Were You A Teenage Girl During The Prequel Years?

I was WAY past being a teen when TPM came out but a fan is looking for others who were teenage girls 1999-2005 to tell their story. This is a quote from her original post, which discusses the appeal the prequels had to teenage girls:

I’d go as far to say, in all honesty, that teenage girls were the Prequel fandom. We did the fanfiction, the fanart, the graphics, the character analysis, the essays about what that one lighting effect in that one scene meant, the advice on how to sew that costume – the work, you could almost say, because we really loved those movies and the universe within them.

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30 Responses to “Were You A Teenage Girl During The Prequel Years?”

  1. Chris N. Says:

    I wouldn’t go as far as to say that teenage girls were *the* prequel fandom. While there were more female fans for these movies than for the original trilogy, that was merely a condition of the time when they were released.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      I was 29 when TPM came out so obviously I wasn’t a teenager but I did notice the influx of girls during that period. Girls were strongly drawn to the prequels, Harry Potter, and LOTR. Those movies helped make it “okay” to be a fangirl.

      • Chris N. Says:

        Exactly. It wasn’t the way the prequels were made, it was when they were released. Of course, this eventually led to (years later) Hollywood investing on adapting more female-centric franchises like Twilight and Hunger Games.

  2. PrinceOfNaboo Says:

    I’ve been holding the opinion for years that the Prequels are the more “feminine” trilogy while the OT is more “masculine” – not just in regard to representation, but involving their overall feel and character.

    The OT was very much defined by Luke’s “father conflict” whereas the Prequels introduced the “mother” and they had a different focus and different sensibilties. The OT deals with Luke and how he has to confront his father in order to bring him back to the good side. The PT deals with Anakin and his challenge of letting go and coming to peace with the natural course of things and loss. It’s, in its basic state, more passive, less confrontational and more “feminine”. The PT also puts a strong focus on the need for diplomacy and trying to avoid war and violence at all costs whereas the OT portrays a period of time in which war and battles have become to only way of solving a conflict.
    This difference, though, is the most noticeable in the way both trilogies portray the love stories. Han/Leia are a pretty male-oriented couple, with a macho guy getting the initially resistant gilt to melt ultimately. Anakin/Padmé are a the complete opposite, they are a couple in which the man is more vulnerable and emotional and the woman always seems to be in control of things and is clearly played as the one to decide what direction their relationship takes. Anakin and Han, especially, feel like opposing poles.
    The whole architectural, environmental and cultural focus on beauty in the PT, as opposed to the sober functionality of the OT, is another sign of that difference.

    I think Lucasfilm missed a great oppurtunity back in 2000-2005. They should have embraced that sort of audience a lot more openly and actively – especially after having realized that the “original” SW audience isn’t the most grateful or willing to accept new things and I also think the more “feminine” nature of the PT has affected its reputation among the predominantly male-focused geek media. Missed chance, another approach could have given the PT a more solid and vocal supporting base online. That whole concept also leads me to some of my concerns about Abrams, who I feel tends to make products that leans too much towards the “masculine” side of things. For instance, it’s not uncommon in his productions that a (mostly, not always) female character tries to stick to the rules and law and solve things the way they are supposed to be solved until into a man (sometimes woman) steps in, secretely breaks the law and succeeds famously with that. Hate that.

    • piccolojr1138 Says:

      Good analysis ! I love how Schmi and Padmé are depicted.

    • Jim Raynor Says:

      I’ve seen forum posts about how certain wives and mothers seemed to appreciate the Schmi/Anakin stuff in TPM. I’m a guy but that part was always really touching to me. The audience of families in the theater that I saw TPM 3D with seemed to appreciate it as well.

      Contrast that with the mostly older male forum fanboy, who has gone on and on about how the Prequels lacked humanity or any “relatable” characters. Maybe the problem is that these fans just can’t look past their own limited life experiences.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      The prequels came out just ahead of the big YA boom of the mid ’00s, a phenomenon that continues to this day and one that has always been driven by female readers. I’ve always said it’s a shame there were no Twilight or Hunger Games movies when AOTC came out because they really could have marketed to that audience.

    • jarjarbacktattooguy Says:

      The OT almost exclusively focused on the military. The only glimpses we really get at normal humanoid civilian life is with Luke at his home, and Cloud City.

      The prequels really open the “real world” up to the audience. We get to see a lot more of Anakins domestic life than we did with Luke. We never got to see any of Leia’s private life apart from her dealings with the Rebellion. Episode I, meanwhile, mostly revolves around Padme’s native planet and its peoples.

      We get taken to a mainstream bar/nightclub and a diner on Coruscant in AOTC. There are many other examples where the story takes us out into civilian society.

      In the OT we go to a barren frozen planet, a barren swamp planet, a nearly barren forest planet, a barren jungle planet, and a barren stomach of a space slug living inside a barren asteroid.

      Since the whole OT story revolved around the rebellion military hiding from the Imperial Navy and Death Star, the film makers can be forgiven for not including a lot of women or children (though there should have been more).

