We grew up with the original Star Wars trilogy, a world so wonderfully drawn and fascinatingly coloured that it left us desperate for more. And then George Lucas decided to give us what we wanted, and we hated it.
But the fact that the prequels were so crushingly disappointing actually isn’t the worst thing about them. Their greatest crime is that they actively changed and degraded some of the best things about the original films.
We’ve picked out the prequel screw-ups that would have made us love the originals less if we hadn’t written these later films off as non-canon, and therefore utterly ignorable.
Let’s start with the midi-chlorians, because of all of the ludicrous nonsense that good ol’ George included in the prequels, the idea that the Force is actually generated by inter-connected microscopic creatures bemused fans most of all.
Given that we were perfectly okay with Obi-Wan Kenobi’s mystical explanation of the Force in the original Star Wars, it’s hard to understand why Lucas needed to add any more to the fiction. And when what he added essentially turned Jedis into yoga fanatics with parasites, we really wish he hadn’t bothered.
Jedis being *that* powerful
In the original trilogy, Han Solo has clearly never encountered any Jedis – something that becomes pretty unlikely given that in the prequels they’re essentially superpowered heroes responsible for peace, with a huge presence on the capital Coruscant, and the ability to single-handedly destroy whole armies. Add to that the fact that Han’s best friend fought alongside them, and we’re not at all sure that Lucas thought this through.
The Jedis of the sequels were far more likely to have flown under the radar. Darth Vader was powerful and had a super-cool weapon, and Obi Wan had a few neat tricks – but neither of them gave any real indication of being the supermen of the prequels.
Lucas has said that the old knights of the originals were not Jedis in their pomp, being either old (like Kenobi) or mainly robot (like Vader). But given that Count Dooku was old and General Grievous was mainly robot, it’s hard to credit. And that means that the previously cool duel between Obi Wan and Vader on the Death Star becomes a bit embarrassing.
Yoda using a lightsaber
There was a part of us that thrilled at seeing Yoda with a lightsaber – but a far bigger part that recoiled at the master of peace resorting to a weapon and whirling like a dervish.
That we met Yoda as a decrepit, small, seemingly feeble creature who could lift a spaceship out of a marsh with his mind made him immediately awesome. That he would need a lightsaber at all in the prequels robs him of some of that dignity.
Boba Fett’s backstory
Boba Fett is one of the most badass villains ever to cameo in a movie world. The bounty hunter’s fleeting appearance was pivotal to the story, and alluded to an amazingly wide universe of incredible characters. He was the flip-side of Han Solo and he stole our hearts, even though he didn’t appear to have one of his own.
And then we had to go and get his backstory as the clone of a man who was cloned to form the clones that were the first stormtroopers and WTH George?!
R2 D2 can fly, is clearly being a dick
Another character that gets filtered through a whole new light is deserved fan favourite R2-D2. C-3PO at least gets the pass of having had his memories wiped, but R2-D2’s actions suggest he does know exactly what’s going on AND THEN CHOOSES NOT TO TELL ANYONE.
Does he help the Rebels with his in-depth knowledge of his former master’s flying? No. Does he tell Luke that Vader is his father? No.
Does he reveal that he can actually frickin’ fly when he’s doing the bare minimum to help his ‘friends’ out of scrapes in the entire original trilogy?
Wwell done prequels, you’ve reframed R2 as an intergalactic asshat.
Obi Wan’s memory
So not only has Obi-Wan Kenobi’s time ‘hiding’ on Tatooine clearly not worked wonders for Old Ben’s looks, but it’s clearly addled his brain as well. We try to remember Obi-Wan as a wise old sage and guide for Luke, but actually he’s either a massive liar or he’s gone a bit, well, off the boil.
He doesn’t remember R2 and C-3PO, because why would you remember the droid your padawan built before he went evil, or the astromech he flew hundreds of missions alongside? He doesn’t remember that Anakin definitely didn’t give him his lightsaber for Luke, or that Luke has a twin sister who probably has plenty of Force strength as well. He doesn’t remember that Darth is not Vader’s name but his honorific.
He also doesn’t remember that hiding out IN HIS JEDI ROBES and concealing the most important baby on the planet WITH HIS UNCLE are terrible, terrible plans. Come on, Obi-Wan, get a grip.
He’s not the only one with a case of forgetfulness either. Han’s best friend Chewie could probably have mentioned that he knew exactly how powerful Yoda was…
If there’s a backstory that Lucas could not afford to mess up, it’s Vader’s. It’s the core of the prequels, and it was clear that the films needed to establish a genuine hero whose fall from grace was the shocking moment that defined the new generation of films.
And we got a midi-chlorian filled brat who turned into a sand-hating brat who somehow earned the love of a beautiful woman and fell for the worst brainwashing since a long time ago.
Oh Vader – perhaps we’d have been better off not knowing.
This amazing universe got so much smaller
Star Wars’ universe is so incredible – a massive place full of intrigue and conflict and complications. However, the original trilogy played out over a handful of key places, some remote and some central, and through a handful of protagonists. And yet we almost felt that there were a million stories being played out across this universe.
Then, 30 years before, the key events in this massive world played out on the same handful of planets, with pretty much the same people and it shrank our universe to a depressingly small place.
The robots we loved had all been built or owned by people we’d already known, the distant outposts were clearly not all that distant, and the ever-present Force that could touch anyone was actually some bugs that tended to cluster in the same old families.
Such a shame.