Why We Still Can't Forgive George Lucas for the Star Wars Prequels

Why We Still Can't Forgive George Lucas for the Star Wars Prequels
Image credit: Legion-Media, Twentieth Century Fox

5 reasons to dislike the prequel trilogy even after surviving through the whole “sequel trilogy” ordeal.

1. Jar Jar Binks, Need We Say More?

On paper, this Gungan from the watery world of Naboo might have seemed like a comic relief, a funny bone tickler for the kids. Well, let's just say the execution was less than stellar. Not only did this bumbling creature produce cringe-worthy moments in galactic proportions, but he also detracted from the overall plot, creating an unnecessary distraction that many fans still shudder at the memory of.

The concept of Jar Jar was intended to mirror the much-loved Chewbacca from the original trilogy, yet all we got was an annoying character whose dialect was about as comprehensible as a Wookiee trying to recite Shakespeare. Add the insult of his accidental and improbable rise to political power, and you've got a recipe for a character that fans just can't forget or forgive.

Was there ever a time we were more grateful for subtitles?

2. Midichlorians, The Pseudo-Scientific Nonsense

Star Wars, for all its fantasy and epic space opera elements, was never about hard scientific facts. It was about hope, friendship, and the Force; the mystical energy that binds the galaxy together.

But alas, in the prequels, George Lucas decided to provide a scientific explanation to this mystery, introducing us to "Midichlorians." These microscopic life forms, apparently, reside in all living cells and we, the Jedi, communicate with the Force and the universe through these Midichlorians. Sounds like a biology lesson you'd want to skip, right?

The magic and allure of the Force was stripped down to a science experiment, removing all its spiritual and metaphysical connotations. The Force was no longer a mystical element accessible to those who were spiritually attuned. Instead, it was reduced to a mere blood count. The Midichlorians turned the mystical and spiritual Force into a genetic lottery, forever changing the way fans looked at the Force, and not for the better.

3. Overuse of CGI and Green Screens

When George Lucas released the original Star Wars trilogy, he pioneered practical effects and models, creating the beautiful and immersive world we all fell in love with. Fast-forward to the prequels and Lucas seemed to have a newfound infatuation with green screens and computer-generated imagery (CGI).

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There's no denying that the advent of CGI has opened up new possibilities for filmmakers, but there's a thin line between use and overuse. With the prequels, we saw entire scenes, planets, and even characters created through CGI.

This excessive use of digital artistry, rather than enhancing the movies, only made them feel more artificial and less immersive. Not only did this overreliance on CGI result in some dated graphics, but it also removed the tangible, authentic feel of the Star Wars universe.

George, we know you loved your new toys, but sometimes, less is indeed more.

4. Anakin Skywalker's Transformation

It's hard to ignore the deeply flawed portrayal of Anakin Skywalker, the future Darth Vader, one of the most iconic villains in cinematic history. The prequels promised us a tragic tale of a hero's fall from grace, but what we got instead was a whiny, petulant teenager and a somewhat creepy child with an awkward crush on an older woman.

Now, don't get us wrong, troubled characters are fascinating, the MCU 's Loki being the prime example, but Anakin's transition from a cherubic slave boy to an angst-filled adolescent and then to a mass-murdering Sith Lord felt rushed and largely unconvincing. There was more mood swing than character development.

The complex emotional transformation needed to turn a sweet kid into a formidable Sith was treated with no delicacy at all. A deeper exploration into Anakin's psyche could have saved us from the cringe-inducing dialogue like "I don't like sand." Alas, the prequels missed the mark on the most pivotal character arc in the Star Wars saga.

5. The Underutilization of Darth Maul

Darth Maul, with his iconic dual-bladed lightsaber and devilish design, was undoubtedly one of the best things about the prequel trilogy. However, he was woefully underused.

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With minimal lines and screen time, Maul was criminally underdeveloped. He came across as a mere henchman rather than the terrifying Sith Lord he could've been. His quick demise at the end of "The Phantom Menace" left us, frankly put, feeling cheated.

Here was a character who could have provided a menacing and persistent threat throughout the trilogy, creating a sense of dread and tension. Instead, Maul was sliced in half (literally) way too soon, leaving a gaping hole in the dark side for the remainder of the prequels. Such a missed opportunity, George, such a missed opportunity.

6. Romance? What Romance?

Perhaps one of the most botched aspects of the prequels is the romance between Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala.

Love stories can add depth and emotional resonance to a narrative, but this one felt as cold as Hoth. The writing of their romance was unnatural and cringe-inducing, filled with awkward flirtation and perplexing dialogue. Instead of the passionate, doomed love that could justify Anakin's descent into darkness, we got a romance that was as flat as Tatooine's deserts.

Padmé, despite being portrayed as an intelligent and strong character, inexplicably falls for Anakin's creepy and stalker-like advances. Their love story was neither convincing nor compelling, and the lack of chemistry between the characters only served to highlight this flaw.

In the end, their relationship did a disservice to the tragic love story it was meant to portray, and became another reason why fans find it hard to forgive Lucas for the prequel trilogy. Well, at least we got memes out of it, right? Right?..