The Star Wars Prequels have been a subject of division among a certain part of the Star Wars fandom especially with men who grew up with the Original Trilogy when it was first released. So let’s take a look at the situation regarding the Prequels. This category of “fans” who were ten years old when the first trilogy was released, grew up with Han, Leia and Luke and over the years these people elevated the Original trilogy to some kind of movies made for grown-ups, forgetting that themselves were kids when they first saw these movies. The movies were made for kids to quote George Lucas: “When I did [Star Wars], I said, ‘This is a film for 12-year-olds, and it’s a kids’ movie.’ But then somehow over the years, people have sort of driften away from that and tried to make it into something other than what it actually is … [Star Wars] is a Saturday afternoon serial for children. People forget what the movies actually are.”
The behavior from this particular “fans” lead to this backlash against the Prequels. Those people when they went to see The Phantom Menace in 1999, they expected to see a movie for adults which the movie wasn’t at all so they ended up being disappointed, the movie couldn’t be what they wanted because it never was. They totally forgot the age they had when they watched the Original Trilogy and then disappointed by TPM, they tried to find any excuses to hate on this new Star Wars movie. They accused it of being entirely made of CGI while it was a total lie. The entire Star Wars Prequels used more models and miniatures than the Original Trilogy. The Prequels used a lot of practical effects, it was a mix between practical and visual effects like in every Star Wars movie and yes the Prequels also used real actors, amazing actors. As a reminder, Lucas always used visual effects to serve the story, not the contrary. What is crazy is those haters are fine that another scifi movie uses a lot of CGI but they’re not okay if Star Wars does which actually proves that they don’t make any sense and they contradict themselves by saying that.
(You can click on the pictures to see them in real size)
The “It’s a kid movie”, the “It’s all CGI” were on the big arguments of the haters on why the Prequels “sucked” and there was also another huge element that was the Midi-Chlorians. According to the haters, this was an invention of the Prequels and it changed their entire childhood because they apparently couldn’t be jedi anymore. However, those haters never thought for a minute what the Midi-Chlorians really were. First of all, the Midi-Chlorians were created back in 1977 when Lucas made A New Hope to quote him “It is said that certain creatures are born with a higher awareness of the Force than humans. Their brains are different, they have more midi-chlorians in their cells.” (found in page 353 of The Making of Star Wars by J.W. Rinzler), just with this little quote it says everything there is to say. Furthermore, the Midi-Chlorians changed nothing, nothing at all to what was stated in ANH, it just added more information. Midi-Chlorians are “intelligent microscopic life forms that lived symbiotically inside the cells of all living things.” So here’s another lie of the haters that is being thrown right into the trash.
Those people of thirty/forty years old were predisposed to hate the Prequels because they always wanted it to be something it couldn’t be. They even criticized the look of these movies but then again they forgot that the story of the Prequels took place around 20 years before the Original Trilogy, it was a different era, different political settings, it couldn’t visually look the same, it had to be different. George Lucas’s Prequels and Original Trilogy had both an innovative visual imagination, he created a lot. And if those haters had really taken a look at the designs of Prequels ships, they would see some actually mirror the OT designs and it connects them and shows the evolution between the two but then again the haters never gave a chance to the Prequels, they decided they would hate it from the beginning.
The politics were also one of the points the haters attacked while in reality in TPM for example, there’s like 10 minutes of so-called politics for a movie that is more than 2 hour-long. The Prequels were not about politics like the haters liked to claim nor they were movies in which it was all about politics. There was political background in the Prequels to explain the state of the galaxy and how the Republic went to become the Empire but never the movies were 2-hour-long movies about politics, they just didn’t watch the same movies. They hated also Jar Jar because he was a funny clumsy character but Jar Jar was just the way C-3PO was for the Original Trilogy. I could go on with a lot of examples but I think these are the main points. It’s just exactly as I explained these thirty/forty year old men didn’t give a chance to like the Prequels, they didn’t want to like them, they wanted to hate them, they put the Originals on a pedestal saying these movies were for grown-ups and the new movies were for kids while Star Wars had always been made for children and themselves were kids when they first saw the Originals.
