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Do the Prequels Work as a Trilogy?

by Culture Slate 2 months ago in star wars

How Well Do The Story Arcs Connect The Films?

The prequel trilogy, love them or hate them, they sure have left their mark on Star Wars. There have been many critiques of the trilogy over the years, however one critique that hasn’t been brought up that many have talked about is; Do the prequels work as a trilogy? Do all three films culminate into one epic finale? Do all the plot threads started with The Phantom Menace finish nicely in Revenge of the Sith. Well perhaps we should take a look at The Phantom Menace and see what went on, what was left behind, and what was added in the middle.

The cohesion of Star Wars has always been a bit of a debate among the fandom. No Star Wars trilogy has ever been completely cohesive with each other. Some of the reasons were obvious such as A New Hope never meaning to be anything other than a stand alone film with no sequels. However with the prequel trilogy, George Lucas went in knowing that he would have three films to tell the downfall of Anakin Skywalker. If one looks at the actual story being told, and the plot points being presented, one can see that it does not all match up or come together nicely by the end of the final movie.

Characters and Plots Come and Gone:

The Phantom Menace is the start of the prequel trilogy. Several of the most important prequel characters are introduced in Phantom Menace, such as Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan, Jar Jar Binks, Padme, and of course the most important one of all, Anakin. All these threads, not to mention the idea of Midi-chlorians and the political machinations of taxing the trade routes with the Trade Federation. So many ideas and threads.

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However, by the time you get to Revenge of the Sith, none of the characters come to a complete, natural conclusion by the film's end. Jar Jar Binks is completely sidelined by this time, appearing in just one scene. Padme, who was once a character partaking in the action of things, is reduced to the side as well. Even scenes of her starting the Rebel Alliance didn't make the final cut. Plot points added in with Attack of the Clones, such as the mysterious Sifo Dyas, and Boba Fett's origins, are never wrapped up in Revenge of the Sith. While others like Count Dooku are quickly swept aside to make way for Anakin’s fall.

In many ways, while Revenge of the Sith may be a strong individual film, it’s foundations only really come from the characters of Anakin, Padme and Obi-Wan, while these other plot points, and threads mentioned earlier are not even part of the final film. Making the prequels come off as less of a cohesive narrative told over one story and more like three films with only loose connection with one another.

A Trilogy or Three Films

When one really watches the prequels, they do come off more and more as not a trilogy but three movies with only loose plot threads. Obviously the Anakin arc is the strongest of the three, but even his fall is not consistent so much as we see various stages of it in each movie. There are no overarching plot points apart from that. Even the rise of the Empire is quite quick in response. Even characters and planets that could have been combined or spread throughout the movies get undercut.

Love them or hate them, one has to question the cohesion of the prequels as a trilogy and if, in the grand scheme of things, maybe they could have come off a bit tighter in the execution.

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Written by Joel Davis

Syndicated from Culture Slate

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