Ever since the release of The Phantom Menace, audiences have considered the Star Wars prequels to be the perfect example of what NOT to do to a beloved franchise. The prequels suffered from poor direction, too much CGI and horrendously awful acting from most of the cast. And yet, they're starting to have a resurgence — not only in popularity, but how fans are now viewing them — which may continue with 2017's as-yet-untitled Episode 8.
Like it or not, there is tons of great stuff hiding beneath all that ridiculousness in the prequels. Much like how Rogue One connected the prequels to A New Hope in cool ways — such as extended cameos from Mon Mothma and Bail Organa — here's how Episode 8 might further enhance our prequel viewing pleasure.
1. Seeing Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan Kenobi Again
Let's get this out of the way right now: Ewan McGregor's performance as Obi-Wan was the heart and soul of the prequels. McGregor recorded snippets of dialogue for The Force Awakens, which may have just been an Easter egg — or it could potentially hint at him returning as a force ghost in future movies.
There's also the question driving everyone crazy currently: who are Rey's parents? Many fans would assume she's a Skywalker, but that just seems too easy. Obi-Wan has been vital to the saga this entire time, so it'd be perfect if Rey is actually a Kenobi.
Either way, with Rey returning Luke's lighsaber to him at the end of The Force Awakens. one can only assume that he'll take the role of master to teach Rey the ways of the Force. This should be a nice parallel to how Obi-Wan taught Anakin in the prequels, and how Qui-Gon taught Obi-Wan. As George Lucas famously said, these films "rhyme" — so with each new rhyme in the sequels, we'll appreciate the prequels a little bit more.
2. Kylo Ren Further Channeling Anakin
Anakin Skywalker committed so many atrocities throughout the galaxy, but somehow, all was forgiven when he saved Luke from Darth Sidious in Return of the Jedi. Redemption isn't why Kylo Ren admires his grandpa though — he's all about those atrocities.
Now, love was the reason why Anakin turned into Darth Vader at the end of Revenge of the Sith, and it's also why Darth Vader turned back into Anakin in Return of the Jedi. But as we saw from Han Solo's murder, love doesn't really work on Kylo Ren.
Will Kylo ever become Ben Solo again? If so, can anyone truly forgive him after killing Han? Or is he lost to the Dark Side forever? By mirroring and/or deviating from Anakin's journey in the prequels, the new sequels will retroactively give a new weight to Hayden Christensen's performance.
3. The Jedi Reforming
The prequels gave us an in-depth look at the Jedi Council and how they handled their organization. Luke Skywalker is now the last remaining Jedi, though Rey will soon learn their ways. (Luke himself was barely trained by Obi-Wan, and received the bulk of his tutelage from Yoda.)
Rumors are stating that Luke has been visiting Jedi temples to learn the ways of old. It will be fascinating to watch Luke teach Rey the ways of the Force. And here's the most exciting part: what if Luke has discovered new powers (like Qui-Gon Jinn did in The Phantom Menace), which will help aid them in their fight against Snoke?
Maybe Luke will acquire the ability to call on any Force ghost (like, a cameo from Ewan's Obi-Wan, Hayden's Anakin or even Yoda) he desires? The possibilities are limitless.
4. Attack Of The (Not) Clones
In the prequel trilogy, the Republic turned to clones to help fight off the Separatists, but The Force Awakens stressed that Stormtroopers are now unique individuals, not clones anymore. Could we see a thematic payoff to this?
Finn could help rally other Stormtroopers to the side of good. If Finn somehow manages to cause a civil war among their ranks — the opposite of the phalanx-like Stormtroopers in the prequels — then the First Order's army would be useless.
5. Supreme Leader Snoke's True Identity
The other big mystery, aside from Rey's parentage, is whether we've already seen (or heard about) Snoke in previous movies. The initial popular theory was that he's Darth Plagueis, whom Palpatine mentioned in Revenge of the Sith, but J.J. Abrams poured cold water on that possibility. Of course, he deceived fans about a villain's identity before, in the case of Star Trek Into Darkness, but he seems to regret that decision.
Still, it's possible — perhaps even likely — that Snoke is a character we've met before. And if he further connects the prequels to the sequels, then it would highly increase the rewatch value of Episodes 1-3.
The prequels may have not been as powerful in the Force as others, but they're still entertaining in their own right — and oddly becoming more so, as more Star Wars stories are told. Fans will be watching closely to see how the new trilogy will add to myths already created by what came before!
What answers do you think the prequels hold for Episode 8?