And so how do these people have to do anything with the Geek culture? It’s exactly those “fans” fueled geek culture with hate towards the Prequels, it’s those people dictated what to like and what not to like. The problem with geek culture is that people in there spend most of their time hating on something rather than focusing on what they love, they don’t listen to other’s opinions and state that their opinions is the rightful one and the only one that exists so discussion is not possible as they take the biggest space on the Internet trolling people who love things they hate. Then, there’s the RLM videos that were published after the Prequels were released. These videos really lead to this hate culture in the geek culture even more than the little bunch of manchildren haters. Their video of TPM was around 90 minute long, it was all about hating on the Prequels, the haters used it to spread their biased agenda and create their “Empire of terror and hate” within the geek culture. A majority of the haters probably never watched the videos because not a lot of people would watch a 90 minute-long video of someone talking how bad a movie is but that’s when the sheep culture appeared. With those forty years old haters spreading their hate, some people just acted as sheep and followed the hate movement because they were afraid to be rejected from the group because they had a different opinion so they just started to hate like the others told them and when being confronted on their hate, those people were not able to build an argument, they just referred to the RLM videos and the forty years old haters who told them to hate. The geek culture got corrupted and sank into the hate and sheep culture. And the haters owning some blogs and sites who call themselves journalists (but that’s not journalism at all) take every occasion to read between the lines (while there’s nothing to read) and spread more hate on the Prequels with their click-bait sites, they don’t care about information or news, they just care about getting more views and spreading lies. Kevin Smith has a good definition of the haters: “men and women who marched into the prequels demanding that Lucas recapture their lost Star Wars youth for them – that simple time in their lives when they had the excuse of prepubescence to explain why they were still virgins. With that much investment in make-believe, it’s little wonder they emerged as more twisted by the darkside than young Skywalker himself.”
The title of my post is “Love, hate and Geek Culture,” I have talked a lot about this hate but hate is just a minority that takes the biggest place on the Internet because trolls tend to take a lot of space on Internet and have a need to express their hate but at the end of the day they end up being just a minority that is more vocal than the majority. However, this majority who loves the Prequels starts to be more and more vocal nowadays on the Internet. Before really getting into that, I want to talk about what happened in the past two years with blogs and websites. This generation of kids who grew up with the Prequels are now going on the Internet and start being vocal. Some, in the past two years started writing articles in the defense of the Prequels. However, most of these articles weren’t in the defense of the Prequels at all, they were validating the haters’ claims by saying “oh yes that sucked and that too but, but there are some good aspects in these movies.” These people were clearly afraid to state what they were really thinking because they knew they would be attacked by the geek culture who had set up that Prequels were bad so instead these people tried to go in between hoping they wouldn’t be attacked. But that’s not the right thing to do, people who love the Prequels don’t have to hide from the haters, if they love the Prequels they shouldn’t be afraid to say they do, and they shouldn’t be afraid to write articles about the Prequels, on the contrary if they want to write articles about their loves of the Prequels, they totally should write!
This finally leads me to the love for the Prequels. We’ll start with a video showing the initial reaction of the fans after seeing The Phantom Menace in 1999.
In the reactions, we see a lot of love from the fans, there’s also a screening showing a review of the people who saw it with 10 loved it, 7 liked it, 2 hated it. 2 that’s the number of haters comparing to the love 17 (liked and loved) where this is clearly the majority. That was the initial reaction to TPM, the initial results were fans love it! It was all before the sheep culture. Then there is a tweet from Pablo Hidalgo (working at the Story Group of Lucasfilm) talking about the fans nowadays (this tweets comes after the release of the RLM videos and rise of the hate and geek culture, it comes after the initial reactions) (this is about the fans, I’ll talk about the general audience later):
This tweet proves lot of fans still love the Prequels.
So now let’s talk about the general audience, casual moviegoer. It’s these people who generate the high numbers on box office and the general audience does love the Prequels. A movie doesn’t do a HUGE performance at the box office if people don’t like it. If people don’t like it, it’s going to spread and not a lot of people would end up seeing a movie while if people love a movie, you’ll see that a lot of people will see the movie and the box office results will be huge. If we look at the box office results of the Prequels, they are indeed HUGE:
$1,027 billion for Episode I The Phantom Menace
$649,4 million for Episode II Attack of the Clones
$848,8 million for Episode III Revenge of the Sith
In comparison, the Original trilogy numbers:
$775.4 million for A New Hope
$538.4 million for The Empire Strikes Back
$572.6 million for Return of the Jedi
I know some haters would say that AOTC got a lower box office result than TPM and ROTS because it sucked, that would be their typical answer but they should look at the box office results of the OT before saying another lie. Indeed, the OT had a lower box office result for ESB than ANH, the same way AOTC had a lower box office result than TPM. The reason is simple, the first of a trilogy always do a bigger number at box office because it’s the first, it’s new so it draws more people than its sequels. Nevertheless, AOTC did a huge number at box office. Comparing the OT results with the PT results, the PT beats the OT.
So yes the Prequels are loved by the general audience and this statement from Lucasfilm is another proof of it:
I did this post to deal with the problem of hate towards the Prequels in the geek culture and also to prove that the haters were just this delusional minority, a group of sheep and that the fans who love the Prequels shouldn’t be afraid to talk about these movies because some trolls would insult them. If fans love the Prequels they should tweet about it, write about it. The majority of people, the general audience love the Prequels.