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(Credit: Lucas Film)

Film

Why the 'Star Wars' prequels are better than the sequels

@Russellisation

Star Wars creator George Lucas has never concealed any secrets as to the origins of his spectacular science fiction universe. Though the concept is indeed original, it is also imbued with tributes to the history of space operas and fantasy cinema, with the bombastic fun of Flash Gordon, the charm of The Adventures of Robin Hood and the romance of Casablanca, each feeding into this lovingly made patchwork of cinema. 

Melodramatic, vibrant and frenetic, each of the films that followed the wild success of Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977 were instilled with these same values, explaining the continued success of the franchise into the 21st century. Even though the prequel trilogy that sparked to life in 1999 was considered inferior to the original films, it retained this consistent tone, something that the sequel trilogy of the 2010s detrimentally forgot. 

Created as if a transparent commercial exercise by the biggest movie studio in Hollywood, Disney’s sequel trilogy, that began with The Force Awakens in 2015, was the product of several suited board members, preparing the films so that they would fall in line with the modern success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Uninspired, unloved and painfully mundane, each of these films fail to grasp the true tone and romance of the original films. 

Even the prequel trilogy, which was long considered a cinematic failure, has gained great support in recent years in light of the shortcomings of Disney, with fans realising flocking back to the originality and fun of George Lucas’ singular vision. 

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An attempt at Shakespearian tragedy that falls charmingly short, George Lucas’ prequel trilogy is today enjoyed with a slice of irony, with the fandom of the films having reached such a point whereby internet culture has inherited the series as its own, birthing such online joys as the Reddit community ‘Prequel Memes’. Whilst such sites and conversations often mock the bizarre dialogue of Lucas’ films, they also demonstrate the excitement and frenetic joy that pervades the prequel films, recalling the vibrancy of the original films. 

Without relying on nostalgia, these three films, The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith boldly attempted to reinvent the series for the 21st century introducing new worlds, concepts and a range of brand new characters. Boasting a roster of new heroes and villains including Mace Windu, Count Dooku and Darth Maul among many others, such characters overshadow the pathetic likes of Rey, Finn and Poe who occupy the sequel trilogy and who have already been forgotten by franchise fans. 

Dark and authentic, melodramatic and joyous, the prequel films revel in their bombastic identity whilst the sequel films feel seemingly ashamed, purporting to offer a higher standard of narrative storytelling, only to fall embarrassingly short. 

Disney realises its shortcomings too, crawling back to the prequel trilogy in a desperate plea to retain fan interest in the Star Wars shlock they’re dishing out on Disney+. There’s no coincidence that the most viral moments from the Disney era of the franchise each originate from the prequel trilogy, from the appearance of Darth Maul in Solo: A Star Wars Story to the upcoming popularity of the Obi-Wan Kenobi TV series that Disney hopes will save its dying sci-fi property. 

Gaining considerable internet hype upon the release of the new TV series, Obi-Wan Kenobi feeds not off the nostalgia for the original Star Wars films but the nostalgia for the prequels, demonstrating their dominance over the uninspired sequel films. With an epic soundtrack, quality characters and brand new original concepts, Disney are going back to the groundwork laid by the prequels and the animated series which it sparked, leaving their own unloved concepts and characters to be embarrassingly shoved to the side in the hopes they are quickly forgotten.

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