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Star Wars is one of the biggest franchises in film history, and is still a behemoth at the box office after so many years in theaters. The galaxy far, far away has enthralled generations of moviegoers, which form its absolutely massive fanbase. But because so much stock is put into George Lucas' space opera, the wrath of the fans can be intense.
Just ask Natalie Portman, who starred as Padme Amidala in the prequel trilogy. George Lucas' second run in the Star Wars franchise has been the subject of some criticism, who took umbrage with excessive green screens, as well as the script and some performances. Portman recently opened up about the backlash to the films, especially as it they were being shot and released.
It was hard. It was a bummer because it felt like people were so excited about new ones and then to have people feel disappointed. Also to be at an age that I didn’t really understand that’s kind of the nature of the beast. When something has that much anticipation it can almost only disappoint.
Natalie Portman was still a teenager when Star Wars: The Phantom Menace arrived in theaters in 1999. It was definitely a breakthrough role for the young actress, but she was also privy to the backlash of the fans. People just don't know how to treat Naboo royalty.
The prequel trilogy has become more widely accepted in the years following its conclusion, but things started off very rocky. The Phantom Menace was noticeably more kid friendly, and the addition of the clownish Jar Jar Binks didn't resonate well with the adult audience. And considering it was this demographic that made the original trio of films so massive, that approval was key.
The prequels seemed to improve as they went on, but there are some cringeworthy and often meme-d moments that consider to plague it. But with Disney continuing the franchise and producing subversive projects like The Last Jedi, the prequel has been getting more attention and love-- especially as the time before A New Hope is explored with standalone films.
In her same conversation with Empire, Natalie Portman addressed the love the prequels have gotten in more recent years, saying:
With the perspective of time, it’s been re-evaluated by a lot of people who actually really love them now. There’s a very avid group of people who think they’re the best ones now! I don’t have enough perspective to weigh in.
Natalie Portman may have played Padme through three movies, but she's always made it clear that she doesn't really follow up on the latest Star Wars news. She did manage to visit the set of The Last Jedi with her sons, so there are still some perks to being Queen.
It should be interesting to see how the prequel trilogy ends up factoring into future Star Wars projects. J.J. Arbams' The Rise of Skywalker will end the current trilogy and Skywalker Saga forever, and there are a few mysterious projects brewing at Lucasfilm. Will Rian Johnson's trilogy or D.B. Weiss and David Benioff's developing movies transport us back? We'll have to see.