Star Wars: Episode III - Page One





Star Wars: Episode III

The Path of Darkness

By Tarl N. Telford

based on Star Wars

created by George Lucas

FADE IN:

Against a backdrop of stars, the opening crawl begins...

STAR WARS

EPISODE III

THE PATH OF DARKNESS

The Old Republic fights a losing battle with the MANDALORIAN CLONES. Planet after planet falls under Mandalorian rule. The armies of the Jedi Knights fight valiantly to restore peace, all the while faced with their own extinction.

Desperate voices cry out for freedom. They cry for a savior to deliver them. CHANCELLOR PALPATINE steps forward to answer the call.

Jedi Knight ANAKIN SKYWALKER struggles to unravel the mystery of his past. Shadowy voices rage within him, luring him toward the dark side of the force...

PAN TO:

EXT PLANET TATTOOINE - ESTABLISHING

Twin suns rise on the dusty planet of Tattooine. A B'OMARR MONASTERY rises stoically up against the harsh backdrop of the dry mountains.

ANAKIN SKYWALKER (24 yrs), Jedi Knight, clad in black robes, approaches the monastery.

EXT B'OMARR MONASTERY - CONTINUING

Anakin enters the monastery through huge doors. The building is dark and quiet.

A SPIDERLIKE B'OMARR MONK passes Anakin, ignoring him. Anakin closes his eyes for a moment in concentration. He turns down a corridor to the left.

INT B'OMARR MONASTERY - CONTINUING

Anakin descends a wide stairway into the darkness. At the foot of the stairs, an astromech droid lies shattered. Anakin bends down and wipes away some dust to look at the identification numbers - R2-D3.

ANAKIN

Artoo Dee Three.

The hallway emerges into a cavern. Against one wall, a battered starship rests. One wing is crumpled against the wall. The ship's hull is torn open - as if ripped by some great being.

INT BATTERED STARSHIP - CONTINUING

Anakin enters the ship. Dust covers everything. Anakin wipes dust away from the communications console. When he presses the controls, nothing happens. Anakin pulls out a small battery from his belt. He hooks it into some wires.

A small hologram appears. It is SHMI SKYWALKER, looking much younger than her current age. She is dressed in fine robes of royalty.

SHMI SKYWALKER

I pray this message reaches you. Father, I wish that you would believe me. There was no father to my child.

ANAKIN

Mother?

SHMI SKYWALKER

Why won't you believe me? The House of The Sun believes in the prophecy, why can't you believe in me? I never wanted to hurt anyone.

The hologram of Shmi turns, as if hearing something.

SHMI SKYWALKER

I am sending this message with three droids. I pray that one of them makes it home to you. Please, Father, I beg you, let me come home.

The hologram blurs, then fades out.

Anakin sits back, stunned.

CUT TO:

EXT BATTERED STARSHIP - AFTERNOON

Anakin pulls every available record and means of identification out of the ship and piles it in the cavern. He pulls out a small DOLL and looks at it.

QUI GON JINN (O.S.)

She wanted to tell you, Anakin.

Anakin whirls around, brandishing his lightsaber. QUI GON JINN, a stately Jedi Master, now an apparition, walks out from behind a stalagmite.

ANAKIN

Qui Gon.

Anakin lowers his lightsaber.

QUI GON JINN

I did not realize until after we had left Tattooine that your mother was of The House of The Sun.

ANAKIN

I don't understand.

QUI GON JINN

The House of The Sun contains the most powerful Jedi in the history of the galaxy. Every single Jedi can trace their instruction back to The House of The Sun.

ANAKIN

Why didn't she tell me?

QUI GON JINN

If you knew who you were, you would not have stayed with Obi Wan. In your inexperience, you would have ended up dying, and all that we have worked for would have been lost.

ANAKIN

What happened to her?

QUI GON JINN

Your grandfather was a proud man, Anakin. He would not allow the pure bloodline to be polluted. I knew him before your mother was born. Even then, he was certain that the Chosen One would be born to one of his daughters. When your mother was found with child... he cast her out.

Anakin squats down and starts shoveling the piled-up items into a satchel.

QUI GON JINN

Anger will not change the past, Anakin.

ANAKIN

You knew, and you didn't tell me.

QUI GON JINN

Yes.

ANAKIN

I hate you.

QUI GON JINN

Anakin, you must listen to me.

ANAKIN

Why? So you can get my hopes up, and leave me again? Just leave me alone.

