While digging around on Friday for Star Wars material on my computer I found this ancient blog I wrote in 2010 about the Star Wars prequels. Before I knew it, I found myself re-reading it, editing it and now I’m re-publishing it here, all because I still stand by everything I said back then. So, here it is. Enjoy!
To preface this post, I don’t hate the Star Wars Prequels. They’re entertaining, light popcorn fun, but they DO NOT hold up to the classic originals. So, in this post I’m going to examine some things that I think would have made the Star Wars prequels go from “meh.” to “yeah!” Here we go:
#1: Hire a new writer/ director/ producer
Let’s face it, in the Executive Producer role George Lucas is usually a genius. He knows how to get money for his films and how to make money with them, securing 100’s of millions of dollars for his film’s budgets and even more moolah through merchandizing deals with everyone from Toys R Us to Pizza Hut. I don’t deny that he should have stayed in the role of grand overseer of the franchise, but the more creative positions should have been handed to someone else. I’m not sure who, but someone else. George can come up with decent storylines and character arcs that other writers can then take and mold into something amazing ala what Lawrence Kasdan did with Empire and Raiders of the Lost Ark. George however, is not that great of a writer. His dialogue is shoddy, (he chalks it up to an attempt at creating films reminiscent of old space serials) his characters are poorly developed and his plotlines need some major reworking for plot holes (Episode 1) as well as pacing issues (Episode 2). George should also not be allowed to direct, because he stinks at it, choosing to focus on special effects and character design over acting and story. He also just doesn’t have the same energy he had in the late 70’s. He should have let someone else do it. And for Pete’s sake, fire Rick McCallum. He’s a fat ass money-grubbing dick hole and I don’t like him.
#2: Less CGI please.
George Lucas all of a sudden developed some kind of fascination with CGIing everything! In fact, thanks to him, the term CGI is now a verb as well as a noun. I can understand CGI for some things that can’t be achieved with modern technology using miniatures, make-up, matte paintings, etc., but CGIing Yoda was a huge no-no, especially when it was Frank Oz’s puppet-work that made the character. Also whole planets and sets were CGIed when they didn’t need to be and hell, even the Clone Trooper’s suits. The fucking Clone Trooper’s suits! Why? Was it that hard to just make some suits, guys? Really? Let’s face it, whenever you don’t have to CGI something, then don’t do it. Real almost always looks better.
#3: Make the Universe bigger, not smaller.
Boba Fett, C-3P0, R2-D2, Chewbacca; what do all of these characters have in common? The fact that none of them needed to be in the prequels. We didn’t need to see C-3P0 being built by Anakin. We didn’t need to see Boba Fett hangin’ out with his Dad. We didn’t need to see Yoda hitchin’ a ride on Chewie’s back. I’m pretty sure when people saw the original Star Wars movies they weren’t like, “You know what would be sweet? If Boba Fett was a 10 year old with Daddy issues! Hell yes!” No one ever said that, except George Lucas for some reason. We also didn’t need to see Tatooine. How about introducing Anakin from a different planet and maybe have Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru be a couple that he knew from his home world that went to the outer reaches of Tatooine to AVOID Darth Vader’s grasp. Why would they send young Luke to Darth Vader’s home world? Yeah, because he’s never going to visit it or put surveillance on it or take control of it for the Empire. Surely he doesn’t care about his home world at all! I would much rather have seen new planets, new characters, new bad-asses to exist alongside Boba Fett and Han Solo. Instead we get the same characters and worlds recycled. I guess George Lucas is just getting lazy and you know what familiarity breeds? Angry fanboys. Now granted, there are some characters from the originals that have to make a repeat appearance here. They would be Anakin/ Darth Vader, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Palpatine/ Darth Sidious. You can’t tell the prequel story without them, but some more new faces would have been nice as well. Although Mace Windu was a total bad-ass, I’ll give them that.
#4: Less is more.
In the original trilogy we had three planets in each movie, count ’em: A New Hope had Tatooine, the Death Star (technically not a planet, but still) and Yavin 4; in Empire we had Hoth, Dagobah and Cloud City; and in Return of the Jedi we had Tatooine, Death Star II (you can already see Lucas’s creativity starting to wane) and Endor. By the time we got to Episode III there was like 18 planets! Planetary overload! I never knew where the hell I was in that movie. I think part of it was on an asteroid or something. They should have kept the formula and kept the movies to 3 planets a piece, maybe 5 max. There are also quite a few shots where there’s so much happening on screen that it’s confusing more than aesthetically pleasing. When did the Star Wars Universe get so crowded? It’s a whole Universe! There’s a lot of space. Also there was so much going on by the time we got to the third movie, that again, I was just confused. Entertained, but confused. This will bring me to my fifth point…
#5: Cut to the chase.
