I’ve said it once, and I’ve said it a thousand times. Rogue One is my favorite Star Wars movie. And guess what! I also don’t much like the Jedi or even the Skywalkers for that matter. So, with that said, you might think that I’m the last person who should be writing an article about the Star Wars prequels being better than the sequels. But think about that. Maybe I’m the best person to write this article, since I’m not beholden to any specific era of Star Wars. When it comes to the trilogies, I hold Star Wars: A New Hope to the same standard as Star Wars: The Force Awakens. They’re all apples to oranges, or rather, Anikins to Obi-Wans, to me.
That said, I do enjoy Star Wars, and sometimes even love it (Thanks, Disney+!). But it’s not like it’s my whole life or anything like that. I don’t rank the Star Wars movies or look upon Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back as the golden standard that every Star Wars movie has to live up to. Because at the end of the day, I view all the Star Wars movies as light popcorn fare, and that’s about it. But I have seen every single one of them, and after deep consideration, I’ve come to the conclusion that the Star Wars prequels are better than the sequels, and I have 5 reasons why.
The Prequels Are A Singular Vision
Now, let me just start this off by saying that I think the prequels are pretty lousy. So, I hope you didn’t come into this article thinking I was going to die on some Tatooine hill for the them or anything like that. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is kind of a mess. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones is a contender for the worst Star Wars movie ever, and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith… well, that one’s pretty good. I also think that if I were to judge any movie in both Star Wars trilogies, my favorite might be Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which is in the sequels, not the prequels.
But therein lies the problem. With the sequels, you can clearly, painfully, see that there are different visions at play. J.J. Abrams’ The Force Awakens is pretty much just a weaker version of A New Hope. Then, you have Rian Johnson’s deconstruction of Star Wars with the widely-hated The Last Jedi. And finally, you have that abomination The Rise of Skywalker, also by Abrams, which tried to retcon everything that happened in The Last Jedi, creating an underwhelming, total blah of a conclusion. But at least the prequels, bad as they are, tell one, complete narrative, and that’s because George Lucas was behind all of them. Maybe his vision was corny and even awful at times, but at least you don’t completely feel like you wasted your time by the end of it. If anything, you feel rewarded since Episode III is so good, while Episode IX is hot garbage.
The Prequels Don’t Rely On Nostalgia
You know one reason why I really don’t like the sequels? They lean too heavily on nostalgia. As soon as I saw Harrison Ford in that first trailer for The Force Awakens, I thought, wait. We’re sticking with those characters? Because while we did get some fresh faces in the sequels, the fact that we were still also getting narrative threads from Han, Luke, Leia, and even freaking Palpatine (WHY?) just reeked of pandering to the old fans. At least The Last Jedi had Luke Skywalker chucking his lightsaber over his shoulder and Kylo Ren saying, “Let the past die. Kill it if you have to.” The Last Jedi had some Midi-chlorians! (Midi-chlorians are balls, right?)
But the prequels don’t rely on nostalgia at all. Yes, we’re learning about the rise of Darth Vader, but the rest of the story is all new stuff. We’re not paying homage to the original trilogy. Instead, we have pod racing, new villains, and even an annoying new alien race called Gungans with its leading spokesperson, Jar Jar Binks. Say what you will about the prequels. At least those films felt fresh at the time.
The New Characters Introduced In The Prequels Are Better Than Rey, Poe, And Finn
I’m sorry, but Rey, Poe, and Finn suck. And they didn’t have to! The problem again goes back to The Rise of Skywalker. All the narrative threads set up in Episodes VII and VIII feel pointless by Episode IX. The story sputtered out and none of the characters had satisfying conclusions. Especially Finn. What was his point again?
But let’s talk about the prequels. Mace Windu? Dope. Qui-Gon Jinn? Dope. Padme Amidala… well, I mean, I didn’t dislike her, which is more I can say for Rey, Poe, and Finn. And the villains were the best! Count Dooku? General Grievous? Darth freaking Maul?! Are you kidding me? Every single one of them makes me ask, Snoke who?
The Star Wars Prequels Take More Risks Than The Sequels
Again, I can’t stress enough that The Last Jedi takes tons of risks! In fact, it’s definitely the riskiest Star Wars movie out of both trilogies. And that’s why I love it, and why most fans probably hate it. But The Rise of Skywalker is such a spineless movie that I can’t truly say that the sequels are risky, since it was such an obvious knee-jerk reaction to the fans’ vitriol for The Last Jedi.
The prequels on the other hand fully committed to their risks. What’s that you say? Anakin is a child and Padme is a teenager in one movie? Well, let’s put them in a relationship in the next movie like that’s totally not weird or anything. You said Anakin is a wuss who hates sand in one movie? Well, let’s have him killing kids in the next. Hell, as boring as Episode II is with its trade and economy, at least it commits to it, dammit! Interest levels be damned! And I can respect the prequels for that. What I can’t respect is when the powers that be kowtow to the fans. That’s some nerf herder nonsense.
The Prequels Helped Expand Into Animation, And It’s Really Good
And lastly, the prequels gave us the excellent Clone Wars cartoons. The prequels also expanded Star Wars animation in general. So, without the prequels, we likely wouldn’t have as much great Star Wars content like Rebels and even Resistance, which covers the world of the sequels.
And not only that, but we might not have Dave Filoni, either. He’s one of the Star Wars’ universe’s MVPs as he worked on the Clone Wars TV show, and also that famous Ahsoka Tano episode, The Jedi, on The Mandalorian. So, poo poo the prequels all you like. Without them, Star Wars wouldn’t have animation like it does today.
So, again, I genuinely believe that the prequels are better than the sequels. But what do you think? Sound off in the poll which trilogy you think is superior.