Well, we are just a week away from the release of Episode IX, The Rise of Skywalker. Will the film stick the landing for the trilogy? Will it bring the nine film (forty year) saga to a just and respectable conclusion? Who F**** knows! I have my thoughts, but I will hold back until I’ve had a chance to see the film. For now I want to dive into the trilogy I had the privilege to grow up with and believe deserves more respect than it gets. Yes- the prequels.
Were they perfect? F*** no! Yet there was so much about these films that earned more than just our tolerance for their existence.
John Williams is the composer of ALL nine Star Wars films, and despite how some might think the quality of story dipped with the prequels, the talent and investment of Williams certainly did not. Episode I gave us the EPIC “Duel of Fates” which played as the two jedi faced off against fan-boy favorite Darth Maul, the Queen lead her forces to take back her planet, and a young Anakin single-handedly destroyed the trade federation fleet. Not to mention– Episode IX has recently resurrected the amazing track for its promotion material. Smart choice ya’ll!
Episode II gave us my personal favorite, “Across the Stars,” the love theme created by Williams for Anakin and Padme; the doomed pair whose love would result in the extinction of the jedi order, the death of the republic, and the rise of the Sith’s empire. Also, say what you want about Attack of the Clones, that plot is poetic AF.
Lastly, the best of the bunch, Episode III reached its climax with “Battle of Heroes,” a powerful and equally tragic track that plays as the life-long friends/brothers Obi-Wan Kenobi and the newly dubbed Darth Vader battle on Mustafar.
John Williams SHOWED UP for those prequels and I’m eternally grateful that he did.
The truth of evil through Vader
Our Saturday morning cartoons taught us the fight of good vs. evil. However, they always portrayed a very simple (and rightly so) depiction of black and white; evil commits evil because it wants to be bad and good does good because it’s simply the heroes role. What the Star Wars prequels did was not only add a tragic layer to the iconic villain of Vader but used him as an example of the very true nature of evil; The ones who often commit horrible acts do it under the false pretense that what they are doing is the right thing. They deceive themselves in order to excuse their actions. They justify it. In the name of keeping what he feared to lose (Padme) Anakin HAD to believe what Palaptine was saying-the Jedi betrayed the Republic and must be destroyed.
Even after his choice was made and he Anakin turned to the dark side the irony is that through his actions he himself destroyed the very thing he wanted to save– F****** brilliant! For that is real evil isn’t it? To desperately want what we desire and the willingness to do whatever it takes to make it happen-then, in the spirit of “want” it never subsides and as Yoda spoke, “Attachment leads to greed.”
To see the presence of Vader in the original trilogy after the prequels, for me, makes him not so much the 2-D kids villain but a much more layered character. I will forever love it.
Yes, Episode I gave us Jar-Jar Binks. The character that fans argued almost single-handedly destroyed the franchise. Well, that movie also gave the fan-boys their icon Darth Maul. I think that makes us even guys!
This character pretty much had a no-dialogue role in the one film he appeared in and he has STILL lived on through animated shows, the fantasies of fans, and even had a cameo in the Han Solo movie.
The Emperor only physically appeared in one film of the original trilogy. That was news to me when I first saw these movies back in 2006! Palpatine has since become one of the most iconic characters in the Stars Wars mythos. He has been added into (my favorite) The Emperor Strikes Back and has been resurrected (please don’t F*** this up) for the grand finale of the nine chapter saga.
The prequels did that.
For some, maybe this isn’t enough! There’s no doubt that the feel of the prequels stood different from that of the original trilogy. They were more Shakespearean if you will. Yet, that for me is MORE than alright. They enriched the lore of the Star Wars universe and added more layers to the fun adventures of the original trilogy.
Can TROS land this plane? Again, I don’t know. Whatever happens I just know I will always have the magic of the prequels I grew up with. Maybe that’s it though! These are films for kids and as us bitter adults are grumpy over the delivery of the third and final trilogy, maybe there are kids all over the world ready to cherish these stories for years to come. Here’s hoping!