QUI GON JINN

Anakin-

Anakin whips up his lightsaber at Qui Gon's face. He holds the tip of his lightsaber at Qui Gon's throat.

ANAKIN

I said leave me alone.

Anakin slings the satchel over his shoulder and walks away.

Qui Gon hangs his head in sorrow.

CUT TO:

EXT CORUSCANT - DAY

The city-planet buzzes with commerce.

EXT CORUSCANT - IMPERIAL PALACE - CONTINUING

The huge IMPERIAL PALACE rises from the depths of the city, to tower above everything.

In one of the courtyards, white armored stormtroopers march in formation.

INT CORUSCANT - IMPERIAL PALACE - THRONE ROOM - DAY

Supreme Chancellor PALPATINE, an aging man of stately composure, looks out the huge window to the courtyard below.

GRAND MOFF TARKIN, a tall, gaunt ruler, stands next to Palpatine.

GRAND MOFF TARKIN

The Stormtroopers are almost ready, Chancellor.

PALPATINE

Excellent.

GRAND MOFF TARKIN

The delegates are arriving even as we speak.

PALPATINE

And young Skywalker?

GRAND MOFF TARKIN

He should arrive shortly.

PALPATINE

He will join us.

GRAND MOFF TARKIN

I do not share your confidence, my lord. He is a Jedi.

PALPATINE

Yes.

Tarkin waits patiently for Palpatine to finish his thought.

GRAND MOFF TARKIN

And?

PALPATINE

Yes, young Skywalker is a Jedi. He is also a man, and every man wants power. Wouldn't you agree, Grand Moff Tarkin?

Tarkin steps back, keenly aware of Palpatine's pointed question.

GRAND MOFF TARKIN

Undoubtedly, Chancellor.

PALPATINE

Now that we are in agreeance, what of Concord Dawn? What is our situation there?

GRAND MOFF TARKIN

The Jedi have purged twelve more systems of the Mandalorian Clones. However, their ranks are shrinking. They can barely protect the planets they have liberated. They will not be a threat.

PALPATINE

Good. Shall we?

Palpatine gestures to the door. Two crimson ROYAL GUARDS stand silent watch.

CUT TO:

INT CORUSCANT - IMPERIAL PALACE - BALLROOM - CONTINUING

Palpatine and Tarkin emerge onto a huge balcony overlooking an immense ballroom. Servants of all types prepare for the gathering this evening.

GRAND MOFF TARKIN

Many will oppose your announcement.

PALPATINE

Perhaps. It will only serve to strengthen support for our cause.

GRAND MOFF TARKIN

The Jedi will not support you.

PALPATINE

They will have no choice.

CUT TO:

INT JEDI TEMPLE - COUNCIL CHAMBER - DAY

OBI WAN KENOBI, Jedi Master, stands before the JEDI COUNCIL. Of the twelve seats, four are vacant.

MACE WINDU, YODA, ADI GALLIA, and OPPO RANCISIS converse with Obi Wan Kenobi.

OBI WAN KENOBI

We need more Jedi Knights in the Inner Rim. The Clones have taken three more systems.

YODA

But freed twelve systems you did.

OBI WAN KENOBI

The force was with us, but those systems are not as essential as the Inner Rim.

ADI GALLIA

All systems are essential. All life is important.

MACE WINDU

General Kenobi is right. Do we have any troops to spare?

OPPO RANCISIS

There are less than one thousand Jedi Knights left. Many have perished in this war.

MACE WINDU

Without taking anybody off of Coruscant, we can give you perhaps thirty more.

OBI WAN KENOBI

Thirty? Does it please the Council to have beings die because you don't want to give up your bodyguards?

YODA

Control your anger you must, Obi Wan.

MACE WINDU

We dare not leave this temple unguarded. This is the last refuge of light we have left. The Mandalorians have already taken our other temples on Salassa and Arkadia.

OBI WAN KENOBI

So this temple is more important than those millions of lives out there?

None of the Jedi Council answer Obi Wan's question.

OBI WAN KENOBI

I see.

Obi Wan turns and exits.

Oppo Rancisis stands stiffly, crippled by age.

OPPO RANCISIS

I will go with him.

ADI GALLIA

Go in the force, Master Rancisis.

OPPO RANCISIS

If I don't return...

MACE WINDU

The force will be with you.

Oppo Rancisis exits.

YODA

Now only seven of us, there are.

CUT TO:

INT CORUSCANT - SKYWALKER RESIDENCE - AFTERNOON

Anakin drops the satchel on a table. AMIDALA (29 yrs), beautiful and determined, puts in an earring as she enters the main room.

