If there was just 1 Star Wars prequel, who would you cast as Anakin?

Discussion in 'Entertainment and Movie Talk' started by The Wook, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. The Wook

    The Wook Master Member

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    A few minutes ago I was replying to the thread about the best order in which to watch the Star Wars movies. I posted that while I'm not a prequel hater, I think they're kinda cool in parts--especially III--but to me they just ain't 'Star Wars'. (Of course, neither is VI, but that's irrelevant to this thread.)

    The main reason the prequels fall short in my mind is because Anakin, as played by Hayden Christensen, is nothing like I imagined a young adult Anakin to be. He doesn't behave like the Anakin I imagined, nor does he look like the Anakin I imagined. And when I say "looks" I'm not talking whether or not he resembled Sebastian Shaw, but rather the sorta vague but sorta clear image I had in my mind while watching IV and V all those pre-prequels years.

    Hayden Christensen looked too wimpy in body and face, and was too short. Not good. But worse than his physical shortcomings, his voice bugged, especially when whining, which was often. That's obviously not all the actor's fault, he was given a script and he followed it. But not once during II or III did I watch him and listen to him and think, "Oh yeah, that's the young man who'll become Darth Vader!". This thread isn't about bashing Hayden or the prequels, however, so let's keep it positive, and answer these 2 questions:

    If there was just 1 Star Wars prequel, say three+ hours long, starting out showing his brilliance as the best star pilot in the galaxy, and ending with his turn to the dark side of the Force...

    1) Who would you cast as Anakin? (Post a pic since some of us may not be familiar with your choice.)

    2) Why would he turn? (Would it be the sorta-noble prequel storyline of coveting the power to save Padme's life? Or would it be related to some temptation other than a girl, and if so, what?")


    I'll chime in later with my opinions.

    The Wook
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2012
  2. JD

    JD Master Member

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    Look, Ma! Another let's passively aggressively bash the Star Wars Prequels thread.

    The movies were made. The Prequels made lots of money, they were successful. Jake and Hayden were Anakin... second guess all ya want, you still ain't George Lucas.
     
  3. The Wook

    The Wook Master Member

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    You've misinterpreted my intentions. I thought I made it perfectly clear I didn't want this thread to be about prequel bashing, but rather a positive look at who could've been cast to better meet the decades long images we had in our minds of the best star pilot in the galaxy, Anakin Skywalker. And also about what we'd imagined would seduce him to the dark side of the Force.

    I have a long history here of defending the prequels from the prequel-haters on the site. I enjoy them, even TPM. But they just seem like they don't belong in the same franchise as the OT.

    The Wook
     
  4. Robert412

    Robert412 Well-Known Member

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    I think a clearer version of your question would be:

    Who, in your minds eye, did you picture as a young Anakin Skywalker, for the nearly two decades between episode VI and episode I? And what did you assume seduced him to the dark side?
     
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  5. The Wook

    The Wook Master Member

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    Um, that's almost exactly what I posted in the 2 questions I have in bold italics. The stuff leading up to that was my experience watching the prequels and why I've identified the casting of the adult Anakin, as well as the whiny way in which his character was written, as the primary reasons the prequels don't even seem like they even belong in the same film franchise as the OT. It's my thread, I wanted to provide that context for why I authored it, so go jump in a lake. :)

    The Wook
     
  6. Art Andrews

    Art Andrews Community Owner Community Staff

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    I can honestly say I never thought much about young Vader prior to Episode I because it was only the prequels that changed the overall story of Star Wars to the fall and redemption of Darth Vader. Prior to the prequels, Star Wars was the story of the making of a hero; Luke Skywalker.

    In thinking about the OP's question, I honestly don't know who would have been able to adequately fill Anakin's shoes. My issues with Anakin centered more on the writing than Hayden. I can't think of anyone off the top of my head who seems like a perfect Anakin.
     
  7. Michael Bergeron

    Michael Bergeron Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Hayden did a fine job considering the material, it's not the actors I thought they got wrong in the prequels but rather the characters. I have the same problem with JJ's Star Trek.

    I too can't really picture an actor for Anakin. Honestly, if I were George starting from scratch and with hindsight of the prequels I'd keep Hayden and write the character closer to how he's described by Obi Wan in the OT. We first meet him as a hot shot young pilot about Luke's age, Obi Wan meets him and tries to train him as a jedi, etc...

    I've put far too much thought into how I would write the prequels than is healthy but two things I would keep the same are Hayden & Ewan. They were right for the roles.
     
