The Complicated Relationship Between Official Fandom & The PT (Its Fans Too): Commentary

Nothing captures better the odd way Lucasfilm handles the PT than this:

Well-known Lucasfilm employee states for the second time or so that according to its internals, the prequels are as loved in the U.S. as Eps IV-VI. Before, it had also been noted that internationally, the prequels were slightly more popular.

Two successive episodes of the YouTube-based “The Star Wars Show” feature well-known personalities speaking positively about the prequels.

And then on the Sept. 7 episode of the same program, a couple of guys from IGN are brought on to discuss the late ‘90s arcade classic Star Wars: Racer. The IGN “personalities” make some comments that fans perceived to be jabs at TPM. Something by the way you would not see directed at Eps IV-VI or TFA.

On Sept. 13, they released a bunch of stickers for the iPhone and they were only from TFA and the OT.

I held off on posting this for the past month, until I see this today.  Padme Amidala isn’t mentioned in the text and the accompanying video only features two short clips.  It’s as though poor Padme got memory wiped from the saga due to the crimes of not being politically correct enough and failing to appear in a Disney production.  Forget Legion of Leia; how about People For Padme?  (While I’m at it, maybe at some point I’ll do a post on why fandom forgets about maternal figures like Shmi Skywalker or Aunt Beru.)

All of this occurred very recently, so I’m not cobbling together things that happened months or years ago. But it is a pattern that has gone on for a long time. One day it seems like they’re pro-PT, one day I wonder if they really are. I’m not putting all of the blame on the Disney purchase either since this sort of thing has been happening even while Lucas still ruled the roost. For instance, the official Star Wars Twitter account several years back retweeted a fan-made cartoon where Deadpool kills a guy for praising the prequels and Hayden Christensen. The retweet was deleted after this site and several other fans protested. (And to be fair, this was way worse than a couple of IGN jokesters on “The Star Wars Show.”)

Lately it’s become kind of a standard defense that nobody at Lucasfilm dislikes the prequels and that claims there is a “ban” on mentioning the prequels aren’t true. I know that no one issued a memo from the desk of Kathleen Kennedy or Bob Iger stating that all references to the prequels be halted immediately and offenders would be thrown off the Golden Gate Bridge. Obviously small mentions here and there are permissible in the films. Obviously mentions are permitted in Rebels, the books, and comics (all of which attract far less attention than the films). Obviously there are toys on the market. But it’s also disingenuous to act as though the prequels are treated and regarded equally, because anyone paying attention can see they are not. It’s always permissible to issue digs or jokes at the those films while everyone has to speak about Eps IV-VI reverently and TFA respectfully. Outspoken super critics of the PT are embraced, while I doubt the same would be extended to anyone who said anything offensive about Eps IV-VI or harshly criticized TFA.

It’s also not unreasonable to believe that while there’s no “ban,” there definitely had been a de-emphasis on the films. A big chunk of TFA’s pre-release campaign was based on basically saying, “Hey everyone, this isn’t like the prequels!” I was reading in various interviews about people working on the film being told to not do things the way they were done in the prequels; it’s right there in Allure magazine December 2015 as one example. Thankfully they haven’t gone that route with “Rogue One” so far. While it’s nice they brought in some prequel players and stuff in “Rogue One,” I’m waiting for them to really be brave and introduce crucial elements of the prequels, even the controversial ones.  I’m also wary that the anti-PT tone will be back with Ep. VIII. I don’t have to be the late Miss Cleo to predict they are going to rip on the Anakin/Padme romance to promote how theirs is so much better and they will “do it right this time.”

There’s also a big imbalance in what’s available for merchandising.  While there have been toys and collectibles consistently available, things like apparel, home goods, office decor/knicknacks, etc. have been sorely lacking.

So maybe it isn’t nuts to think that maybe the prequels aren’t all of that respected by the current castle keepers.  If that’s not what Lucasfilm wants us to believe, they have a long way to go to convince me and a lot of other fans otherwise.

