2017: The Year The Prequels Have The High Ground?

Two recent completely organic events occurred that took the media, the suits at Lucasfilm and Disney, fandom, and the world in general by surprise:

One was the creation of /r/prequelmemes on Reddit. At last count there are now over 187,000 subscribers and it has attracted quite a bit of media attention. This subreddit was created in January. In addition there are many “sith posting” pages on Facebook with a lot of prequel memes.

The other was the “shocking” reception Hayden Christensen received last month when he attended his first Celebration in 15 years. Not only was he warmly greeted with a huge standing ovation at the 40th anniversary panel, his autograph and photo op sessions sold out faster than any other Celebration guest in the history of the convention. New sessions were added and those sold out too, with another batch of tickets (i.e. Hayden signing longer) added at the last minute at the convention. This was in addition to interviews with Hayden on the Star Wars Live show and the honored chance to shoot t-shirts at con-goers gathered around the stage inside the exhibition hall. Somebody at Collider even jokingly called SWCO Hayden Con.

Both of these events shattered a long-held myth that “everybody hates the prequels” I’ve been trying to break for years.   Neither of them though just happened out of nowhere.  While I’ve been Sisyphus here for almost 10 years, it’s really only over the last few that events have slowly started to turn in our favor.

 

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One factor is simply people who grew up with the prequels are finally comfortable expressing their love for the films online.   Maybe it’s also teens who had grown up watching the prequels on t.v. without prejudice along with watching The Clone Wars.  The perception of not being the only one anymore always emboldens more fans to make themselves known. Haters, trolls, and bashers no longer have comment sections to themselves.

Another factor is that over the past couple of years, we’ve finally had independent works exploring the intricacies of the films.  “The Star Wars Heresies,” The Ring Theory, and “The Prequels Strike Back” have encouraged those who were always fans of the films and helped some doubters change their minds and look at the prequels in a new light.

Finally I think having new films come out have given people something to compare the prequels to that’s not the storied OT and maybe for some of them, they realize Lucas’s influence was important after all.  Not to say there aren’t prequel fans who are pleased with Disney’s offerings so far.  A lot are.  If anything I’ve noticed this happening mostly among those who didn’t like the prequels or were kind of lukewarm about them.

Don’t get me wrong though; it’s not time yet to pack up everything and call it a day.  Geek media still has a ways to go even though there are signs their tone toward the prequels is changing.  SWCO did more to acknowledge the prequels than previous Celebrations have this decade but the prequel trilogy were the only Star Wars films not screened at the show.  Clone Wars is still off the air.  Everybody tends to forget Padme is an actual Star Wars character.  There’s still a dearth (darth?) of prequel apparel and collectibles from licensed sources.

Companies as a whole take a very long time to change and if they’re just noticing now fans still have a love for the prequels, it will take years for their output to reflect it.  It will take a long time to convince retailers fans want this stuff. That’s why I have no problem buying independently-produced fashions from Elhoffer Designs, Redbubble, TeePublic, George Shot First, and the like.  Not only do fans have to ask for what they want, they have to show people what their interests are.

Which gets me to Star Wars Prequel Appreciation Day 2017.  It’s not just my thing anymore, so I suspect other prequel fans will carry on as usual on May 19 but since it is the 15th anniversary of AOTC (which was not acknowledged at SWCO), SWPAS is celebrating it on MAY 16, 15 years to the day it was unleashed upon the world!  For prequel appreciation day, I want all prequel fans around the world to #ShowYourPrequelPride.  I don’t care if it’s with memes, collections, stuff you wear, or viewing parties, etc., just show everyone you’re a loud ‘n proud prequel fan.  And use this handy dandy hashtag with whatever social media you use!

Beginning tomorrow I will for the next 15 days post about AOTC, leading up to May 16.  Stay tuned!

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41 Responses to “2017: The Year The Prequels Have The High Ground?”

  1. joe Says:

    forgive me for asking but what does sisyphus mean?

