It's ironic that a lifelong Star Trek fan is writing his first blog about of all things Star Wars. Star Trek not Star Wars is my first love. Star Trek has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. In fact it's only because of all the recent hype surrounding The Force Awakens that I even re-examined George Lucas's creation. I first experienced Star Wars way back in 1977. As a huge fan of sci-fi It had very little effect on me. Sure I remember being enamored with the grandiose special effects, the cool space ships and the final battle scene where Luke Skywalker destroys the death star. That was cool.
But nothing could compete with Trek. I spent most of my youth watching Kirk, Spock and Bones galavanting around the universe and going boldly where no man had gone before. For some reason Star Wars did not resonate with me. So much so that I didn't even get around to watching the original sequels till the early 90's. After the harsh reaction by many hard core fans toward the prequel trilogy. I didn't even bother to watch those films either. I figured if the most die hard fans disapproved why should I bother.
The People VS George Lucas
Which brings me to the point of the matter. There is a large faction of fans that hate the prequels and Lucas for that matter as the trailer above speaks to. Once I got around to watching them, I loved the prequels, well Jar Jar Binks aside, alright, alright he was annoying. The prequels are not perfect but not much in life is. Writing prequels is especially difficult when you stop to consider in this case we knew the fate of most involved. I started my re-education of the Star Wars universe by watching all six episodes in order.
At the conclusion of episode six ( Return of the Jedi) I was hooked on the franchise. I felt Lucas did a good job of telling the story of how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader.
The Prequels are Relevant I tell you!
Here are my reasons why.
The original trilogy did not offer an opportunity to explore the many layers of the Jedi history. The prequels showed us the rich history of the Jedi and satisfied my curiosity about their back story in a big way. The prequels also gave us a chance to get to see Yoda and Obi Wan's history as well. Which I for one thought Lucas handled well.
The Dark Side of the Force is Strong as well.
I walked away from the original trilogy without a real clear understanding of the force. Why some chose the darkside vs the good. I understood it to be good vs evil but that was it. The prequel explained that some chose to explore the teachings of the Sith, the dark side. Through Senator Palpatine (Darth Sidious) we witnessed some of the interesting backstory of the Sith.
Politics, Politics, Politics.
The political machinations of the Republic and the Jedi council offered much richness to the prequels and the Star Wars universe as a whole. Senator Palpatine was a master politician, with a mastery of Machiavellian tactics. He reminded me of some real life politicians, which again offered a new wrinkle that the original trilogy didn't.
Darth Vader 101
Darth Vader is one of, if not the most iconic villains of all time. The prequels offered a chance to humanize Darth Vader. Lucas did a great job of detailing Anakins journey to the dark side. I liked the fact that we discovered that Anakin (Darth) was not born totally evil, he needed to be nudged by the evil Sith Lord. I fully understand that Hayden Christensens portrayal angered some because he came off as too whiny. That aside the storytelling aspects of the Anakin character was handled well by Lucas.
A Monumental Challenge
It's not often storytellers are faced with the task of crafting the stories of characters that we know how they would end up. Let me make my point by using Star Trek. I've often wondered how cool it would be to create a series based on Captain Christopher Pike. For those that may not know, Pike was the Kirks predecessor as captain of the Enterprise. Pikes fate was well chronicled in the TOS episodes the Menagerie part one and two. We know that Pike was crippled by an accident and subsequently kidnapped by Mr. Spock. He was then taken to the planet Talos where he was be given the illusion of health and lived happily ever after.
I think knowing a characters fate can take away some of the enjoyment of the movie watching experience. It also boxes the storyteller in a corner, kind of like putting together a difficult puzzle. I remind you that JJ Abrams and team avoided that difficulty by placing the rebooted Star Treks in an alternative universe, how convenient. With all that being said, the Star Wars prequels added much to the Star Wars universe. Lucas kept us entertained throughout the trilogy with suspense, plot twist and delivered it in a package that fit nicely with episodes four, five and six. For me they will also enhance my enjoyment of episode seven.