marvel’s What If? currently exploring alternative scenarios set within the MCU on Disney+, Star Wars fans didn’t waste any time dreaming up their own takes, some of which lead to really interesting possibilities.
Writer and translator Zack Davisson asked, “What if Leia had been raised on Tatooine and Luke on Alderaan?” We can assume Leia would have been the Skywalker to be trained as a Jedi by Obi-Wan Kenobi, which would have led to her rescuing Prince Luke Organa from the Death Star in A New Hope, and later her life-altering confrontation with her father in The Empire Strikes Back. Funny enough, there already is a What If-style comic series where Leia became the last hope of the Jedi after Luke was killed by the Wampa in Empire.
How about it, Disney? Greenlight the Star Wars Infinities animated series, please.
“What if Wedge Antilles was the one who blew up the first Death Star?” asked comic book writer and artist Jamal Igle. Would that have put Wedge on Vader’s immediate shit list? We know that the Sith lord spent the years between A New Hope and Empire chasing Luke, even before he learned the young rebel was his son. Why? Because he wanted revenge for the humiliation he suffered during the Battle of Yavin. But replace Luke with Wedge, and how does that change things? Well, for one thing, Wedge isn’t Force-sensitive and definitely wouldn’t be able to hold his own in a fight against Vader. Let’s just say Wedge’s career would have ended much more quickly.
Speaking of short careers, Luke, Leia, and the rest of the Rebellion would have been extinguished by the time the credits rolled on the first Star Wars movie had “Rogue One failed to steal the Death Star plans.” No plans means the Rebellion never finds the Death Star’s single weakness and Yavin IV is obliterated. Wait…without those Death Star plans, Leia never sends R2-D2 on a mission to find Obi-Wan, which means the droids never run into Luke on Tatooine. Without those Death Star plans, there’s no Original Trilogy at all!
YouTuber Cy Smith shot out a whole list of fun pitches but my favorite is “[What if] Maul kills both Obi-Wan and Qui Jon and trains Anakin?” We can all agree The Phantom Menace hardly did our eternally sad Zabrak Sith boy justice. He’s the coolest character in the movie, yet he gets one line of dialogue and is then cut in half in the third act. While he eventually returned in The Clone Wars, better and pettier than ever (and with spider legs made out of trash!!!), there’s no doubt that Maul deserved more time on the big screen, something he seemed poised to get in a sequel to Solo: A Star Wars Story had the first movie not bombed. Regardless, I would love to watch an alternate version of Episode II and III where young Anakin served Maul. Would they have teamed up to take down Palpatine and Dooku during the Clone Wars? There’s probably some really good fanfic about this already!
You can read more scenarios here.
While we wait for Disney to jump on Star Wars What If?, the studio is releasing another animated anthology series that introduces fresh perspectives to the galaxy far, far away. The collection of anime short films is called Star Wars Visions and is out on Sept. 22.
Make sure to check out the complete upcoming Star Wars movie and TV release schedule here.