ANAKIN

Amidala, I'm home.

AMIDALA

I missed you.

ANAKIN

Where is my mother?

AMIDALA

She and Rab went out to buy some clothes. They'll be back soon. Why? What's wrong?

ANAKIN

I just have some questions to ask her.

AMIDALA

Did you find what you were looking for?

ANAKIN

More.

CUT TO:

INT CORUSCANT - BAZAAR - DAY

SHMI SKYWALKER and RAB browse through the different shops. They look at clothing especially. Shmi wears an ornate hairpin - carved in the shape of a flower.

SHMI SKYWALKER

Oh, that one is nice.

Rab picks up a fine gown and holds it up. Shmi smiles in approval.

RAB

What do you think?

SHMI SKYWALKER

It looks beautiful.

Behind them, BOBA FETT, in Mandalorian armor, walks past. Shmi looks around, sensing something. She turns, but Boba Fett has disappeared.

RAB

Who was it?

Shmi looks around apprehensively.

SHMI SKYWALKER

I don't know. Someone ...

CUT TO:

INT CORUSCANT - SKYWALKER RESIDENCE - BEDROOM - EVENING

Amidala wears a fine gown for the ball. Anakin rifles through clothing in the closet, just out of sight.

Amidala looks sadly in the mirror. She takes a small brush and dips in in a jar of lip color. She paints the SCAR OF REMEMBRANCE on her lower lip.

ANAKIN (O.S.)

Have you see my silver belt buckle? Amidala?

Anakin emerges from the closet. Amidala quickly wipes off her lower lip with a cloth.

ANAKIN

What are you doing?

AMIDALA

Nothing.

Amidala turns away from him, so he won't see the tears in her eyes and the smeared lip color.

Anakin takes Amidala by the shoulders and turns her around to face him. He gently wipes the smeared lipstick off with his thumb.

ANAKIN

The Queen is dead, Amidala. You can't go back.

AMIDALA

I should never have left.

ANAKIN

You did what you had to do. Come on, the Chancellor is waiting.

Anakin takes Amidala's hand and walks toward the door. Amidala shuffles slowly, reluctant, then stops.

AMIDALA

I don't want to go. He frightens me.

ANAKIN

I promise, nothing will happen to you.

CUT TO:

INT JEDI TEMPLE - COUNCIL CHAMBER - EVENING

Mace Windu enters. Adi Gallia stares out the window, down on the city-planet.

ADI GALLIA

I thought you were going to the Chancellor's ball.

MACE WINDU

Ki-Adi Mundi is there in my place.

ADI GALLIA

The clones are destroying the galaxy.

MACE WINDU

We will stop them.

ADI GALLIA

We don't have the strength anymore.

MACE WINDU

We don't have a choice. The way will be provided.

ADI GALLIA

I don't know if I can believe that.

MACE WINDU

You must not waver from your path. This hope is all that we have.

ADI GALLIA

Of course. You're right.

Adi Gallia turns away from Mace Windu. She looks off into the distance, remembering.

ADI GALLIA

I still hear their screams. We left them behind.

MACE WINDU

They knew what was required.

ADI GALLIA

What gives us that right? Who are we to decide who lives and dies?

MACE WINDU

It was the will of the force.

ADI GALLIA

It was your will!

MACE WINDU

It was the will of the force. You have to trust that, Adi.

ADI GALLIA

No, I don't. Not anymore.

Mace Windu puts a hand on Adi Gallia's shoulder. She pulls away.

ADI GALLIA

Don't touch me.

Mace Windu pulls back, saddened. He nods silently.

MACE WINDU

I'll arrange a transport for you.

ADI GALLIA

I'm staying here on Coruscant.

Mace Windu moves to the door, but stops before exiting.

MACE WINDU

They knew what they were doing.

ADI GALLIA

They didn't want to die.

Mace Windu nods, and exits.

CUT TO:

INT DARTH SIDIOUS CHAMBER - EVENING

DARTH SIDIOUS, also known as PALPATINE, sits in his throne. Two dark Jedi, DARTHINE JEZ, a tall, statuesque woman, and SILMUS WOMBAR, a man of dark, piercing eyes, stand before the throne.

DARTHINE JEZ

All is in readiness, my master.

Darth Sidious stands and removes his hood. Palpatine smiles at these two fine students.

PALPATINE

Good. And what of the Jedi?

SILMUS WOMBAR

General Kenobi has departed with Oppo Rancisis for Kashyyyk.

