With the whole world going nuts with the release of Episode 7, here are 13 reasons why I prefer the Star Wars prequels.
I think I just broke the Internet.
Star Wars Episode 7 is upon us, boys and girls. Every single company in the whole earth is going for a cash in. Everything everywhere is covered in Kylo Ren and stormtroopers and Harrison Ford. The Internet is crazy with fan theories about the Nights of Ren, where on earth Mark Hamill is and whether or not Darth Revan has made a comeback (please please please). And I have a confession that I have made before, but I think it’s time I was up front about it in detail. You guys deserve some honesty, so…
Here it goes…
I prefer the Star Wars prequels.
There, I said it. You can say that Empire Strikes back is the best Star Wars movie of all time. You can say you miss the miniatures. You can say that Puppet Yoda will be the one true Yoda in your heart. And I love the original three Star Wars movies, I really do. Even just as movies independent of being “Star Wars movies”, the three originals are listed amongst the best movies of all time. And rightly so.
But I just gotta say… I still prefer the prequels. When I go to rewatch a Star Wars something, it’ll probably be one of the first three movies. Or one of the Star Wars games… Knights of the Old Republic, The Force Unleashed… or maybe even the last season of Clone Wars or the very very surprising new series in Rebels.
To my usual readers who like the deeper topics, relax, next week I’ll be doing a full super reflective review on the year that was 2015. But for now, I need to set things right. Here are 13 reasons why I prefer the Star Wars prequels.
Um, also SPOILERS if you haven’t seen the Star Wars movies. Also, what’s wrong with you please go fix this kthxbye.
#1: The scale
I think one of the absolute best things about the prequels, and necessary for you to truly enjoy the original trilogy, is the sense of scale established in the prequels. This is a big galaxy. The Republic is massive. The Senate represents thousands of star systems and somehow manages to keep some semblance of peace amongst an array of vastly different cultures. There are like 30 billion races. Even ET is in Episode 1. Seriously. Everyone’s in on this thing. The battles are massive. The backstory is huge. This system has been running for thousands of years. The armies number in the billions.
This is a big story, and the prequels are what really takes a zoomed out view that establishes the context of the much more intimate situations set up in the original trilogy.
#2: Mace Windu
How cool is Mace Windu? Not just cause he’s Samuel L Jackson. But the premise of this guy. He’s a Grand Master of the Jedi Order. He specializes in their combat training. He provides counsel on high level disputes. His lightsaber form Vaapad is the same one employed by Darth Maul, and yet he somehow maintains his Jedi purity. This dude is a boss. Seeing him finally face off in Episode 2 and 3 and the stories in between (like the original animated Clone Wars series from 2003) was heaps rad.
#3: Oh, that’s who the Jedi are
The Jedi were guardians of peace in the Old Republic. That’s what Obi-Wan tells us in Episode 4.
But oh okay, now I get it.
The council. The ranking. The structure and values of the Order. The principles. The training. The undesired involvement in the Clone Wars. It makes it even cooler actually seeing the set up of the Jedi Order so that when Luke finally starts to progress his force abilities, we know exactly where he’s headed. We also see the Order of Two, who the Sith actually are, and why the Emperor can shoot lightning like a boss.
#4: Alde-what? Coruscant please
Maybe it’s just me, but the locales of the original trilogy aren’t too exciting. Okay, Hoth is pretty amazing, and Dagobah has some cool spots, but places like Cloud City and even Tatooine, I dunno, they’re kinda just alright.
But man, there are some cool planets introduced in the original prequels.
Like Coruscant – the capital planet of the whole dang galaxy. What an amazing idea! A planet that is one giant city that governs the whole galaxy around it.
Or places like Mustafar. Geonosis. Kamino. They’re just really imaginative and super creative locales.
#5: Darth Maul and lightsaber battles
One of my fondest memories in the movies was seeing Episode 1, because when Darth Maul pulled his double-edged lightsaber out for the first time and started fighting Obi-Want and Qui-Gon, everyone in the cinema stood up to applaud. And rightly so. Lucas hired a martial artist for the role of Maul for the purpose of making sure the villain could actually fight.
And all the lightsaber battles in the prequels are fantastic. I’m not super huge on the Yoda vs Dooku fight, but… the battles with Maul, the other fights with Dooku, the Jedi involvement in the Clone Wars, Yoda vs Sidious (when he throws the whole Senate at him), and the final battle between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader on the volcano planet Mustafar. Dang. Fantastic pieces of cinema. Still amazing to watch years later.
