Star Wars: Why We Love the Prequels

Last week I had the luxury of being able to attend a few days of the Star Wars Celebration VI convention in Orlando, Florida. There were some incredible moments such as seeing George Lucas in person, meeting the great Ian McDiarmid, but then there was also one very informative discussion panel titled “Why We Love the Prequels.” What I thought was going to be a series of video clips from Episodes I, II and III in that panel turned out to be so much more. I was initially just going to share this with my fellow WSB writers via email, but then thought, hey, it’s Star Wars. Why save it for just us?

The panel consisted of six members including Bryan Young from Big Shiny Robot, The Clone Wars’ Clare Grant, artist Tom Hodges, fanboy director Kyle Newman, Force.net social media director Eric Geller, author Pablo Hidalgo and Lucasfilm Animation’s senior lighting artist Jesse Hildreth.  The panel, especially Tom Hodges, offered some poignant and thought-provoking points regarding why things are the way they are in the prequels and how some of those relate to the classic trilogy.

Housekeeping:  Here’s one a fan brought up in the discussion.  Look at the room of the Jedi Council, specifically the floor.  In TPM, it’s polished.  In AOTC, it’s dull.  In ROTS, it has mold growing on it.  This foreshadows the decline and inevitable erradication of the Jedi.


High and Mighty:   The Jedi are so oblivious to the threat right in front of them. They literally conduct their business from an ivory tower.  That great old adage is brought to life here in the prequels.

Oh the Irony:  At times, when the Jedi speak in the prequels, they bend the truth in an attempt to win over the other person.  When the Sith speak, they tell the truth.

Touché:  Why isn’t the lightsaber fighting in the classic trilogy as fast and agile as it is in the prequels?  Obviously sword fighting in Hollywood wasn’t as elaborate in the 1970’s as it is in the 21st century, but that kind of answer doesn’t satisfy the fanboys.  So what’s the “real” answer?  In the Jedi order, students were sought out at very, very young ages.  They were taught a variety of fighting forms from a large variety of Jedi.  Because they were so young, they had the time to hone and nurture these skills.  Luke was taught at age 20 by two Jedi in retirement who hadn’t fought in years and were old in their own right.  He was given an crash course and that was it.


The Struggle Within:  Luke is still not sure of himself and his path early in Return of the Jedi.  Think about it.  He walks in Jabba’s palace, chokes out two Gamorrean Guards, then starts making death threats.  Very un-Jedi like.

Fool Me Once:  When Anakin seeks out Yoda’s advice in Revenge of the Sith, he’s impatient and unhappy with the answer he gets.  Yoda provides Jedi code generalities that comes across like a cloudy, half-effort reply to Anakin.  This discussion ultimately does little to sway Anakin as he eventually heads to the dark side.  In Return of the Jedi, Yoda tells Luke the truth point blank.  Vader is your dad.  If you do this, you’ll fall to the dark side.  He was never that up front with Anakin and like learned from that approach.

Do Over: This isn’t so much a bit of reasoning as it was a detail revealed.  When Mace Windu and his three amigos attempt to arrest Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith, the sequence originally had Anakin standing next to Palpatine.  Being saber-less, Palpatine grabs Anakin’s saber and makes his death-wielding leap toward the Jedi.  Lucas re-thought this and removed Anakin from the equation so he can make his hurried entrance later on, seeing Palpatine pinned down by Windu and not knowing the previous fight.

Biology 101:  I think a lot of us are still waiting to be sold on the midi-chlorian concept.  As Tom Hodges pointed out, if you had a specific metaphysical detail that set you apart from most of society, wouldn’t you try to seek out others like yourself?  And if you were the Emperor, wouldn’t you make every effort to erradicate this knowledge as well as the beings that harnessed it?  I may not be sold, Tom, but you’re off to a good start.

It’s Treason Then: The politics.  Okay, so this one isn’t so hidden.  Still, the politics play a huge role in the eventual forming and domination by the Empire.  Palpatine is a genius and an extremely patient one at that.  He practically waits 20 years before he can successfully pull the trigger on his plan’s completion.  The Trade Federation existed during that whole time, from The Phantom Menace to Revenge of the Sith.  He played EVERYONE during that time.  Everybody was a pawn to some extent.  Senator Palpatine became Chancellor Palpatine who constantly bogged down the Senate in exceptions and motions because he knew the laws, rules and procedures like the back of his hand.  He then, of course, became the Emperor, and the rest my friends, is history.

So there you have it; a handful of notes from fans affiliated with the Star Wars universe in some capacity.  Some of it you may have already picked up on. Some of it was hopefully thought-provoking.  Either way, it’s brain food for the sci-fi nerd in us all.  The panel was a great experience and the questions proposed by the fans were just as intriguing as the answers provided by the experts.


2 Responses to “Star Wars: Why We Love the Prequels”

  1. Sean Ferguson

    Thanks for the coverage Gregg! There’s a lot of good points here and as someone who enjoyed the prequels (although not as much as the original trilogy), I agree with just about all of these comments. People were too quick to dismiss the prequels and didn’t bother to look at these kind of threads that would eventually lead to episodes 4-6.

  2. Gregg

    Sure thing! I watched all 3 prequels this week and loved them. One of the panelists made a good point. Some people say they love Star Wars but not this part in ROTJ and not the new trilogy or whatever. That leaves you with liking two out of six movies, hardly constituting an “I love” comment worthy. I still crack up every time Jar Jar gets his mouth zapped in the pod racer. I still get amped every time the Jedi and droids charge at each other on Geonosis. And one of my favorite Star Wars moments is when Yoda hurls his saber into the torso of a clone, then climbs on him to pull it out. As one panelist mentioned, George Lucas made these movies for kids, not embattled 30 and 40-year olds.