In Defense Of The Star Wars Prequels

Some of the numerous lightsaber duels throughout the trilogy, including Obi-Wan vs Darth Maul and Yoda vs Palpatine (Edited by me)

Some of the numerous lightsaber duels throughout the trilogy, including Obi-Wan vs Darth Maul and Yoda vs Palpatine (Edited by me)

Jake Williams, Journalist

During winter break, I had time on my hands, and decided to watch “Star Wars” Episodes I through VI again after seeing the season finale of “The Mandalorian”. During my viewing experience, the biggest surprise to me was how good the prequel trilogy was.

For years, Episodes I through III were panned by “Star Wars” fans for being a hot mess with boring plotlines and clunky dialogue.

David Stewart, a Quora responder phrased it as, “There was a lot of standing around and talking about stuff and having votes in senates and generally not doing interesting things with lightsabers.”

Those critiques have a kernel of truth to them, but I think in this case the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and have become truly under-appreciated. Are the prequels better than the original trilogy? No, but they are good movies nonetheless.

Let’s start at the beginning with “The Phantom Menace.” We get to see a young Obi-Wan Kenobi, who is still learning from Qui-Gon Jinn, a Jedi master who diverges from the Jedi council by staying connected with the force more, and not involving himself with politics. Later in the movie, we get to see a very young Anakin Skywalker, still with his mom on Tatooine, a crime ridden desert planet run by crime lord, Jabba The Hutt. The two Jedi notice the unusually high midichlorian count that Anakin has, making him incredibly powerful with the force. Qui-Gon then decides to take Anakin as a new apprentice to learn the ways of the Jedi. However, on the planet of Naboo in a heated battle with the Sith Lord, Darth Maul, Qui-Gon dies, forcing his apprentice, Obi Wan, to train Anakin himself. In this film, we see Anakin have fear for the future, after having to leave his mother, who he loves and cares deeply for.

In the second film, “Attack Of The Clones,” we see a teenage Anakin, of similar age to Obi-Wan, in the first film. Anakin reconnects with Padme Amidala, the former queen of Naboo, and now Senator, whom he met in the first film, though now he is much older. Padme is under threat from assassination, and the Jedi have sent Obi-Wan and Anakin to protect her. During his time spent with her, he falls in love with her, and the two get married by the end of the film. But tragedy occurs, and Anakin learns that his mother was tortured and killed by Tusken Raiders, a violent and nomadic group on Tatooine. Anakin lashes out in anger and decides to slaughter everyone. Not just the men, but the women, and the children too. It’s his first step towards the dark side, and vows to never let anyone he cares about die again.

In the final film, we see Anakin turn to the dark side officially and become Darth Vader, after seeing a vision of Padme dying in childbirth and desperately wants to save her. Sith Lord, Darth Sidious, promises him that he will be able to save Padme by learning the powers of the dark side. He contemplates what he should do. In a battle between Sidious, and Jedi Master, Mace Windu, in the heat of the moment, Anakin sides with Sidious over the Jedi to try and save Padme, and vows himself loyal to the Sith Lord. This ends in painful fashion, as his former Jedi Master, Obi-Wan has to kill him. Obi-Wan gains the high ground on Anakin and strikes him into a lava pool, burning him nearly to death. Padme dies anyways during child birth, and Sidious failed to live up to his promise.


The duel with Anakin and Obi-Wan with an infographic showcasing how Anakin turned (Edited by me)


If one is able to overlook some of the weird dialogue and strange characters like Jar Jar Binks, you end up seeing a tragic story of how someone’s pain and anger can be their downfall. It’s sad to witness an innocent boy turn into a murderous and hate-filled man, and the Star Wars prequels demonstrate what not to do in your own life. The prequels blur the lines of the light and dark side some, to where you can interpret the events as Anakin betraying the Jedi, or vice versa. It gives justification for his extreme actions while also pointing out the errors in his ways. In episode VI, his return to the light side is also made better by showing his rise, fall, and then rise again. You can also see how the Separatists, portrayed as villains within the films, were actually right about the corruption in the government and in the Jedi, as it had been influenced by a Sith Lord. Unfortunately for them, Sidious corrupted them as well, and killed all their leaders via proxy.

Elementary school teacher and Disney super fan, Sara Picanzo, says “Revenge of The Sith” is her favorite Star Wars movie, stating, “Episode III is my favorite because its the only movie we witness a character fully embrace the dark side and how their path led them there. “Revenge of the Sith” gives context for storylines we are introduced to in the original trilogy like how Yoda came to live on Dagobah, why Obi-Wan goes into hiding, why Luke and Leia were separated, and how the Empire begins gaining power. It also begins to set up parallels in themes we see Anakin, Luke, Rey, and Kylo Ren struggle with throughout all three trilogies.”

When asked about some of the criticism that get thrown at the prequels, Picanzo says, “I do think that criticism is justified. Jar Jar is a fairly annoying character, but I also find Luke whiny and annoying in Episode IV, he does redeem himself in episodes V and VI though. I believe that there was a missed opportunity to give Anakin/Darth Vader more interesting emotional layers with the actor choice, but I’m hoping Hayden Christensen can redeem himself in the new Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney Plus.”

Overall, the “Star Wars” prequels are an incredibly divisive subject for fans of the series, but more and more people are gaining a newfound appreciation for the prequels, often comparing them to the new Disney movies. I think the prequel movies are far from perfect, but helpĀ  improve the original trilogy and also provide lots of fun moments with a few interesting themes.