Silmus Wombar steps forward, eagerly dispensing news. Darthine Jez steps in front of him.

DARTHINE JEZ

The Jedi Council is dying. Mace Windu will be at the reception. Let me cut him down.

PALPATINE

In time, Darthine Jez, in time.

CUT TO:

EXT CORUSCANT - NIGHT

A Republic Battlecruiser orbits the planet. A small SITH FIGHTER darts out from an orbiting skyhook. The fighter slips beneath the Battlecruiser shields. The fighter fires. The Republic Cruiser explodes.

CUT TO:

INT CORUSCANT - IMPERIAL PALACE - BALLROOM - NIGHT

Grand Moff Tarkin stands on the balcony, overlooking a great assembly of sentient beings from across the galaxy. The buzz of conversation fills the room.

A COURIER brings a messagepad to Tarkin. He reads it and allows himself a tight smile.

Tarkin steps to the edge of the balcony and raises his hands for silence. A hush falls over the assembly.

GRAND MOFF TARKIN

I'm afraid I have some grave news. The enemy is at our very doorstep. The Republic Battlecruiser Seddwyyn III has been destroyed. All evidence points to the Mandalorians.

Panicked cries arise in the congregation.

GRAND MOFF TARKIN

The Republic is dying. We have no choice but to recommit ourselves to-

The doors burst open. Four squads of MANDALORIAN SUPERCOMMANDOS flood in, firing their blaster rifles.

Several JEDI in the crowd, including KI-ADI MUNDI (of the Jedi Council), and Anakin Skywalker, ignite their lightsabers.

Amidala ducks behind Anakin. He deflects several blaster bolts.

Darthine Jez appears behind Ki-Adi Mundi. She jabs him in the back with a small needle weapon. He falls to the ground, unconscious. The other Jedi, save Anakin, all fall in similar fashion.

Anakin assures Amidala's safety, and prepares to leap into battle.

Four red cloaked ROYAL GUARDS appear on the balconies around the room. They leap down at the Mandalorians. Each of the Royal Guards wields a force pike. They cut down and eliminate the Mandalorians with utmost efficiency.

As the last Mandalorian falls, the Royal Guards turn and silently look up at the balcony. Palpatine, completely cloaked in black, steps to the front of the balcony.

PALPATINE

The enemy is upon us. We must defend ourselves. Look around you; where are the Jedi? They are fallen.

Worried murmurs escalate in volume. Palpatine holds out his hands to calm the people. He pulls down his hood.

PALPATINE

Our strength comes from within. You see before you my elite guards. The Jedi cannot protect you any longer. I, as your Chancellor, will protect you.

Anakin steps forward from the crowd.

ANAKIN

You poisoned them.

PALPATINE

Dear boy, I am the servant of the people. If the Jedi can no longer do their duty as the guardians of peace and justice, I suggest they step down.

ANAKIN

No one will bow to you, Chancellor.

Tarkin steps forward.

GRAND MOFF TARKIN

And does this young Jedi speak for the people?

Angry words spew forth towards Anakin.

Amidala gently tugs Anakin towards the door. Shmi and Rab also pull him towards the door. The crowd parts for them to leave.

AMIDALA

Come, Anakin. Please.

PALPATINE

I foresee the dawning of a new age - an EMPIRE of peace and prosperity...

CUT TO:

EXT CORUSCANT - IMPERIAL PALACE - CONTINUING

As the group walks outside, the doors close behind them. Anakin shakes loose from the women.

ANAKIN

I can take care of myself.

SHMI SKYWALKER

Anakin-

AMIDALA

You saw those guards. I didn't want you getting hurt.

ANAKIN

I don't believe this. He overthrows the Jedi, and you don't want me to get hurt?

Amidala turns away, hurt. Rab comforts her.

ANAKIN

Oh, so now it's all my fault?

RAB

Look within yourself, Anakin, you are hurting the ones you love.

Anakin turns away, unwilling to face the tears of accusation.

ANAKIN

Who invited you, anyway?

SHMI SKYWALKER

I did. Anakin, she is right.

ANAKIN

Mother.

SHMI SKYWALKER

Every time you go off to fight, we worry that you won't come back to us.

ANAKIN

I always come back.

AMIDALA

But what if you don't?

Anakin softens.

ANAKIN

I will. I promise. I'll always come back for you.

Anakin takes Amidala in his arms and just holds her.

Atop a balcony, high above them, Boba Fett, in Mandalorian Armor, watches this exchange.

CUT TO:

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