  8. Shadow345

    Shadow345 Well-Known Member

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    Vin Diesel
     
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  9. modelcitizen

    modelcitizen Sr Member

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    Orson Welles
     
  10. Falk

    Falk Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Funny enough you are asking this, because I never bought the BS (Hayden be Vader)...

    And my thoughts have nothing to do with the so-called prequels at all - I am wondering since old Ben told Luke about the old days in Star Wars. Well, here are my 2 cents:

    A young Anakin in my imagination is a) huge, b) blonde (w/ sideburns) and knows exactly what he wants. I guess Chris Hemsworth (as in Thor) could play "my " Anakin. Or that swedish dude from Starship Troopers back in the day.

    And *if* Anakin is supposed to be Vader (I still have a problem with that twist, even after all those years... But I do not want to open that can here!), his decision to rule the Galaxy as the Emperor's right hand was based on him believing it would be right to do so. Think mislead Shogun or Wehrmacht General.

    Cheers!

    PS: Well, now it's out. I am a nerd.
     
  11. Probe Droid

    Probe Droid Master Member

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    Going back a whole buncha years now, when I would see Paul Walker on screen he kinda reminded me of Hamill a bit, so I thought he could be a 20-something Anakin. The voice is always a tripping point because of JEJ's particular inflection.
     
  12. steveo

    steveo Sr Member

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    Gotta second everything AA said here. Never thought of a young Anakin so I had no preconceived notions and yes, the writing and directing more than Hayden or Jake.
     
  13. James Kenobi 1138

    James Kenobi 1138 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    James Franco. I always thought he looked the part and he's 100x a better actor then Hayden.

    On the left:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I think he looks more believable as a young Sebastian Shaw.
    [​IMG]
     
  14. clancampbell

    clancampbell Sr Member

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    Now THAT's an interesting choice! he can do suave, dangerous, hurt, strong...........all the things Hayden couldn't.....

    Lucas said he wanted a young James Dean......Franco fullfills that perfectly!!!!

    Rich
     
  15. Dung0beetle

    Dung0beetle Well-Known Member

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    He's already had his hand cut off too :lol
    [​IMG]
     
  16. Robert412

    Robert412 Well-Known Member

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    I meant no disrespect. I was just trying to reword the question so Prequel trilogy crusaders would be more comfortable answering the question.
     
  17. Obi Sean Kenobi

    Obi Sean Kenobi Well-Known Member

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    After watching the Count of Monte Cristo, and seeing the progression from an idealistic young man to an embittered, hardened adult - id say Jim Caviezel hands down. He would have been an amazing Anakin.
    Right stature. He has gravitas. And can act.
    Just watch the Bob Anderson choreographed fight scene from Count & imagine the possibilities ....
     
  18. The Wook

    The Wook Master Member

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    No worries.


    As to James Franco, I'll agree with this much. He's a better actor, and you just look at him and you see a tormented soul...an intrinsic characteristic that would lend itself perfectly to a young adult Anakin. (Became a huge fan of his back during Freaks and Geeks.)

    Still...he's too short, too delicately built for me to have believed he'd ever become the hulking figure that is Darth Vader. He'd have been the same height as Ewan, whereas at least Hayden was a couple of inches taller.

    But even giving up a couple inches to Hayden, I think his acting would've made him a much better choice for the role.

    The Wook
     
  19. The Wook

    The Wook Master Member

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    Yes, great choice.

    Of course he was far too old at 32 when AOTC was filmed and 35 when ROTS was filmed, but if he was 10 years younger, yeah man, he's a fantastic actor that oozes gravitas. And at 6' 2", about an inch taller than Hayden.

    Jim Caviezel *looks* very much like the man I'd pictured who'd become Darth Vader. Hayden was just too much of a pretty boy for me to buy it. I pictured a more rugged hero, with an edginess that could send him either way with the Force. Here's a pic...

    [​IMG]

    The Wook
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2012
  20. Clutch

    Clutch Master Member

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    I had always hoped the prequels would start with Anakin as a young adult, not some snotty-nosed kid.
     
  21. Kal

    Kal Well-Known Member

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    Howard Stern!
     
  22. dbalschi

    dbalschi Sr Member

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    It could have been worse. I remember Colin Hanks being rumored for the role!
     
  23. MooCriket

    MooCriket Master Member

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    You could show a young Vader in flashbacks with Franco playing the part. For me, I envisioned war and the loss of family/friends combined with arrogance turning Vader to the Dark side. Not really different then what we got.

