Photon points out that the super weapon could have been removed from the movie entirely and changed virtually nothing.
Even if The First Order weren't a galactic threat Leia would likely be involved in The Resistience because of the family ties involved and a misplaced belief that she's to blame. Fin would still want to rescue Rey because she's the first person to look at him as a person, and Han would because he felt the connection he had with Rey.
Basically everything ends up happening in the exact same way.
That's, honestly, too little of a change.
I've already mentioned that Han, Chewie and Rey: Galactic Smuggling and Salvage would be a completely awesome and utterly watchable thing.
The First Order maintains control by stealing people as infants and constantly brainwashing them. Fin likely isn't even close to the only one who wants out of that loveless shitty enviroment. Speaking of shit, he works on the
What if the way he got the sheilds down was to show up, say "Hey guys, I found a way out and all you have to do is help us break stuff, and we know how easily stuff breaks given that we're the ones who always have to fix it.
So they get to the important whatever room by rerouting the sewage flow so it backs up into said rooms attached bathroom and the people working in high clearance only area abandon their posts because they don't want to be ankle deep in shit. Then the good guys can just walk in and do what they will.
"We need to do work in this area."
"You're a sanitation worker, you don't have clearance to -- What the fuck is that smell!"
"I warned you. You know if you'd just granted us access to to section G6-B last week this whole thing could have been avoided, but no: you had do do the whole 'Restricted area' nonsense."
"Just get in here and fix... oh my god!"
"Honestly, as sludge flows go that's relatively tame."
Bad guys run away, good guys have unfettered access.
. . .
Star Wars: The Sanitation Workers
But beyond that, they keep on brainwashing people to keep them loyal. What about a prison break --or a high speed prison-transport break where they free dissenting workers on the way to a reeducation camp?
Save the stormtroopers who don't want to be storm troopers.
Also since they're all kidnapped as infants, what about a more basic rescue mission? "I don't care about your politics, I'm, just here to get by brother back."
Moving from stormtroopers to scavengers. So staying in S here.
If they hadn't been a community of such assholes I could totally watch a whole series of stuff about scavengers who live in a given place because the remnants of a space ship battle are there and the ships haven't been picked clean yet. First installment could be overthrowing the assholes there in movie and setting up some sort of shared collective where they all got their fair share.
When you first see a piece of an incomplete map to Luke you get the impression that this is going to be Star Wars: The Search for Luke which will involve scouring the galaxy for evidence of Luke, totally a movie worth of stuff there. It's basically the whole scavenger hunt race thing that's done so often.
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Anakin was a slave. Given that Republic credits don't count for shit on Tatooine an argument can be made that the Republic didn't have sway there and thus couldn't prevent it, but consider the story suggested:
Idealistic slave gains freedom, has to leave home (but promises to return) and is trained to use incredible magic
? ? ? ? ?
Same person, now an adult, will cross whatever moral lines it takes to defend the empire.
What's the most reasonable way to connect point A to point B.
The (future) emperor comes to Anakin and points out that for all his training he still hasn't been able to fulfill his original quest: to set his mom free.
The problem is the sluggish and corrupt government. If they work together they can take over and end slavery everywhere. Poverty too. Hunger, homelessness. They can make a better galaxy.
Sure, it'll involve some self sacrifice, maybe you won't be able to sleep at night so well and looking in the mirror won't be your favorite thing to do, but is your ability to sleep at night more important than the freedom of all those slaves.
It'll be much easier to get things through committee when the dissenting voices are dead.
Then Star Wars would be set in an apparently utopian post scarcity society, except that, you know, dissenting voices are killed off, getting rid of the Jedi means strong restrictions on religious practices. And you come to realize that seeming utopia is really, really not utopia when it comes to things like freedom of speech, press, and religion.
Probably a surveillance state with no privacy whatsoever and draconian punishments.
But some of the people on the rebel side would be people who just want to go back to the days when they had slaves.
- - -
The Clone Wars
Just think about that. Would you clone one random bounty hunter? No, you'd clone all the great military strategists, you'd clone your best sniper to be all your snipers, you best rifleman to be you riflemen, your best ...
Your best wizards to be your damned embedded Jedi.
Your best star-fighter pilot to be a star-fighter pilots. (Well, you'd clone your best [fighter name] pilot to pilot all your [fighter name]s.)
You'd have lots of models of people cloned. And you'd have six versions of Alexander the Great standing around a table working together to create the best strategy for using your infantry on such and such planet against superior numbers with that river over there in the way.
If plucky heroes kept on foiling your damned plans you'd get some DNA and brain scans and unleash armies of those same plucky heroes on your enemies.
It would be a confuddled mess (a word so unsure and mixed up it doesn't know if it's confused or befuddled) but it would be interesting. Which the actual Clone Wars movie was not.
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There were other thoughts and other things, but I'm not doing the best job at keeping thoughts in my head.