Update:  The Force For Change International Day Of The Girl post has been updated to include Padmé Amidala.  High fives, prequel fans!  @prequelpositive deserves credit for  doing a lot to spread the word yesterday.



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16 Responses to “The Complicated Relationship Between Official Fandom & The PT (Its Fans Too): Commentary”

  1. Kathryn “LadyJediScientist” S. Says:

    You would think given how quickly the General Grievous Funko pop sold out online & how popular the Obi-Wan and Anakin graphic novel is, there would be a shift in the marketing and the merchandise to a more PT friendly attitude. I’m not seeing one, at least not from the management.

    However, I am seeing more fans expressing their discontent with how the current regime is handling things & how much they want more PT content. Examples: the response on twitter to the omission of Padme from the international day of the girl piece, the pleas to Funko for PT pops, the kessel runway’s facebook page recently posted a piece about the lack of variety in Star Wars clothing & jewelry (including the lack of PT items), and I’ve also noticed more PT designs on Tee Public recently.

    Granted, my examples are not the results of a scientific poll, but they do indicate a trend is there. Funko seems to be listening and given how popular the most recent PT pops have been, we will see more, hopefully.

    As far as the next sequel movie goes, I am skipping that one at the theater. What I would like to see is the frequent use of PT images in merchandise and promotional materials. Until Lucasfilm/Disney changes their tune, I am sticking with fan-made items (made by me or another fan) & vintage PT items.

    • Marshall Says:

      I’d like to see those pro-Padme complaints. Reducing Padme’s role in Star Wars just because she “lost the will to live” is like omitting Janis Joplin from a “women in rock” documentary because she died from a drug overdose.

  2. Dean Says:

    With Rian Johnson at the helm of Episode VIII, I’m not too worried about further prequel bashing. The man himself has stated that he felt there was “something beautiful” about the prequels and even defended them when someone brought up the tired old “too much CGI and no practical effects” argument.

  3. Phen Says:

    i wish there was more prequel stuff. I make sure to buy the prequel comics because they are good. I love Jedi, and the prequels were the era of the jedi. and Padme, is such an amazing, strong character, she stood against the manipulations of sidious in Episode one. she is beautifully tragic. Whenever i see good stuff i buy it, but honestly, when i see the lack of prequel stuff along side the other stuff, my excitement for star wars in general wanes. I want the entire saga. I’m pretty excited for the new star wars Destiny Card game. It will have stuff from all of star wars

  4. Artiom Deyev Says:

    I also don’t like such attitude that Disney has. As a huge prequel fan, Star Wars saga looses half o it story, and a beauty off the pre-empire Galaxy. Although I see this trend is wearing off, and I don’t know why Disney decided to assess such strategy in the first place (maybe they were trying to please those arrogant zealots, who love to bash the movies, which was a very wrong move), I want the pt trilogy to be shown and referred to in the movies. And I’m sure there’re many other people like me.

    • fundhund Says:

      That´s exactly why it was so difficult to enjoy “The Force Awakens” for me, because this desire to “please those arrogant zealots” was perceptible throughout the film.
      “Let´s not have any politics in the movie, let´s make the lightsaber battles slower, let´s pretend we had more practical effects and less CGI, let´s have every planet look like planet earth (like in the OT), let´s give the protagonists a jokey everyday language instead of the regal diction of the previous films, and hell, let´s even give a secondary role to Simon Pegg, this great, valiant OT fanboy hero of a fighter.
      That was just too much for me, sorry.

