I get it, you don’t like the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Much like that five dollar sandwich you bought at the gas station the other week, the prequels are something we agree were a bad idea in hindsight. But despite all the hostility, some pretty cool things have actually come out of the trilogy, though not always from the movies themselves. So let’s take a look at them, shall we?
John Williams’ Score
If you start with the films themselves, one of the undisputed best things is John Williams’ fantastic score. It’s on a whole different level compared to everything else, and it’s the only piece on par with the original trilogy. From the iconic “Duel of the Fates” to the last twenty minutes of Revenge of the Sith, Williams weaves motifs from the two trilogies perfectly. In fact, listening to the soundtracks may be a suitable replacement for watching the films themselves if you plan on revisiting all of Star Wars before Episode VII.
It’s a pity the prequels don’t mesh with the originals as well as they do in this poster.
Darth Maul & General Grievous
The next step down on the list of quality? The villains. Darth Maul is cool in just about every possible way. The look, the lightsaber, the moves — it’s easy to like him. General Grievous is also a great concept: a Jedi-hunting alien/droid hybrid who collects lightsabers like scalps from those he has slain (though he sometimes comes across as an asthmatic after a 100m sprint). Despite some flaws, the villains in the prequels are miles above most of the dialogue and character motivations.
The Clone Wars
Looking outside the films themselves, it’s easy to see how the prequels made the extended universe explode, and one of its biggest entries is the Clone Wars. The Clone Wars intrigued every fan of the series since they were first mentioned in Episode IV, and they proved to be the main conflict of the trilogy. Cartoon Network’s The Clone Wars filled those gaps. There are two series, both of which are great, but the real standout is the micro-series by Genndy Tartakovsky.
Grievous was a far more menacing threat in the Clone Wars.
Most episodes were vignettes around 3-5 minutes in length, set in numerous parts of the galaxy, with an overarching plot featuring Obi-wan and Anakin. They were short, but they conveyed a sense of epic conflict that the films only ever hinted at. It took the sandbox Lucas created — he did still have a good visual sense with the prequels — and told interesting stories within it.
One of the prequel’s overlooked problems is that the worlds seem so far removed from the original trilogy. There’s a 20-year gap between Episodes III and IV, but audiences rarely got to see their aesthetics mixed together. It created a feeling of detachment.
Shattered Empire fixes the problem. It’s set shortly after Return of the Jedi and looks at a question most people had once Return‘s credits rolled: how does a simple senator from Naboo rise to Galactic Emperor? And what happens next? There’s a wonderful blending of the two trilogies that answers that, and more.
Shattered Empire revisits many key locations.
Naboo plays a key part in the one of the series’ plot lines. You can immediately recognize aspects like costumes, vehicles, and locations from the prequels, but at the same time, you’re seeing characters from the original trilogy interact with them. And it works. A few panels even echo shots from The Phantom Menace. It’s satisfying to see aspects from the two trilogies come together, even if they’re from some of the prequels’ less beloved places.
Jar Jar still thinks you’re cool, even if you’re not a fan.
The prequels exist, whether you like it or not. Instead of languishing on the negative, why not move on? There really were some good things to come out of the trilogy, and the saga is expanding more than anyone in 2005 could have imagined. For the first time since 1983, the Star Wars films will look forward, and you should too.
Article by contributor Ramez Kafrouni.