    Take away the whining though, and add some 300 type war action with Anakin just being the ultimate bad * of the Jedi order. End the film with him taking out nearly all the order single handedly, with only a few getting an upper hand by compromising their theology...cheating to defeat Vader.

    When I think of Vader, pre KFC extra crispy, I think of the Kurgan...

    Clancy Brown
    [​IMG]
     
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  24. Clerval

    Clerval Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Hm, just met Clancy at work last Monday. Not really the kind. Phillipe had the best overall auditions, but Natlie er, reacted favorably to Hayden let's say.

    (An aside: Poorest decision was not bringing Haley Joel Osment back in in '97-'98.)

    In '77... who did I picture and who is the equivalent? I think I pictured, then, someone more like Harrison. In '77 no one knew he needed to fit the suit. And a character more like Fett: subtle, but always aware. After '83... Mike Biehn's too small at just 6', but someone a bit more like Reese could have been interesting and his looks probably would have worked.

    For a prequel I'm afraid I don't know enough about contemporary actors. And I can't think that anyone at mid-twenties could do the work. I like the Caviezel notion, but for reasons mentioned, it wouldn't have happened.

    I think his turn should have been some perversion of a Jedi test. Where most turn away from the temptation of the dark side, Anakin misunderstands and embraces it, thinking he is strong enough to move through the trial, but once he's in the Emperor can sense and control him.
     
  25. MooCriket

    MooCriket Master Member

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    What?! The Kurgan would have been an outstanding Vader. Good day to you, Sir.
     
  26. Clutch

    Clutch Master Member

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    But I would have been saying IT'S THE KURGAN! during the whole movie. :lol
     
  27. dbalschi

    dbalschi Sr Member

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    :lol Did you say that while watching Shawshank Redemption or Starship Troopers?
     
  28. Clutch

    Clutch Master Member

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    Every time I see him, I feel compelled to say that. :lol
     
  29. jlee562

    jlee562 Sr Member

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    Hayden (and Natalie Portman for that matter) are much better actors than comes off in the prequels. I think Hayden was a good casting choice, I just wish some of the elements of his performance were different.
     
  30. ralphee

    ralphee Sr Member

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    Will Smith........or a young Shia.......hell yeah!

    lee
     
  31. Jet Beetle

    Jet Beetle Sr Member Gone but not forgotten.

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    First off - The Jedi all needed to be older - around Qui Gon's age - I never signed up for no stupid Padawackys or babies training with lightsabers - we needed ADULTS - A jedi who falls from grace, not a spoiled teen who missed out on a life lesson. When Obi Wan spoke of he and Anakin being friends - I imagined two knights of the round table or something. Anakin needed to be played by someone who you would treasure as a friend but would be just as significant as an enemy - we needed Sam Neil in that role.
    [​IMG]
    He even looks like he'd be Hammil's dad - plus the guy played the anti christ - Vader would be a walk in the park.
     
  32. Solo4114

    Solo4114 Master Member

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    THIS looks like a job FOR.....

    [​IMG]

    Actually, someone mentioned Clancy Brown earlier and, when I think about it, a young Clancy Brown could've been terrific in this role. He's got the build for it, but he also has the acting range necessary.
     
  33. Qui-Gonzalez

    Qui-Gonzalez Master Member

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    If Tom Cruise has taught you anything it should be that height on screen is meaningless. Sometimes they make him look bigger than life.
     
  34. The Wook

    The Wook Master Member

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    Excellent point, Jet. I agree that adults would be better, but Anakin would ideally need to be a young adult, because Obi Wan tells Luke that "a young Jedi named Darth Vader, who was a pupil of mine until he turned to evil, betrayed and murdered your father". So if we assume Obi Wan in ANH was 55 (I know, he looked much older), then he'd be 37 in 18 BBY when Luke was born. Using that timeline, I'd think--in this single prequel filmed in '98--Anakin would be no more than say 30. In which case, a 30 year old (in '98) actor like Caviezel would've been the perfect age. However, Ewan was only 27 when TPM was filmed, and since we're assuming this *single* prequel would've been released in '99, they'd have had to make him look 10 years older. Do you think that could've been pulled off through makeup and writing.

    *!...I bet those two would've been incredible together! No more whiny teen Jedi angst!

    The Wook

    ps~can't sanction Sam Neil, though...I like him okay, but he's a B actor and far too well known for the role. Anakin Skywalker was a mysterious character, who fans had imagined for decades. You can't give the part to a journeyman B actor like Neil.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012
  35. kevin1983

    kevin1983 New Member

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    I just watched a new show called Halt and Catch Fire, and I think the lead actor in that show Lee Pace would have made a terrific young Anakin Skywalker. I also think Jason Statham would have made an awesome Jango Fett. Just my two cents.
     
