I know that lately I’ve been posting a lot of Star Wars content on my blog, with blog-a-thons featuring the original and prequel trilogies, plus my countless posts about “The Force Awakens.” 😉 So after this, it’s probably time for me to take a break from Star Wars stuff for a while. However, I usually like to post a wrap-up after doing a blog-a-thon, just to collect my thoughts and reflect on the film series I’ve just watched. Then I promise I’ll try to cover some new topics! 😉
Historically, I have been a defender of the prequel films. They definitely have their weaknesses, but there also are some good parts in the films that are sometimes overlooked. I will say that this time, my opinions of “The Phantom Menace” and “Attack of the Clones” did decline a little. I don’t know whether that has something to do with re-watching them after “The Force Awakens” or whether the passing of time has just made their faults stand out a little more. However, I do think “Revenge of the Sith” is still a good film, one that now seems to be underrated. As a huge Star Wars fan, I still plan on owning all the prequel films, though I probably won’t watch them as much as the original trilogy.
My thoughts are, at the end of the day, if you don’t like the prequels, that’s okay, and if you do like the prequels, that’s okay too. I’ve heard some argue that George Lucas ruined Star Wars with the prequel trilogy, but I don’t think that’s the case. Even if you don’t like the prequels, the original trilogy still stands on its own, and you can enjoy it—and “The Force Awakens”—without watching the prequels. If you do like the prequels, there’s no shame in that either. The Star Wars universe is a pretty big place, and there’s enough room for all of us! 🙂
As I said before, the original trilogy can stand on its own, so the case could technically be made that we don’t really need a Darth Vader origin story. However, I do think it’s fascinating to take a detailed, in-depth look at how a character with such promise can fall away from the light. With stronger direction and better dialogue/scripts (and perhaps a few acting changes), I think these films could have been truly great.
If I could remake the prequels, I would have tightened up the plot and placed a lot more focus on Obi-Wan and Anakin (i.e. more Ewan McGregor, less needlessly complicated Trade Federation disputes). I would make the Anakin in “The Phantom Menace” the same age as Padmé (which I think would make them both about 14). This would have given their future romance less of a creepy stalker vibe, and would have allowed the film to work through some of the teenager-ish angst that clogs up Episode II. At the end of the movie, Obi-Wan gives Anakin a choice, saying “I know you like Padmé, but you can’t be a Jedi and have a relationship.” At the time, Anakin chooses to be a Jedi, and he and Padmé go their separate ways and put their past behind them. In “Attack of the Clones,” Anakin and Padmé meet up again, having forgot about each other for the most part (again, this gets rid of Anakin’s creepily intense fascination with Padmé, which is part of what makes their romance so awkward). They both try to fight it, but they end up falling in love again. The film also features a lot more screen time for Count Dooku and Jango and Boba Fett. General Grievous maybe gets introduced in this film as well (and doesn’t cough). Overall, the movies should have more of Chancellor Palpatine working behind the scenes to control the Republic. Everybody already knows he’s the evil Emperor from the original trilogy, so you don’t have to worry about giving away the secret by showing too much.
In my prequel reviews, I know I talked a lot about “The Clone Wars” TV series (2008-2014) and the Expanded Universe novels, but I really do recommend these, and they make watching the prequel trilogy a better experience. “The Clone Wars” series does a better job than the movies of showing the friendship between Obi-Wan and Anakin, and you also get to see the individual personalities of the clone troopers and their bond with their Jedi commanders. It makes “Order 66” in “Revenge of the Sith” all the more heartbreaking. Some of the voice actors in “The Clone Wars” also do an even better job than their live-action counterparts in the prequels.
There’s a lot of Expanded Universe novels that tie in with the prequels; some are good, and some are not so good. A good place to start is “Labyrinth of Evil” by James Luceno, which takes place right before “Revenge of the Sith” and explains more about Palpatine’s “kidnapping.” “Outbound Flight” features an adventure with Anakin and Obi-Wan between “The Phantom Menace” and “Attack of the Clones.” It’s written by Timothy Zahn, who’s probably the most popular author in the EU. “Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader,” also by James Luceno, takes place right after “Revenge of the Sith” and delves more deeply into Anakin’s transformation into Darth Vader. And while they’re now non-canon, if you’d like to try some EU novels featuring a post-“Return of the Jedi” timeline, I’d recommend Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy and the Legacy of the Force series, which features a character who likely inspired Kylo Ren.
Well, that’s it for the prequels blog-a-thon! Thanks again to everyone who followed along, and to Bradscribe, who posted his own reviews of the prequels. If you’ve written about the prequels before and want to share your posts, feel free to leave a link in the comments section!