      The PT critics are mostly geek stereotypes who don’t like anything with kids or romance, or that’s told from a female perspective (unless she’s bad ass). Romantic films routinely get thrashed by these geeks on message boards and IMDB. Since these places are dominated by young males, anyone who has different perspective is treated like a freak.

      These young adult novels and film adaptations prove that girls and women are open to sci fi and fantasy, if told from a female perspective. The whole manga fad in America in the 2000s proved this too. Half the manga readers I saw at the bookstores were girls. I collected Comic books for 30 years and it was very, very rare to see a female in a comic book store. It’s because comic books don’t tell stories for women.

      The prequels are as much about Padme as they are about Anakin or Obi-Wan. She’s always at the center of the story, and not just the “girlfriend”. She is also feminine, and not written or portrayed by Natalie the same way as the male characters are. She’s not manly, but she can handle herself in dangerous situations. She seemed authentic, and I am sure the female audience responded to that.

    • Heidi Says:

      PrinceOfNaboo, can I quote what you wrote for my tumblr. I think what you’ve written is a beautiful analysis between the OT and PT which I’ve never thought deeply about before.

    • jarjarbacktattooguy Says:

      ≥>>>≥>≥>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

      Han/Leia are a pretty male-oriented couple, with a macho guy getting the initially resistant gilt to melt ultimately. Anakin/Padmé are a the complete opposite, they are a couple in which the man is more vulnerable and emotional and the woman always seems to be in control of things and is clearly played as the one to decide what direction their relationship takes. Anakin and Han, especially, feel like opposing poles.

      ≤<<≤<≤<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< <<<<<<<<<<<<<

      I agree that Anakin is more emotional. However, he is also very macho…he's far more of a bad ass than Han ever was.

      Han was macho and street smart because he had to be, that was his environment. Anakin was just a ticking time bomb of rage, an anti-social psychopath. But some girls dig that I guess, even serial killers often have wives or girlfriends.

      So while Padme was a self-controlled, intellectual type, she never had any control of Anakin or their relationship. Anakin was always in his own little "Sith wannabe" world.

      But the trio of leads in the prequels were all far different from their OT counterparts, that's why they're interesting. George wasn't copying himself.

  3. piccolojr1138 Says:

    😂😂😂 http://furiousfanboys.com/2015/08/abrams-thousands-of-cg-shots-in-the-force-awakens/

    • bansheegun Says:

      If TFA exceeds ROTS in total FX shots, the Prequel-Haters will lose a HUGE talking point.

      • Jim Raynor Says:

        I believe the ROTS digital effects count was somewhere around 2,150. This is dwarfed by even “realistic” Earth-based scifi blockbusters, like The Winter Soldier with its 2,500 digital effects shots. I have almost no doubts that TFA will be around that much if not higher.

    • Jim Raynor Says:

      Say it ain’t so!

    • lazypadawan Says:

      Shh, not too loud ;).

  4. Eduardo Jencarelli Says:

    John Boyega posted a great tribute to the main characters for all of the trilogies, promoting a generational unity of Star Wars, in a sense.

  5. Adam D. Bram (The Nilbog) Says:

    I swear to god I almost typed “I wish I was” until at the last minute I realized that people would make a VERY incorrect assumption.

    For the record, I had meant “so that I could be relevant to this conversation”.

  6. Marshall Says:

    I was 15 when the Phantom Menace came out and unlike Disney, Lucas released A LOT of Queen Amidala merchandise: dolls, paper dolls, action figures, coloring books, reading books, t shirts, even a makeup kit! He proved that there is a niche in the Star Wars market for girls.

  7. jarjarbacktattooguy Says:

    The Queen Amidala Portrait Edition dolls were amazing. There were four, one came packed with Qui-Gon. The detailing and material they used for the clothes and accessories were far better than what was used for the cheaper Star Wars 12 inch dolls.

    The original price was 59.99 per doll (at Kay-Bee), so unfortunately kids were priced out; though there were other Padme/Queen dolls that were cheaper. Luckily the prices were eventually reduced, greatly, to move product.

    I knew little girls at the time who loved the OT and Episode I, so there was always a female audience.

    I had the paper doll book for Episode I…love those things, so creative.

  8. Heidi Says:

    Actually yes, I think I am exactly that. The highlight of my teenage years was AOTC and of course the obligatory crush on Hayden. ^^

    Over the years though, I’m more in love with their romance.

    But I remember that recesses at school involved my girlfriends guessing my favorite new actor. When I told them about SW, which they only knew about through their young brothers, a few of my friends became interested in the movies as well, except one who had her hands bust with LOTR, lol. She had secret doodle book with Elijah Wood’s name written everywhere and cutouts of his head pasted on her wall.

    It was also the days of early internet which was nice, lots of small webpages and fan-sites to visit for an eager young fangirl. AOTC was my introduction to the entire SW universe and it did an outstanding job of it, I’ve never lost interest since.

  9. Stefan Kraft Says:

    Just wondering: the PT is “more female” and the OT “more male” (in some way). Will the ST be a synthesis of this?

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