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How George Lucas Explained Star Wars’ Battle Droids Getting ‘Ridiculous’ In The Prequel Films

The Star Wars prequels are some of the most heavily discussed movies in the iconic series, and that's not always due to positive reasons. Recently, Mark Hamill defended the prequels amid renewed criticism of them. Other franchise veterans have chimed in with their own honest thoughts out the late-'90s/early '00s trilogy. For instance, sound editor Matthew Wood recently discussed George Lucas' explanation for the battle droids getting more "ridiculous" as the movies went on.

Matthew Wood, who's voiced several animated characters in the franchise, appeared alongside fellow actor Dee Bradley Baker at New York City Comic Con's The Voices of Star Wars Animation Panel. During the event, the two discussed voice acting and their work. Wood, who worked in the sound department for Lucasfilm during the prequels, opened up about the stark personality change the battle droids underwent. He explained George Lucas’ thought process, saying:

The idea there was because when we worked on The Phantom Menace, some of the battle droids had a much more serious tone. And then as we went on into the next couple of films, they got a little more ridiculous. The idea that George had was that the CPUs that were put into the battle droids were very expensive. So in order to mass produce all those droids, they have to kind of tone down some of these elements. Because they would do really well against clones sometimes, but against Jedi, they could just be completely destroyed by all the Jedi because they just didn’t have the programming. And then by the time we got to The Clone Wars, that was kind of their way of working.

This is surely something that at least some fans have wondered about over the years. It was a pretty significant change, especially considering how skilled the droids were when they first debuted in 1999's The Phantom Menace. By the time Revenge of the Sith hit theaters in 2005, the robots became real pushovers, especially when dealing with Jedi. 

The explanation does make sense, though. With years of battles and wars, the separatists probably had to cut corners to keep up, and programming was apparently the most cost-effective thing to cut back on. Plus, the droids' somewhat dim-witted nature did make for some comedic moments. These were especially prevalent in the animated Clone Wars series.

The three films did introduce a ton of ideas into the world of Star Wars, despite the fact that not everything landed with viewers. George Lucas also isn't immune to the fact that his productions are viewed as being far from perfect. For instance, he's addressed the corny dialogue (which he wrote) that's littered throughout the first three chapters in the Skywalker Saga.

The prequels recently jumped back into the spotlight recently after George Lucas’ ex-wife, made some brutal comments about the movies, which apparently made her cry. The prequels make up a very polarizing part of the sci-fi phenomenon yet, for all the lackluster elements, they did give us some bright spots. This includes actors like Ewan McGregor, who, despite the fact that he ad trouble with the material at points, is set to return as Obi-Wan Kenobi in his own series on Disney+. 

Regardless of how people feel about those movies, though, this franchise isn’t going anywhere. Recent entries like the anime-infused Star Wars: Visions are proof that the series can experiment and do some really incredible things with the world it's been built over the past decades. There will be plenty of it in the future, which hopefully includes even more interesting stories connected to the prequels. 

Jamil David

Movie and TV obsessive. A good Heist movie is the way to my heart. Enjoyer of everything from Marvel Movies to Rom-coms.