#6: I don’t care that much about freighter pilots and smugglers
I think one of the big driving factors for me preferring the prequels is I don’t care a super amount about the smaller scale stories in the original trilogy. Okay we have a Wookie, he’s kinda cool, okay Han has a death warrant on his head, okay Luke and his sister didn’t know what they were doing at the time… I dunno, it’s just kinda fluff around what I think the main story of Star Wars is about. The Jedi and the Sith. Good vs Evil. How does this giant Empire get to be so giant, and how does it all fit together and work? All those aspects make the stories of the prequels much more engaging and interesting to me.
#7: You think you’re doing the right thing, but…
Who is the bad guy in Star Wars? The Emperor, right? That’s what Episode 4, 5 and 6 tell you.
The prequels introduce a very, very compelling dimension in their story in that we actually see a lot of corruption and confusion among the side that is supposed to be “right” – the Jedi. Sure, they’re guardians of peace and all that, and yet they constantly demean each other, they don’t have full awareness of what’s happening in their own city, Jedi Knights continue to defect.
Oh yeah, and they raised the Sith Lord who would eventually destroy them. Did the Jedi create Vader?
I dunno, I just find that whole perspective a very interesting dimension of the story. Anakin turns to the dark side, but doesn’t believe he’s actually doing the wrong thing.
Lucas once said that people doing evil don’t actually believe they’re doing the wrong thing. People believe they’re acting right because they think their intentions are okay. Little do they know…
#8: That Soundtrack
Duel of the Fates. Battle of the Heroes. Anakin’s Betrayal. That’s all I really need to say. Between these three pieces of music you have a feast for the ears.
Oh, and that amazing sound the sonic charge makes in Episode 2. Never heard a sound in a movie like that before or since.
#9: The underrated performance of Hayden Christensen
Okay Keyboard Warriors, hear me out here.
Hayden Christensen is usually criticized for destroying the Star Wars prequels by those who don’t enjoy them. He apparently comes off too whiny or arrogant. I dunno, if you’re looking for a weak performance in the prequels, maybe check the Senator of Naboo…………. shots fired. And I used to think yeah okay, Hayden’s performance is a bit weird.
But then one day I watched Episode 3 immediately followed by Episode 4. And I realized something.
He nailed it. Seriously. People have this view of who and what Darth Vader was like, but if you watch these two movies back to back, you’ll see how many of the mannerisms, turns of expression, intonations and everything in between that he actually kept perfectly consistent with his Episode 4 counterpart. Great stuff.
#10: It was actually the story Lucas wanted to tell
Before Disney, a man named George Lucas wrote and owned the rights of the Star Wars licence. It was his baby and dream. The Star Wars prequels represented a chance for him to present exactly the story he wanted to tell, unfiltered by other studios or voices, and were opportunities for the man who gave birth to Star Wars to fully realize the story he had in mind decades earlier. That alone means they should be a bit more respected than they are.
My brother constantly tells me I always like the bad guy. Maybe he’s right.
But seriously – Palpatine.
The best villain of all time. So cunning, so twisted, so sinister, and yet so subtle, so nuanced, and so sure of himself. And as it turns out – so powerful. A whole Order of Jedi couldn’t beat him. That’s crazy. He literally builds everything in his own image. He reshapes the galactic government structure to the tune of applause.
Ian McDiarmid is a boss. Stunning performances shaping one of the most well known rises to power and tales of corruption in cinema in recent memory.
#12: You were my brother, Anakin
You were the Chosen One.
What on earth happened to you?
The fall of Anakin Skywalker. What a tale. And the finality of it in Episode 3 is actually quite moving.
You were my brother, Anakin. I loved you.
#13: The fall leads to redemption
Ultimately though, the prequels feature and eventually lead to the resurgence of hope. The chance to start again. A chance at redemption. The notion that it’s all going to turn out alright.
Powerful ending leading into Episode 4… well okay, maybe leading into the tale of Starkiller first instead (which is also great).
There you go, Internet Land. I hope I didn’t break your heart too bad. We just hear so many people dumping on the Star Wars prequels that I thought it was time someone actually said some good things about them, especially since I prefer them.
Although, Episode 7, 8 and 9 may yet make a great case for a new trilogy to love even more. We’ll see what happens with Finn and Kylo!
Over to you – did you enjoy the Star Wars prequels? Or did you hate them? Sound off in the comments below.