Letting in the Force again and the trouble with prequels

I have to admit that I was once a great Star Wars fan and that at one point in my life, there had been no (Official) Star Wars material released that I had not watched (or read in the case of the Star Wars Expanded Universe). With so many things in life, a person gets busy and you move on, many times justified in the belief that you have outgrown those interests. I found that my life moved on and away from Star Wars precisely when the Star Wars prequels were released. The first movie was unmitigated disaster and that carried through to the rest of the trilogy.

My problems with the prequels are:

  • Anakin was a cardboard template of a good character and the shoddy character development carried right through from the first movie right up until the end of Episode 3. His ultimate descent to the Dark Side was almost pushed through to the last 30 minutes of the Episode 3. The prequels were meant to show us how a great or just man was forced over to the Dark Side with the Clone Wars as the backdrop. But how the character development was worked into the story, the character development should have been the subplot with the Clone Wars being more important. To be honest, the Clone Wars probably had way more meat on the bone and for me were way more interesting.
  • The first movie should not have existed. The story should have started with Anakin as a padawan and the Jedi involvement with the Clone Wars. In fact, it might have been more interesting with the Clone Wars starting as the cliffhanger at the end of the first movie That way, rather than Anakin snapping at the end of Revenge of the Sith, there can be a definite more gradual descent toward that point where he murders Jedi toddlers.
  • It would have also been far more satisfying (to me at least) if Anakin had been a “run-of-the mill” Jedi without all of the prophecy hokum about bringing balance to the Force. That way it would have been far more effective in showing that anyone can turn to the Dark Side, you just need the right circumstances pushing him there. It would also be great to say that even those men and women who start small can ultimately have great impacts on the world around them without someone foreseeing their arrivals thousands of years before. That way the Jedi council also don’t look like complete idiots… if there are only 2 Sith EVER, what other way would the “Chosen One” have of bringing balance to the Force other than decimating the Jedi until there are also only 2?
  • Everything was just so gosh darn shiny. What separated Star Wars from other science fiction was that in the original trilogy, the world looked lived in. It made everything seem far more genuine that all of those shiny ships which look as though they have all just rolled off the production line.
  • It all lined up so nicely with the original trilogy. Oh look, Anakin also had his right hand chopped off by being impulsive in the second movie of the trilogy. The only thing missing was Count Dooku wheezing “Annie, I am your father… search your feelings, know it to be true.”

Besides all of that, the prequels were all set just before the events of the original trilogy which meant that everyone who watches those movies after they watched the original trilogy would know exactly what the final outcome would be. SPOILER… Anakin becomes Darth Vader, who didn’t see that coming? That dude in the robe, Palpatine, is only going to get his come-uppance three movies later (or thirty years previously). Obi-Wan while an awesome character ultimately makes himself smaller and goes into hiding to protect Luke. The greater part of the Clone Wars were packaged into a cartoon series, it might have been more interesting if they had got more of the focus of the original trilogy with Anakin Skywalker and his evolution into Darth Vader being a sub-plot.

The thing that has finally got me excited for the new movies is that it’s in the future after the original trilogy and unless you have been involved with the writing of the new movies and avoid spoilers, you have no idea where the movies are going to be going when the opening ticker starts for Episode 7. You do not know what is going to happen with any of the characters (although I am pretty sure that none of them are going to be Game of Thrones’d). It’s going to be like the first time that you sat down to watch Star Wars in the sense of the great unknown.