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It will be a day long remembered, one that has seen the end to AICN's Sideshow Star Wars Diorama Contest...

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. Can it be? Is it possible? If you’re reading this in hell and just ordered a nice dish of ice cream, put that straw away… it looks like it arrive still cold and solid… The Sideshow Star Wars diorama contest has come to a close. I can give you a play by play on why it’s taken so long to wrap up, but let me just say that I’m incredibly sorry for this taking so long. I wrapped up this contest about 3 or 4 weeks ago, alerted Sideshow and the winner got his prize. Like it has been throughout the judging of this contest, I’ve kept having to put it on the backburner as more pressing news, travel and other work came up. For those who don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, last August I began a contest for this item from Sideshow:

I thought it’d be interesting to see a lot of prequel lovers take a stab at rewriting the final duel in REVENGE OF THE SITH… knowing I’d also get a lot of prequel haters trying to right the wrongs they think Lucas made in the prequel trilogy. Mark my words, I will never, ever run a written contest again. At the end of the day, I had over 400 pages of Star Wars rewrites to read and that, in large part, is what kept the contest from being wrapped up. It’s such a huge time commitment that I constantly found myself derailed and having to reprioritize my schedule. That said, I saw a whole lot of creativity from you guys who entered. I also read a lot of bad fan fiction. I’m not going to highlight the stuff I didn’t like… I do appreciate everyone who entered and don’t want to shit on anybody for trying… but I’m going to post a few runners up so you have an idea of what the better scripts looked like. But first, let’s take a look at the winner. Simon Uttley wrote a 22 page script that was everything I was looking for in this contest. It is organic, the dialogue isn’t over-the-top and right off the bat it feels like it’s the same universe as the original Star Wars Trilogy. Uttley somehow made Bail Organa feel like Lando, gives a real reason why Anakin would be on the Volcano planet (not just that’s where the Federation people happen to be hiding out) and his duel is imaginative, thrilling and epic. He also ties Qui-Gon back in, which was a very common element in the entries… and while it was my least favorite thing in his script, I think he still pulls it off. His lead up in the email entry is thus:
Lead up kind of follows the plot of the film but I've detailed what you need to know in the crawl. Obviously, Anakin wouldn't have been a whiny punk from the the get go and is much more of a man rather than an adolescent. I tried to go with what the OT led us to think things were like. I've kept the droids and the basic structure though because I want to show that with just a basic re-write ( i probably spent two days all in on this) you can produce something along the same basic lines as George's vision but without the cringe-worthy bits (I hope anyway, you may think otherwise).
Click here for Simon Uttley’s winning entry!
And here are a few other entries I really liked, but didn’t make the cut: Robert Dimitri’s script was one of the first I got and was one of the better entries. It’s not perfect, but I love having the final duel mirror the training duel that would take place at the beginning of Episode 3. In fact, the final duel is my least favorite part of Dimitri’s entry… I like seeing the relationship between Obi-Wan and Anakin being competitive, but friendly… and showing that Anakin can beat Obi-Wan 99 times out of 100 in practice, that he’s a much more skilled fighter. Dimitri also explores the reason behind Obi-Wan taking Ben as his name, which is interesting if not a bit fanboyish. But hey, that’s why we’re all here, right?
Click here for Robert Dimitri’s entry
Alex Maidy’s entry is flawed, especially at the beginning, but what put it into contention for me was the back and forth between Anakin and Obi-Wan. The fight itself is a bit truncated and I think it’s tied too closely to the onscreen duel in SITH, but the dialogue I thought was pretty strong, especially Anakin’s enraged speech. I also like that both Anakin and Obi-Wan are really put through the wringer here.
Click here for Alex Maidy’s entry
JD Mack’s script has Mustafar as the location for a Jedi temple and refuge for a couple surviving Jedi, including Ashoka from the Clone Wars cartoons. Now, the re-use of the shudder-inducing “Skyguy” nickname is… not for me. But JD has Padme going into labor during the duel and it adds a really nice bit of drama. Also I love that Mack thought about Anakin’s lightsaber that will be passed to Luke and gave Anakin a red saber for the final duel. I thought was kind of horseshit that Darth Vader fought with a blue saber.
Click here for JD Mack’s entry
This entry from Paul De Cinque is perhaps one of the best structured and written entries. I can tell Paul’s a writer… either trained or a natural… either way, he knows the format. His idea has Darth Maul survive Episode 1, the illusion Palpatine uses to hide himself… the visual threat. Maul is jealous of Anakin, who Paul made a bit of an abusive husband, which I’m not sure I liked… But I love that Obi-Wan is given a little darkness to him, the idea that he toyed with the Dark Side so that during the final duel you don’t just have Obi-Wan trying to bring Anakin back to the light, but you also have Anakin trying to tempt Obi-Wan over to the dark side. I think ultimately Paul makes Anakin too much of a villain to fully redeem later on, but how Palpatine transformed is handled much better here, the action is well done and the dialogue is fairly strong (when not winking too much at the audience).
Click here for Paul De Cinque’s entry
Jeremy Jaynes’ entry reworks the structure a bit, with Anakin unaware of Padme’s pregnancy. Once Palpatine is revealed and confronted, our heroes split up. Luke is sent to Tatooine (a place they say Anakin is guaranteed to never return, which makes it actually a smart decision and not painfully obvious that a Skywalker on Tatooine could be Anakin’s family) and in a surprising turn Obi-Wan stays with Padme and Leia. There’s a passage of time as Anakin fully takes on the Vader mantle and hunts down the remaining Jedi. Mustafar is a planet obscured by Dark Side energy and where Obi-Wan chooses to hide. Vader shows up (with Tarkin) on his dual purpose, to hunt down rogue Jedis and search for his missing wife. Jaynes puts in a lot of nice touches here, giving the lead up to the final duel a very western feel. He also has some nods to Empire (mostly in Vader’s fighting style).
Click here for Jeremy Jaynes’ entry
And here’s the final one I want to showcase, what would have been the winner if I was in a jokey mood and it would have probably caught me even more shit over this contest. It comes from someone calling themselves Tair Rafiq, which could very well be a real name, but phonetically speaking I’m inclined to believe it’s a fake. This 12 page script is a spoof of the prequels and came just at the right time after a few really bad entries had me wanting to do anything else but read scripts… In it, Anakin abuses Padme because she charges up his credit card on wigs and white face make-up… and Obi-Wan has to go find a job at a call center when the Jedi are wiped out.
Click here for Tair Rafiq’s entry
Seriously funny stuff. Thanks to all who entered, even the entries I had to slough through get an E for Effort. It’s a real commitment entering a contest like this and I appreciate everyone who gave it a shot. -Quint Follow Me On Twitter

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