I feel bad. Here I go, writing an article about how I think the Star Wars movie prequels are better than the sequels, thinking I would get a 50/50 split from the poll I left at the bottom of the article, only to find that (at the time of this writing) 91% agree with me. I mean, damn. Doesn’t anybody like the sequels?
It got me to thinking about reasons why I actually do think the sequels are pretty good. Now, if I was in the Mos Eisley cantina, and Han Solo, that brutal murderer, had his legs crossed up on a table and a gun pointed at me saying, “Do you think the sequels, or the prequels are better?” I would pick the prequels in a heartbeat. That being said, I actually admire the Star Wars sequels quite a bit, and I have five things that I think the sequels did much better than the prequels.
The Force Awakens Got People Excited About Star Wars Again In A Way That The Prequels Didn’t
I’m an old man. Not old enough to have seen any of the original trilogy in the theater, (Return of the Jedi came out the year I was born), but old enough to remember when both Star Wars Episode I and Episode VII came out for the first time. And let me tell you. While there was a lot of fanfare when Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace came out, the discussion quickly turned sour. Instead of podracing and Darth Maul, the conversation quickly turned to Jar Jar Binks and the creepy relationship that a kid Anakin had with a then-18-year-old Natalie Portman.
But plenty of people LOVED Episode VII. Loved, loved, loved it! People were calling it a return to form. And the only complaint I really heard about it at the time was that it was too much of a retread of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. But a lot of people LIKED that about the movie. They felt really burned by the prequels and were happy to just get something that actually felt like Star Wars again. Seriously, people couldn’t wait for the next movie to come out. And then…
The Last Jedi Is The Boldest Star Wars Movie Whether You Liked It Or Not
And then, The Last Jedi happened. Oh, man. I remember this, too. The backlash was swift and immediate, which was really strange to me because I remember walking out of the theater thinking it was really good. And critics seemed to really like it, too. But man, oh, man. The fans went off on this one, criticizing everything from purple hair to Princess Leia flying in space.
And look, I get it, okay? The Last Jedi is SUPER divisive. Fans had been waiting literally decades to see Mark Hamill return as Luke Skywalker, and what they got was a grumpy old man who chucks his own lightsaber over his shoulder and almost murders Kylo Ren. The narrative threads set forth in The Force Awakens were completely defenestrated. And for some reason, Finn and a new character named Rose Tico went to a casino. I don’t even remember why they went. They just did. And yet… I really liked it? Maybe it’s because it felt so different. Star Wars usually has the tendency to feel same-y to me. But The Last Jedi was such an F-U to some fans' expectations that I couldn’t help but be impressed. Love it or hate it, The Last Jedi definitely made people FEEL something. And any movie that does that gets an A+ in my book.
The Sequels Made A Timeline For Stories After Return Of The Jedi, Paving The Way For The Mandalorian
This can’t be stated enough, but without the sequels, we likely wouldn’t have had a timeline to fit in the greatness that is The Mandalorian. Nor would we have the wiggle room for all the upcoming Star Wars movies and TV shows slated on the horizon.
Sure, we got some cool cartoons with the Star Wars prequels, but by placing events before the original trilogy, it was kind of limiting. Like, you could only go so far without butting into Episode IV. Whereas, having a timeline after the original trilogy just opened up so much more space. Pun not intended. So, without the sequels, we likely wouldn’t have that.
The Sequels Included Fan Favorites Like Luke, Han, And Leia. Again, Whether You Liked It Or Not
OK, so I kind of hate this, but I know a lot of Star Wars fans really wanted to know what happened to Luke, Han, and Leia (and I guess Lando Calrissian) following the events of the original trilogy, and the sequels gave fans that story. Now, most fans weren’t happy with what they got with Luke and Leia (especially with Carrie Fisher’s untimely demise). But this is a continuation of the story that a lot of the fans wanted to see, and the sequels gave us that story, while the prequels didn't.
Now, this is actually one of the biggest detriments to the sequels if you ask me. The old characters took away from the importance of the new characters. But I’m not like, a mega Star Wars fan or anything like that. I don’t go ka ka cuckoo when Luke Skywalker appears on The Mandalorian. Like, I just don’t care. Those characters were great for the old trilogy, but I wanted a new, fresh cast. And Rey, Poe, and Finn weren’t cutting it. But…
Kylo Ren Had A Complete Story Arc Through All Three Movies, While The Villains In The Prequels Didn’t Stick Around For Too Long
I hated everything about The Rise Of Skywalker, okay? It was terrible and makes all the great stuff that was in The Last Jedi look like a pile of puke. It kind of reminds me of how Matrix Revolutions was so bad that it made me wonder how I could even like the first two movies. It was that awful. But if there’s any one good thing about The Rise of Skywalker, it’s that Kylo Ren got a complete story arc throughout the three movies.
I’m not saying it was a good story arc, but one area where I think the prequels faltered is that they got rid of their best antagonists and made way for new ones in each movie. I wanted to see so much more of Darth Maul and Count Dooku, but they had to make way for emo Hayden Christensen (who was supposed to be the chosen one!). Yeah. If there’s any one area where the sequels were better than the prequels, it’s that the heel had a chance to turn face. And that’s some wrestling parlance for you, by the way. Because why not?
In the end, the prequels are still better than the sequels, but there’s definitely some stuff that the sequels did much better than the prequels. But what do you think? Are there any positives to the sequels, or they just hot Rancor droppings to you? Let me know in the poll down below!
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Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.