June 25th, 2005

Illustmaker me

SW AUs

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A few days ago, there was a rant on fanficrants about the rash of AUs following Episode 3, wondering why people were "not accepting" it or some such thing. As a longtime SW Alternate Universe writer--I once started a thread at TFN with no purpose in mind other than to generate as many AUs as possible by having Anakin and Padmé sit around and try to think of possible futures--I felt vaguely annoyed.

The first thing to keep in mind about AUs is that that are not a denial of canon. Fics that deny canon are... just puzzling. An AU takes canon, carefully chooses something to change, changes it, then follows the changes through their canon-logical conclusions. Sometimes it's a vast thing--what if the Queen's ship were sent ahead in time after it left Tatooine in TPM, and the TPM-era characters saw their future? Could they change it? What would their presence change in the RotJ-era where they landed? I was part of a round-robin that did this story (called I'm Your What? or The Shifting of the Sands), and it actually ended up spawning two parallel AUs, which we were planning to reconcile in a sequel that never quite came together. Other times, it's a small thing that could easily have happened but didn't--what if Shmi Skywalker, on the occasion of her freeing, had come to Coruscant and insisted on seeing her son? What if Mace Windu had said, "Yes, come along with us when we arrest the Chancellor?" In those cases, the actions may be lynchpins, which cause a cascade of new effects on the universe.

So... what's with the "Anakin didn't turn" AUs? I mean, doesn't that kind of make the Imperial Trilogy a bit less interesting?

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Illustmaker me

SW observation

I'm watching AotC to check two lines, which has necessitated re-watching the whole movie, of course, and it occurs to me...

Does anyone in this galaxy other than Palpatine and the Jedi Council ever think to pick up the communications equipment? I mean, when they're in hiding, it makes sense not to do trackable communications, but some wouldn't be remotely suspicious. So what if some old geezer in Mos Eisley dialed up a number on Alderaan to shoot the breeze? So what if a call went from Naboo to a junk shop on Tatooine?

I mean, I'm particularly interested at the moment in the Shmi issue. I can see the Jedi telling Anakin not to run off, leaving everything behind, to check on his dreams. But even if he wasn't allowed to do so himself, how much effort would it have been to put in a call and see if she was actually hurt or, say, dancing a jig at her wedding?

Granted, in the case of Shmi, by the time the dreams started, she was already in captivity, and news would have just sent Anakin off half-cocked anyway... but on the other hand, it might well have qualified as enough of an emergency for someone other than Anakin to go and do something, or to help him. Or even a quick call from Naboo, on Padmé's dime... it wouldn't have changed anything, but it would still have been a logical action. Or in RotS--Padmé knows where Anakin is, and doesn't try to signal him... instead, she rushes off pregnant to a planet whose atmosphere has to be nearly toxic. Girl, that's when you call down and say, "Sweetie, your kids don't breathe sulfur, can we talk in orbit?"

I mean, it's not at the level of being a plot hole--it's consistent enough to just be the way things are--but at the moment, I'm amused by it.