    • lazypadawan Says:

      Greek mythology; Sisyphus was a guy condemned to roll a boulder up a hill only for it to roll back down before he could get it up there, and he’d have to start over.

    • maychild Says:

      Sisyphus was a king in Greek mythology. He was greedy and deceitful in life, so after he died he was doomed to an eternity in the underworld of rolling a large round boulder up a steep hill, then watching it roll back down when he reached the top.

  2. andywylde77 Says:

    One thing I find funny is that one complaint about the PT is that it was all just walking, talking, and sitting. Yet there are complaints that there were too many light saber fights. And those saber fights consisted of flipping, twirling, dancing, etc. Well some people need to make up their minds here? Which was it, sitting and talking or flipping and dancing?

    I was watching Hellboy 2 last night and the end fight with Hellboy and the prince was nothing but flipping, twirling, jumping etc. Yet no one whines about that? Even the director of those films is usually brought up as one that should have made a SW movie. I am surprised that the Marvel movies don’t get all this heat for all the action scenes they have that are just flipping and twirling and all that?

    So basically the PT are a set of films that have people walking, talking, sitting, twirling, dancing, flipping, etc.? The hell you say! I guess all the scenes of soldiers exchanging blaster fire, ships engaging in battle, pod racing, speeders chasing each other, people riding creatures and other action scenes must just be all walking and talking to some folks? I guess they hated the scenes in the OT of Ben and Luke SITTING in his hut and TALKING I guess? Or when Luke was SITTING in Yoda’s hut TALKING to him? I could go on but I believe I made a point here.

    • Pedro Felipe Says:

      What’s wrong with talking? Those haters speak such nonsense. And the talking scenes are aweasome, Star Wars is much more than just pew, pew.

    • jarjarbacktattooguy Says:

      Palpatine sits and bitches throughout most of ROTJ. You’d think he would walk around a little more just to stop the stiffness. Does big geek-media complain about that? ROTJ = EPIC FAIL!

      I think people really like the twirling and flipping and rolling, but the youth today doesn’t get George’s philosophy. The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles had almost no twirling, flipping or hip hop dancing. It did have plenty of sitting and talking, and sometimes standing and talking. I think George originally wanted to go in that direction for the prequels. Serious, high minded costume drama…with short, dead dudes.

  3. Martin Hay Says:

    15 years ago this month? Wow has that time flown! AOTC will always be a special movie for me. I was in a pretty miserable place back in the spring of 2002, working almost every evening and weekend in a job I hated to get myself through college whilst also trying to maintain what was, in the end, a pretty bad relationship.

    It’s fair to say I was badly in need of some escapism, and that is what Episode II was; pure, unadulterated escapism. It probably comes closer than any of the Star Wars films to capturing the spirit of those Flash Gordon movie serials that George Lucas had in mind when he first conceived the whole idea. So enraptured was I by the mind-boggling, ground breaking special effects, and the thrill of watching Luke Skywalker’s parents fall in love, that Clones became the first movie for which I ever went back to the cinema for repeat viewings. Every time I sat down in front of that big screen, the giddy thrills Lucas provided genuinely made me feel like a kid again. It’s fair to say I became obsessed with that movie, listening constantly to John Williams’ beautiful score and snapping up any merchandise I could get my hands on.

    Just yesterday I purchased the theatrical poster for AOTC and my wife is happy for me to hang it above the bed. I know that every time I see it hanging there it will remind me the times I saw it on the wall as I walked through the hallways of the old Colchester Odeon Cinema for another two hours of wondrous escapism. In short, it will remind me of how George Lucas provided me happiness when I needed it most. And for that I shall always be grateful.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      That’s an awesome story!

    • Shaman McLamie Says:

      My dad isn’t a Star Wars fan, but he’s always had an appreciation for how every movie pushed special effects and the technology of cinema making. I will forever remember after watching Attack of the Clones in theaters how wowed my dad was with how clear and crisp the movie looked because it was shot in Digital. Remembering this only made me more disappointed when J.J. Abrams and Colin Trevorrow said they would shoot in film instead of digital. He said every Star Wars movie wowed him with what they could do special effects wise and how they pushed what you could put on the big screen. Thus far there is really only one Star Wars movie that he didn’t come off as being impressed with in any way.

