Defending the Prequels

By Beau Erratchu

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When discussing Star Wars in the modern day, the argument is always THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY IS SACRED, and the PREQUEL TRILOGY IS AN ABOMINATION. The argument has been heard and fought. “True fans” will stand by their stance that the prequels are utter garbage, and that Lucas never should have made, Disney should remake them or they should be completely written off. I stand on the other side of the line; I defend, appreciate and support the prequels whole heartily.

I was not fortunate enough to see the original flicks in theaters; I wasn’t alive in 77 or 80 or 83. I didn’t grace the world until the later 80’s, and I never got the chance to see any of the films on the big screen. My hometown had a theater when I was younger, but it got shutdown in late 1996 and a new one didn’t open until I believe late 2001. During those 5 years I only saw a handful of movies in theaters, because the closet theater was 20 miles away; and my parents couldn’t exactly take us to see a movie that far, that often. The only movies I remember seeing were Sixth Sense, Austin Powers, Lost World and some Disney movies (all family trips). The only other movie I saw in theaters, out of town during that era? Star Wars Episode 1 the Phantom Menace.

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I was in junior high when Episode 1 (TPM) came out. My mom allowed me to take skip half of school on May 19th, 1999; so my first experience of seeing Star Wars on the big screen, the film franchise I grew up with, developed close family bonds with my sister and cousins, with friends from child to adulthood; came on that date when I was 12 years old. TPM holds a special place in my heart, just as all of Star Wars does, because I got to experience my most beloved films on the big screen – or at least an element of it – for the first time. Was it Vader vs Luke? The Falcon flying through the asteroid field? Luke’s Death Star run? No. It was Maul vs Kenobi and Qui-Gon, Pod Racing, Coruscant, and yes, Jar Jar Binks.

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Now, my words are not expression of saying that these movies are classics in the way that the original trilogy stands or that they are marvelous films from start to finish; but I’m also not saying that they are complete garbage or taint the universe we all love. Any, or, at least, most any fans of the franchise will say these films have good/enjoyable moments; but I stand as someone who enjoys the films from start to finish. I’m biased because I had the chance to see each of these films in theaters (multiple viewings of each; I worked at movie theater is 2005, the number of times I saw Revenge of the Sith is a little ridiculous) but I loved getting to sit in a theater and witness a piece of Star Wars for the very first time on the big screen. It’s an experience that has only happened 8 times to date (9 if you count the Clone Wars animated movie, but it’s not the same). Like I stated, I didn’t get those first three experiences like so many others, my first three came from a weaker trilogy – but a still enjoyable one, for someone who looks at these movies as inspirations, and relationship builders – not a religion.

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That’s where an argument comes from; people view Star Wars as a religion. Not a lawfully standing, legal religion (unless you count some people in the UK and Australia) but an emotional religion, something to believe in, to connect to, to be an inspiration in that person lift. And people treat Star Wars like a religion, in the same way that people treat real religions; they want to support parts, not the whole thing. Gay marriage? Wrong! Eating pork on Friday? Eh, it’s fine. Empire Strikes Back? Classic. Attack of the Clones? Piece of shit. I don’t count it. Star Wars is a history; you don’t discount part of a history, even a fictional one.

So where do I stand on the mistakes, the changes, inconsistencies, and the stories of the prequels? Should Lucas had directed them? Probably not. Were Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman the right choices? Maybe not. Is Jar Jar Binks and midichlorians the worst thing from Star Wars ever? Not really. Am I going to defend Jar Jar, saying he’s an enduring character? Not exactly. He plays the role he was developed for. He was made for the kids. Lucas didn’t have kids while making the original films (well, not during the first two at least). So he had no drive to create a joking, kid friendly character; TPM he had two kids to entertain, he understood the need to have some dumb kids humor, and Jar Jar was that answer. He also wanted to try some new stuff with TPM, so we get fully CGI characters in Star Wars, it happened, it still happens, get over it. Midichlorians?

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