George wastes so much time in the first two movies that ALL the important stuff is in the third one. Think about how much more entertaining the movies would have been if the Clone Wars started at the end of the first movie instead of the second one. Also how much better would they have been if Anakin was older than 10 in the first movie and his relationship with Padme was allowed to develop a little bit more in the first film. Instead, they leave all that for the second one. Honestly, if you think about it, when he appears as a force ghost at the end of Return of the Jedi, Anakin is like 50. That means he’d be about 20-25 when the adventure starts, thus making his attraction to Padme a little less Rushmore-esque. Also, what if Luke and Leia are born at the end of the second movie, though Padme isn’t killed until the end of the third one? This would raise a lot more tension in the third film as Padme attempts to hide the children (possibly with Obi-Wan’s help) and it would also make the “Do you remember your mother?” scene from Jedi make a lot more sense. Also Anakin’s seduction to the dark side could have happened more slowly over the course of all three films, instead of being relegated almost entirely to the third one. If things happened faster they could have been spread out better and the films would have been better. Period.
#6: Don’t wait until the second act to introduce your hero.
This is a short point and I was going to include it in the last point, but I figured it deserved its own. Episode 1 would have been so much better if we’re introduced to Anakin almost immediately. We’d be allowed to get to know his character, to empathize with his plot, to understand him and really walk in his shoes. Then when the other heroes show up and take him away on the adventure of a lifetime, we’d already care enough about the hero that we want to see him win, therefore making his fall from grace even more tragic. Instead we barely get to know Anakin and when we do he’s whiny and annoying. Sure, Luke was a little whiny too, but at least we cared about Luke. What if we cared about Anakin just as much? We’d look at Vader completely differently. Instead I was actually kind of glad when he got owned at the end of Ep. III… because he was a douche bag.
#7: Stop explaining everything!
I don’t need to know that there’s a female version of Yoda. I don’t need to know what Boba Fett looked like under the mask. I don’t need to know that the force is controlled by some kind of biological beings called Midichlorians that don’t even exist! This pissed me off most of all! Why take something as mythical and powerful as The Force and explain it with science that isn’t even real? Maybe it was a move to please atheists who didn’t like the more religious aspects of the force. Well first off, fuck atheists! And secondly, even they don’t want The Force to be controlled by fake science. The shit in Weird Science made more sense than this. What made the Star Wars universe so fascinating was what you didn’t see, what was never explained. Boba Fett was cool because you never saw what he looked like under the mask. The Force was cool because you never knew how it worked. It just worked. Not everything needs to be explained.
#8: Make Jar Jar a little less insulting.
It was inevitable that I would talk about Jar Jar here. First off, I don’t hate Jar Jar. In fact Jar Jar was the character who should have replaced R2 and 3P0, the neutral party through whose eyes we see the entire story, even though they don’t belong in it. If anything, he should have been developed a little better, but that’s the thing, they should have DEVELOPED Jar Jar. Instead he was used for cheap poopoo jokes and it makes the whole thing cheaper for it. I just wish he would have been a little less goofy, still goofy, but not as insulting to the audience’s intelligence.
#9: Too much politics!
When have politics ever been entertaining? Never, that’s when! There is so much pointless politics here. It’s mindboggling! Sure, politics lead to war and everyone wanted to see what the senate actually looked like, but jeez, cut back on the trade agreement-this and honourable delegate-that. Show us a little bit of politics to get the point across, but these movies were a political overload, another sign of Lucas losing his energy in his old age. I think he attended one too many town council meetings.
#10: wait a minute. Isn’t this supposed to be BEFORE the originals?
Then why the hell does it look like the technology is further along? It should actually look like it happens before the originals, with technology behind what it was in the new ones. Another point here is all the plot holes in the prequels that George fixed by changing the old ones instead of the new ones! The prequels should coincide with the original mythos, not the other way around. Things should be even less advanced here. Now granted, things that look run down in the OT would be brand new in the PT. That’s OK, but the computers and ships and guns and everything else is further along now. That just doesn’t make any sense, I’m sorry.
So that’s about it, follow these 10 simple steps and the prequels would have simmered perfectly into a delicious dish that everyone could have enjoyed instead of the mildly entertaining, forgettable films they ended up being. Like I said earlier, I don’t really hate the Star Wars Prequels. I just think they could have been so much better and these are my top ten reasons of why the Star Wars Prequels should have kicked the audience’s ass, but didn’t. I hope you enjoyed them. And maybe next time we can hope that George Lucas will be thinking of the audience more than his pocket book. Midichlorians? Really? REALLY!?