      • joe Says:

        i don’t get the complaints i mean film has changed in over a 100 years first they were silent then came talkies then technicolor than wide screen then cgi coputer animation digital instead of film 3-d surrond sound thx granted 3-d has been a mixed bag but you get what i’m talking about film has evolved in the last century so complaining about cgi is stupid they even said that the new predator will use practical effects seroiusly these people need to get a life it’ the 21st century and people get hung up over cgi? hopefully the tide has indeed turned for the prequels may the force be with you

      • joe Says:

        sorry meant to say computer and it’s the 21st century

      • Pedro Felipe Says:

        Yeah, that was a total disaster. Even the way they handled the 35mm was just dirty. It has tons of horrible grain and the colors are just so supersaturated. It’s gonna look much worse when it is (inevitably) transfered to HDR because of all the loss of detail, particularly in the dark areas. Compare it with the sweet gradation of dark shades from the poisonous creatures in Padmes room from Attack of The Clones. the force awakens looks worse than A New Hope from 1977, because, you know, George knew how to operated a film camera and painstankinly restored the negatives from the best sources he could find using state of the art technology because he cares about his films and the haters keeps bashing him for that. They also bash him for using the CineAlta HDW F900 which IS superior to 35mm film in both effective resolution and Dynamic Range (which means an HDR remaster of the prequels would be sweet) and has been used since in many other more recent movies even though the haters classify it as “crap” , basically single handedly kickstarting the Digital Cinema age. This “crap” of a camera, that was literally designed at George Lucas request for The Prequels (he didn’t get it in time for The Phantom Menace, but only did some shots of that movie as a test), is still in use today (yes, today) and goes by about $80,000 in B&H. It’s been used in Dexter series (2013), Ripple Effect movie (2007) and the recent Mike and Molly series (2016), among many others.

      • Pedro Felipe Says:

        And I won’t even get started with the camera George used to Shoot Revenge of The Sith, the Sony HDC-F950, which was used in Avatar…

    • jarjarbacktattooguy Says:

      AOTC is probably the pulpiest of the prequels. All of the Burroughs, film serial and pulp comic inspirations are really obvious.

      The imagery of Padme chained to the pillar echoes every sci-fi adventure comic from Eclipse or Marvel Epic I ever read.

      Prepare…to narfle the garthok!

  4. senatorbinks27 Says:

    Blizzard Entertainment has a companywide crossover game called Heroes of the Storm, to which they have just added Overwatch’s Genji to the playable roster. Genji is a ninja who was cut down by his brother and rebuilt as a cyborg. One of Genji’s joke quotes?

    “In hindsight, I really should have listened when Hanzo said he had the high ground.”

  5. Bayonne VeterinaryMedical Says:

    Eh, who knows? Maybe if we can peacefully beg Mary Franklin to have a big Phantom Menace 20th anniversary event at Celebration 2019, this can work in favor for us.

  6. Keith Palmer Says:

    I’m afraid I’ll be away on vacation on May 16, and don’t know what sort of online access I’ll have that day (which has happened to me on significant Prequel Appreciation Days before), but I’ll at least try to keep this one in mind.