  36. dascoyne

    dascoyne Master Member

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  37. AJTaliesen

    AJTaliesen Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I've always loved his acting. I think his career was hurt by the Passion (although I suspect he knew that going in and did it anyway) and I think that's made him somewhat under-rated.

    I also think Hayden isn't a terrible choice, I think the real terrible choice is one that they are in danger of repeating and it's the main thing (aside from JJ's history) that makes me nervous about the new movies coming: While the element of surprise can serve you well for big twists like being Luke's father (which, by the way, is no longer a surprise at all to the new generation watching it in order), there's also a big downside to keeping everything a big * secret, and that is that without the advantage of testing the waters on some ideas you risk sending out lead balloons like Jar jar and emo vader screaming "noooooo". This more than the actors involved is what caused the train to slip off the tracks in places.
     
  38. Jedi-72

    Jedi-72 Sr Member

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    I always thought Sean Bean from around the Patriot Games period would've made a great Anakin.
     
  39. dascoyne

    dascoyne Master Member

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    Rick Moranis
     
  40. rodneyfaile

    rodneyfaile Sr Member

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    I would never make a prequel movie that featured Anakin before he was became Darth Vader. My prequel would have been Vader hunting down Jedi and disposing of the them. Maybe a flashback or two showing Amidala similar to Robocop's POV remembering his family, but nothing more.
     
  41. J EM

    J EM Well-Known Member

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    bug hall lol
     
  42. Krull

    Krull Sr Member

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    I've always said that pre-Vader Anakin would have been a tough,smart,smooth person and have a way with words and could get people on his side easily not a bad guy but someone who walks the line between good and evil.

    Have him start out with noble intentions but get slowly more and more violent and hateful,I'd also say let Padme die in the second film and have three be Anakin just going off the deep end,become Vader and do a whole lot of slaughter.

    I also think the way he looked by ROJ should have been more gradual and less "oh,that was because Obi almost killed him" been better if Obi hacked off an arm and ran him through with a saber then...after he thinks he's dead and walked off have Anakin come staggering out,alive and *.

    I actually thought Hayden was a good choice and it was more Lucas's fault since he was the one calling the shots,he basically tried to make him a copy of Hamil as Luke and that just didn't work out so well.

    Some may freak out but I'd think Christian Bale would have been a downright perfect Anakin if they let him cut loose like in American Psycho.
     
  43. charades

    charades Well-Known Member

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    I think Hayden was a good pick. The script was out of his hands and not his fault. I know too many people who don't like Natalie Portman "because of Star Wars" and I have to keep explaining it wasn't her fault the script was subpar. She's done plenty of amazing, acclaimed performances in other films (The Professional, V for Vendetta, Garden State).

    If we were to pick someone else to cast now, as opposed to back then in 98, I'd say Bradley James (he played Prince/King Arthur on BBC's Merlin). He's not a huge buff guy, built more lean like a soccer player, but plays a good suave, cocky punk that I pictured a young star pilot would be.
    View attachment 342575

    Another good choice might be Stephen Amell (though he's doing this really successful tv thing about archery and leaping about on rooftops, so he probably wouldn't have the time :p)
     
  44. Solo4114

    Solo4114 Master Member

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    Soooo as long as we're resurrecting this ol' thing, here's my more serious answer.

    I have no idea who'd be well cast, but I think the look would have to be less pretty-boy and more capable of looking grizzled. To me, the actor wasn't the real problem. Rather, it was the story as a whole.

    The way I'd restructure things is to have a trilogy (not a single prequel film), but have it be entirely about the Clone Wars and their immediate aftermath. Maybe make the first film and a half be about nothing but the Clone Wars with Anakin being discovered as an ADULT hotshot pilot who joins the Jedi order (in this version, "padawans" aren't required to be 5-year-olds). The large-scale destruction of the war and the dithering of the Galactic Senate would ultimately lead Anakin to decide that the only way to save the galaxy from itself would be to impose strong, imperial rule, using ruthless control and even brutality to achieve peace. Basically, peace by ANY. MEANS. NECESSARY.

    Other things that I might play with...

    - The clones are the antagonists, not the Republic's troopers. They're a labor force that rose up a la the various Servile Wars in the old Roman Republic.

    - The clones would be a mixed bag. You'd sympathize with them, but they'd also be fighting with as much brutality as possible to force the Republic to come to terms. They'd have basically been little more than slaves, and would use any means available to fight back.

