Why the Star Wars prequel trilogy was pretty nifty

Marcus Goh is a Singapore television scriptwriter. He’s also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. He Tweets/Instagrams at Optimarcus and writes at marcusgohmarcusgoh.com. The views expressed are his own.

Episodes 1 to 3 don’t get quite enough love. Many people revile them for not being able to match up to the epic stakes of Episodes 4 to 6, but it’s difficult to tell a story when everyone already knows the ending. The prequels benefit from better technology (and honestly, they look more futuristic than the original trilogy does), so here’s why we should all give the prequel trilogy a chance.

Well-choreographed lightsaber battles

Here’s a reminder of what lightsaber battles were like in the original trilogy.

And here’s how awesome the lightsaber battles became in the prequel trilogy.

It’s no contest, really. Even 10 years later, the lightsaber battles still hold up as spectacular feats of swordplay. So if you’re watching them for the action, then hey, the prequel trilogy is the way to go.

Yoda struts his stuff

We only really hear tales of Yoda’s prowess in the original trilogy, but we actually see him in action in the prequel trilogy. That’s when he’s really at his peak, rather than an inactive grandmaster dispensing pearls of wisdom. Showing is always better than telling — nobody has to tell us how awesome Yoda is in the prequel trilogy. He’s probably the strongest Force wielder, and is unmatched in lightsaber combat.

He’s not just a small green muppet, but actually walks around and actively interacts with the other characters in the prequel trilogy. And if you’ve forgotten his lightsaber skills… well, here’s a reminder.

Better technology

Coruscant. (Core77)

The prequel trilogy’s technology seems much more advanced, especially when it comes to communication devices. There’s even a Reddit thread dedicated to it. There’s an in-story reason for this though, since it’s a time of plenty in the prequels, but the original trilogy takes place during war time.

The ships also look much, much cleaner in the prequels for the same reason. While it may be more realistic to have dirty, gritty ships in the originals, it also looks far less appealing. It’s a fantasy world, after all, and we don’t really want to be reminded of the tough reality of washing cars (or any other vehicle, for that matter).

Bromance between Anakin and Obi-Wan

Anakin (Hayden Christensen) and Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor). (Comic Vine)

Arguably, the friendship between Anakin and Obi-Wan is more powerful, emotionally, than the friendship between Chewbacca and Han Solo. Obi-Wan’s friendship with Anakin is borne out of his master’s dying wish, so every time he looks at Anakin, he’s reminded of Qui-Gon Jinn. Obi-Wan’s reluctant battle with his brother at the end of “Revenge of the Sith” is a culmination not just of Anakin’s betrayal, but also of his failure to keep a dying man’s promise.

Han Solo and Chewbacca, on the other hand… well, one of them is limited to grunts. So it’s no contest there. In terms of emotion and true bromance, the prequels do this much, much better.

Mace Windu

Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson). (Giant Bomb)

Although he’s never ever mentioned in the original trilogy (then again, neither is Count Dooku), his name should have gone down in the history books as one of the greatest Jedi who ever lived. Even Yoda holds him in great esteem, and being played by Samuel L. Jackson helps, of course. He even has his own unique purple lightsaber!

The only person who could defeat him was the most powerful Sith Lord in the prequels, so he’s also unmatched in terms of power. If we transported him in time to the future, he might even have been able to take on Darth Vader (who’s missing some limbs, if you remember). Sadly, Darth Sidious got to him before that could have ever happened.

Palpatine actually plots in the prequels

Darth Sidious (Ian McDiarmid). (Giant Bomb)

So what’s Emperor Palpatine’s Sith name? Darth Sidious, as in “insidious,” which implies a sinister plotting from within. Since he’s already ruling the Empire in the original trilogy, there aren’t many insidious schemes he can plan, right? As with Yoda, all we have are just snippets and tales of how cunning he can be, some Force Lightning, and getting thrown down giant holes.

In the prequel trilogy though, we see just how he manages to rise to become the Emperor. He starts as a Senator and manipulates his way to the top, gaining an army of clones in the process and wiping out the Jedi as well. We know the fruit of his plotting, and his journey is one of the most intriguing aspects of the prequel trilogy.

Then again, we had Jar Jar Binks and that awful romance in the prequels

Jar Jar Binks (voiced by Ahmed Best). (Independent)

Of course, the prequels aren’t perfect. We had Jar Jar Binks, and way too much romance between Anakin and Padme (remember all those scenes where they were secretly meeting to snog each other). So it’s not like they got everything right either.

But as movies that were made after the original trilogy, they were definitely an improvement. So if you’re asking me (which nobody is), I prefer the prequel trilogy to the original trilogy.

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