The Prequel Trilogy is a part of the official Star Wars canon and a subject quite controversial among the Star Wars fans. Some totally love it, some totally hate it and the haters are quite vocals, only knowing how to bash things but never talk about what they love. The fans who love the Prequels are a lot but I feel like they have not been vocal enough so today I will talk about why the Prequels are essential and they are a wonderful piece of art.
1. A new dimension to the overall story
The Original Trilogy though it had a message behind the pictures, stayed on a story point of view mainly on the fight between good and evil but the Prequels brought a new dimension. There was still the fight between good and evil but there was something else. The line between good and evil is blurred – the Republic which is supposedly the good side is controlled by Palpatine who is in fact the Lord of the Sith the jedi have been looking ford and he is the same man who is behind the Separatists. So both are controlled by the most evil man the Galaxy ever known. As Star Wars The Clone Wars showed us the Separatists are not so much different than the Republic – there was a senate, there were civilians who could live a decent life like in the Republic. Both sides appeared as free worlds but are both manipulated by one man. So Good and Evil was not that simple in the Prequel Trilogy and this was a very interesting aspect, it gave much more to think about the two sides. The Separatists thought the Republic is corrupted so they made a secession and the Republic wanted to appear as united. When we take a look at it, the Separatists were right, the Republic was corrupted but so they were. This dimension brought much more depth to the story.
2. The Politics
The political aspect was a big part of the Prequels, this aspect was not present in the Original Trilogy as it focused on the rebels wanting to free the Galaxy from the evil Empire. The clone wars was not just a fight between clones and droids, there was something behind, a reason and this reason was politics, it was an essential part of the war. Star Wars The Clone Wars, AOTC, ROTS all explored this political aspect showing us how tricky and how difficult the situation was and how politics was an essential part of the war. It really showed what was behind the curtain, another kind of action. It gave a much more realistic aspect to the story.
3. Brilliant acting and wonderful storytelling
There is no doubt in that, the casting of the Prequel Trilogy was a bunch of brilliant actors, everyone was brilliant. There are multiple examples showing how brilliant these actors are. The final talk between Anakin and Obi-Wan on Mustafar – Ewan McGregor delivered an heartbreaking performance and Hayden Christensen was thrilling, it was mind-blowing. Hayden Christensen really was the right choice for Anakin because he was able to show on screen this internal conflict Anakin had – torn between the light and dark side. We can pick up another example just for fun, in ROTS the scene between Anakin and Padmé when Anakin said “I know I shouldn’t …” but he goes on this path anyway. The chemistry between Hayden and Natalie Portman is strong and beautiful. This scene is one of the many scenes that showed it and it also showed like said earlier the conflict in Anakin that Hayden is able to transport on screen. On the story side, George Lucas was able to write a compelling, thrilling, action-packed, heartbreaking, emotional, powerful and complex story in which people could identify to the characters thanks to the writing and thanks to the actors who delivered powerful performances and made people believe in their characters.
4. The rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker
“The person you thought was the villain is really the victim.” – George Lucas
As George Lucas said the Star Wars movie were about the rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker and finally his redemption. The Prequel Trilogy brought us who Darth Vader was before being Darth Vader – he was Anakin Skywalker. TPM explored his childhood which lead to his rise, AOTC his rise to the beginning of his dark side path and ROTS his fall. The Clone Wars continued his rise and fall throughout the series and the movie. This is an important part of this trilogy – the story of Anakin. We really lived on screen his torments, his doubts, his moment of joy, his dark moments. It was a deep character and a complex one, his story is much like a tragedy. He was torn between good and evil pretty much all the time. In AOTC when he exterminated the Tusken camp on Tatooine after the death of his mother was a dark moment, very dark and when he told it to Padmé, we saw the torment in him. His love story with Padmé was a great love story and a special one, not like usual love story. It was a forbidden love, Anakin as a jedi was not allowed to form attachment but did and went against the Council rules and married Padmé and this love was kept in secret and because it was kept secret it destroyed Anakin little by little and also because of his attachment and lust for power he lost the one he loved exactly because he feared to lose her. There was also beauty in their love of course, in AOTC the scenes on Naboo showed the beauty in it and other scenes of AOTC, and it was wonderful. Padmé served both as someone who pulled him on the good side but also on the bad side because he let Chancellor Palpatine manipulate him.
5. The clone wars
The clone wars was first mentioned in the Original Trilogy in ANH with Obi-Wan Kenobi and the Prequels brought us the clone wars both with AOTC and ROTS but also The Clone Wars series and movie. So we learned what was this war and it was truly action-packed! The war opened on Geonosis with one of the most epic battles of the saga. This was the first time we saw more than 200 jedi fighting side by side against the droid army. We discovered who were the clones and the origins of Boba Fett.
6. The heyday and fall of the jedi
In the Original Trilogy the jedi order has disappeared with only a tiny tiny number of jedi left alive whereas the Prequels was the time the Jedi order still existed and had its shining Jedi Temple on Coruscant. The Prequels did not only show us the heyday of the jedi but also its fall with ROTS. We finally learned how this order was destroyed by Order 66, the army of the Republic betraying its jedi generals, one of the great heartbreaking moments of the saga.
Star Wars is not just the Original Trilogy, it is also the Prequels as George Lucas said “It’s meant to be seen I through VI.” It is ONE story and one of the best story ever told in the history.