    - The Republic would ultimately decide that all clones must be exterminated and cloning itself would be absolutely outlawed. Droids would be seen as a better option because they'd be more controllable due to programming. Not everyone would believe this, though, which would explain some of the anti-droid sentiment, as well as some of the more restrictive attitudes towards droids that we see in the Star Wars films.

    - The Jedi would start out supporting the Republic, but would eventually reject the decision of total extermination, believing it to be antithetical to the light side of the Force. It would be this decision that would result in them being labeled outlaws and traitors. The process of their extermination would be underway by the middle of the 2nd film as the war wraps up and the Empire takes control. The third film would showcase the rise of the Rebellion.

    - The Emperor would be a talented politician who would take advantage of the situation and enhance his abilities through his mastery of the Dark Forces of the Sith. He would ultimately turn Anakin to his cause. Anakin would see in the Emperor a path to permanent peace, and so would sign on with him. The Emperor would simply want total power for its own sake but would be happy to use Anakin as long as he could.

    - Re: Anakin's wife, she'd be with him by the 2nd film after the war, but would escape while pregnant for fear that her child (it's unknown she's having twins) grow up in an environment where Jedi were hunted. Her death in childbirth would be faked, and she'd move to Alderaan where she'd work in the Organa household until Leia was appx. 2-3 years old, at which point she'd die and Bail Organa would adopt Leia as an otherwise unnamed "war orphan" who would be raised as an emissary of peace. This would be a political act of the ruling house of Alderaan, but would explain why Leia remembers "her real mother."

    - Luke's "uncle" would have actually been one of Anakin's friends growing up. Anakin left Tatooine to join the war and never came back. Owen always thought this was stupid, since the war didn't have anything to do with a planet like Tatooine where nobody was wealthy enough to use clones except the Hutt crime bosses and their associates.


    Basically, Anakin's motivation would be to prevent the kind of war that happened with the Clone Wars from ever happening again. He'd hate the dickering of the Senate and the slowness of representative politics. He'd recognize that he's doing villainous things, but believe he's doing them for an ultimately good purpose, and become a very "end justifies the means" kind of warrior. He'd still be conflicted about this, though, and hate himself for doing it. Ultimately, that'd be what Luke senses in the OT and uses to turn him back from the Dark Side. Anakin would view himself as a monster, but believe that it's necessary for him to be one to save the galaxy. Luke would show him that he's wrong.

    There'd be no Jar Jar, no midichlorians, no prophecies about chosen whosits, no "roger roger what's our vector, Victor?" droids, etc.
     
  45. CSMacLaren

    CSMacLaren Sr Member

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    James Franco looks a teensy bit like Hayden, but James has many more layers in his acting ability.

    In "Homefront" he was downright freaky.
     
  46. Wolfsburg

    Wolfsburg Sr Member

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    Whoa, I really like this. Would've been worlds better. I personally would've been fine if the PT already started out with Anakin as an adolescent training under a 40ish Obi-wan, his good friend and mentor. I don't consider it that important knowing how Anakin was discovered or where he came from. Just leave it ambiguous. I'm not sure who I would specifically choose but I kinda pictured an affable British actor, perhaps with a bigger build.

     
  47. rodneyfaile

    rodneyfaile Sr Member

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  48. AJTaliesen

    AJTaliesen Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I clipped this for size, but I agree with the whole post as well. This plus the youtube video if Episode 1 & 2 didnt suck (I think theyre still working on 3), are kind of the basis for my assertion that keeping it all secret does have the advantage of surprise twists, but it also means they miss out on possible input like this.

    Part of me still secretly hopes that Disney one day decides that they want to build a real life version of Scrooge McDuck's money vault to swim in and to raise the $$ they remake the prequels entirely. Probably wont happen anytime soon, but I can dream.
     
  49. dascoyne

    dascoyne Master Member

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    When they invent a memory machine that could transport me back to 1977 and relive the experience of going to the Coronet Theater in San Francisco and watching Star Wars for the first time with my 11 year old eyes that will be the greatest SW experience of all.
     
  50. evilchiken469

    evilchiken469 Member

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    personally i dont think hayden was to bad i blame the script more than anything specifically in episode III dude held a strong presence when he was on screen not saying anything. its been along time since ive watched the prequels and i really cant remember the second one as i still think its worse than episode I, but from what i remember of Hayden in episode III i thought he was pretty good. Then again i am also only 18 and was growing up as the prequels came out so i never had the chance to only be familiar with the orignal trilogy, i mean my oldest memory is from going to see episode I with my dad on opening night.
     

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