1) Portray the Jedi as badass, yes, but also as 'human'. To me, this entails a bit more humor in their dialogue and a bit less mystical BS. There was one part in the movie where Qui Gon was talking about how the Force would 'lead them' through the unknown, underwater caverns of Naboo. I was like...huh... how does THAT work? I would hate for the Force to become this nebulous deus ex machina—a thing that suddenly provides hitherto unknown 'super-powers' whenever a situation calls for it. Likewise, I would like to think that however philosophically-minded the Jedi are, they would also appreciate common sense and make use of helpful technology. To me, this makes them more 'approachable' as characters and easier to feel for.
2) Jar Jar. As I have stated before, I'm not against comic relief in a movie. But there are a couple caveats to that: a) comic relief should actually be funny, b) funny should entail more than just slapstick, and c) even the comic relief should turn out to be likable and occasionally competent. To have someone who ALWAYS screws up tends to make me dislike that character. Thus, one of my biggest challenges is to balance Jar Jar as both laughable and likable.
3) Give the normal guys a chance. Part of what I enjoyed about the Original Star Wars trilogy was the fact that the Heroes were in it with 'normal guys' who actually seemed to know what they were doing (Wedge, Biggs and Red Leader, for example). In the Early parts of Episode I, we see Naboo Soldiers just standing around as the Jedi battle all around them. I remember thinking to myself...come on, guys, do SOMETHING. Tackle the droids at least, you outnumber them! Later in the movies, Characters like Panaka do seem to come into their own, but if they were given moments earlier in the film (even background moments), then they would have a bit more depth to them.
4) Give the bad guys teeth. In Episode I, the rank-and-file villains are exceptionally non-threatening. Viceroy Nute Gunray and his compatriots are all cowards. That's fine, or would be if it wasn't for the fact their soldiers all look like banana-headed marionettes. Villains should not be used as the main source of comic relief (at least not in my book). All the 'roger roger' crap is annoying. Yes, the droid army itself is kind of creepy when we see it at the end of the movie, but up until then? Meh. Why couldn't the battle-droids be threatening instead of goofy? But overall, this is a minor issue, because the Sith in the film do a VERY good job of being bad. You get a true sense of how evil and manipulating Sidious/Palpatine is and Darth Maul is like nothing we've ever seen before—a seething engine of destruction and hate. He deserves a much better death than the one given to him at the end of this movie.
5) Angst and Romance. These were things decidedly lacking in Episode I. Anakin being a 'sweet little kid', while a poignant contrast to what he would later become, was something that quickly wore thin. It also wasted a lot of opportunity for the development of a relationship between him and Padme—which had to be rushed so much during Episode II that it just didn't 'feel right'. It is my intention to introduce Anakin as a teenager (perhaps 16 or so) and to give a hint at a connection between him and Padme so that there is something to build off of in the Second movie, rather than just starting from scratch.
6) Character moments. My favorite moments in the Original trilogy were those brief times when the action paused and the characters talked—often trading clever one-liners. I realize that in an action movie, you never want to slow down TOO much, but I felt these moments were lacking overall in Episode I. It is my intention to try and revitalize those moments in Episode I, and maybe even inject a couple new ones.
Well, anyway, that's it for now. More later.