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Star Wars’ Mark Hamill Defends The Prequels Amid Criticism

Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) stares at Rey (not pictured) in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

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If there’s any aspect of Star Wars that’s generated a fair amount of discussion, it’s George Lucas’ prequel trilogy, consisting of The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. There originally seemed to be a general consensus amongst fans that the movies were compared to the original trilogy, though a number of people have now warmed up to them. The franchise’s stars have also shared their thoughts on criticisms aimed at the film and, just recently, Mark Hamill stepped up to defend them.

Mark Hamill rarely engages in Star Wars drama but, when he does chime in, he’s usually honest and direct. The Luke Skywalker actor was one of the franchise alums interviewed for J.W. Rinzler’s final book, Howard Kazanjian: A Producer’s Life, and it was during the chat (via IndieWire) that he discussed the prequels. The star shared praise for the movies and explained why he was actually “impressed” by them:

I was impressed the prequels had their own identity. They were criticized because they were exposition-heavy and more cerebral and probably, like he said back in 1976, they weren’t as commercial. It’s a darker story. But in the age of social media, people’s voices are amplified, and I’m shocked at how brutal they can be, not just in the case of Star Wars films, but across the board.

He does make some fair points. George Lucas, who penned and directed the three installments, took a different approach with these films. As mentioned, they were indeed filled with exposition and moved at a somewhat slower pace than their predecessors. They did, however, mark significant technology achievements for cinema. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy actually believes that the technological advances of that time are what compelled Lucas to make them in the first place.

Of course, Mark Hamill’s mention of the “brutal” social media commentary on the films is also valid. There are plenty of positive and passionate fans out there, but the toxic side of the base is difficult to overlook.

Aside from Mark Hamill, The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson has also stepped up to defend the films, calling them “gorgeous” and praising George Lucas for ushering in a new age of visual effects wizardry. Obi-Wan Kenobi actor Ewan McGregor has also spoken on the movies and has been candid about why he found it somewhat difficult to work on them. Yet he also seems to be pleased that fans are starting to appreciate them. All nine of the films in the Skywalker Saga can be streamed on Disney+, which you can sign up for using this link.

It’s fair to assume that the public will continue to have varied feelings about Star Wars Episodes I-III. One can only hope that any discussions surrounding them will remain positive and productive.

Erik Swann

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.