      • Anthony Echevarria Says:

        To be fair, the jokey everyday language works for Finn and Rey, because they’re basically grunts. But yeah, it was one step too far. There is also the issue of humor. ‘Iron Man 3’ damned itself because it had too much humor, with Tony joking at the end after Pepper’s death, while ‘Batman v. Superman’ was almost completely morose and didn’t have enough. Humor is something that has to be done very carefully, and doled out depending on the scene. You basically have to make sure that you have just enough that you don’t go overboard like with ‘Iron Man 3’, and yet you don’t want it to be so absent from the proceedings like in ‘Batman v. Superman’ that the movie is almost joyless. One of the huge examples of this failing is in the scene with the mouth monster in ‘The Force Awakens’, where this was constructed to be a scene that was funny and thrilling, and a ‘showcase’ for Han, yet I didn’t find it very funny. It fell completely flat on its face. To me, it just seemed like an entire setup to have a scene where you could have a villain with a Scottish accent. 😛

        I have a complicated view of Simon Pegg. I wanted to hate him completely after the things he said about ‘Star Wars’, and I still think he’s a pretty terrible human being, as far as his ‘professional’ facade, but when I went to see “Star Trek: Beyond” this summer expecting it to be completely terrible, he surprised me. He wrote a pretty decent movie, and played Scotty relatively well, at least to his standards. It’s the best of the Abrams movies probably, and the closest to “traditional” ‘Star Trek’ that these movies have gotten. It’s not as mindless, and it featured quite a few contemplative moments for Captain Kirk. I still hate his ‘professional’ appearance that he puts on for anything movie or media-related, and that’ll never change, but I have to admit there is a smidgum of talent there. It makes me wonder what he could do, if he wasn’t as consumed by hate for the p.t., and more open-minded on the subject. Maybe he could write some movies that didn’t have much to do with the Jedi, or the Republic, but were movies for Han, Boba Fett, Rogue One, etc., and people who wanted to see these fringe characters without worrying too much about politics or story, and were just fun adventure movies. In case there’s doubt, it’s impossible in this reality, of course. The man is much too bigoted against the prequels. But it’s interesting to think of an alternate reality-Simon Pegg, who did use his talent (however minimal it is), for the benefit of some sequel movies, without disgracing the P.T. too much. :-/

      • lovelucas Says:

        I’m with ya fundhund. The behavior of Disney et al towards everything prequel has really smothered my SW enthusiasm. I just can’t and I won’t support Star Wars any longer and I didn’t for TFA. Did not see it until about a week ago when it was free. I refused to contribute one penny. But…I am definitely seeing and supporting Rogue. Hoping against hope that what came before will be mentioned, will be missed and make that at least a small part of the story line since the chronology is there…. And if Disney can keep their hands off of it, I will now see VIII because….a change in directors.

  5. lazypadawan Says:

    It gets even stranger. Bryan Young noted on Twitter the lack of Padme in the same International Day of the Girl post and Matt Martin from Lucasfilm in his reply was just as baffled by the Padme slight as the rest of us are.

  6. Christian Says:

    I sideshow is the only company that still releases products for all 6 films and the Clone Wars. Even some EU stuff.

    I hope Hot Toys gets the license all their allowed to do right now is Star Wars, yeah I still call it that. The ep 4 Vader and stromtrooper wow outstanding work.

    And they make stuff from the Forceafakens. I hate the F’in not originally to it it just didn’t feel like, dare I say, a Star Wars fime. There a MANY more reasons I could go off. But my point is Hot Toys makes them, not Sideshow. Ironically Anakin Skywalker is the head guys favorite character over at Hot Toys.

  7. LadyJediScientist Says:

    YES!! They FINALLY included Padme! Now they just need to fix the problem with the merchandise.

  8. Kim Says:

    Glad to see they added Padme! She’s still one of my favorite characters.

  9. jayoungr Says:

    I don’t suppose they had any comment on why Padme was left out in the first place?

  10. Benoit Lamarche Says:

    Awesome blog, thanks for maintaining it. I think the vocal dislike for the PT reflects how blasé, in general, movie-goers have become in the last ten years.

    I’m glad there’s material like this linking the PT and the original movies:

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