    Whenever “things might be getting a little better” comes up, I seem to have to respond with young Anakin’s “I hope so… yes.” Still, for all the worrying I did beforehand about the new revival of Mystery Science Theater 3000 wielding the same familiar “jokes” against designated fan targets, when the “riffing” of the second episode on the Netflix playlist included “Execute Order 66,” I realised after an electric instant it was a reference that didn’t seem to me to be built around negative expectations. (Of course, I still have eleven episodes to get through, and anything could happen in them…)

    I’m not completely certain whether “if anything I’ve noticed this happening mostly among those who didn’t like the prequels or were kind of lukewarm about them” was referring to “this” as “realizing Lucas’s influence was important after all”. I’m conscious all the same that not very long after I’d concluded The Force Awakens didn’t seem “actively prequel-hostile” after all, my creeping detachment set in on thinking “bleak failure” had been applied to the “original” characters “too”…

  7. Pedro Felipe Says:

    My God! 15 years! And I just bought a Lego Ultimate Collectors Edition Obi Wan Episode II Jedi Starfighter, I think I’ll post photos of it on May 16 along with the rest of my collection!

  8. Moose Says:

    I know that I have said it before so please forgive me, but I am one whose appreciation of the Prequels was enhanced by Ep. VII. I grew up with the Originals, but I loved I, II & III when they came out. In the run-up to TFA, my opinion of the Prequels soured probably due to the negativity of my fellow Gen-Xers.

    I liked TFA very much when it came out and saw it twice at the theater. Then I tried to get my 3-year old little girl to watch Ep. I (she came in and out but loved the pod race). I realized after only a few minutes of TPM that something was missing from TFA.

    The Disney Star Wars experience to me is sort of like the Resurrection Stone from Harry Potter – you can bring your loved ones back to life, but it is just not the same. They do not want to be brought back and what’s missing drives you insane.

    By the way, I got the Little Golden Book versions of the movies for my little girl and she loves them. She and I watch a different scene from one of the movies every night.

  9. Helen Says:

    I didn’t become a PT fan till 09, and I definitely feel the tide of negativity has turned. It’s that overwhelming distaste that the PT movies are no good what-so-ever that has changed. I hope so. But that hate never changed how I felt about these movies. I was never fearful of expressing my love for the PT from day 1.

    Love the hashtag idea. Will use.

    xx

  10. Phen Says:

    i remember AOTC so fondly. I had avoided spoilers and had no clue Yoda was going to duel . Still my favorite surprise in a theater ever. AOTC has so many great things, I have always wanted to see Jedi in their Prime, and i think we got it. as Yoda said “the shroud of the darkside has fallen” such an important part of star wars. Palpatines plans enter into action.

    I was so happy to see teh continued prequel love at SWCO. I think you are seeing a slow shift to honoring the entire saga.

    Battlefront II is having stuff from all eras. Fantasy Flight Games, has ignored the prequels in their products, but recently came out with the Destiny Card game which has cards from all ERA’s as well

    Lego has always had a good mix, and continues to do so.

    I think it is natural to see the major push in marketing be toward the new film of the year, but i just want to see some prequel stuff tossed in with all the rest.

    thanks for your good work. I’m a Saga fan, i want it all.

  11. Kim Says:

    Always ready to celebrate AOTC!

  12. George Shot First Says:

    Great post! We couldn’t agree more. And thank you for the shout-out as well! We’re seeing new people reaching out every day expressing their love for the prequels.

    There’s absolutely a change in consensus happening if it hasn’t happened already. The PT may never be as universally beloved as the original trilogy, but then again, who knows? Sometimes it takes films decades before they find their audiences.

    Could just be another example of GL being ahead of his time! Wouldn’t that be cool?

  13. Shaman McLamie Says:

    I think another thing that happened and it certainly happened with me is a lot of us Prequel fans got exposed to a lot of the hate and just got sick of it. Before when Lucas was in charge we for the most part got what we wanted, but with no other major projects in the pipeline the media wasn’t talking up Star Wars much and many if not most of us were too young to have noticed any hate when the Prequels were released.

    With the Disney sale and announcement of future movies the media was going crazy over Star Wars again and took every opportunity to bash the Prequels. It didn’t help at all that it felt like the new Disney regime was going out of their way to ignore our favorite Trilogy and a large segment of the fan base. I think a lot of us who came into Star Wars because of and grew up with the Prequels were just fed up. Luckily our push back appears to be bearing fruit. I’ll tell you we need to work on making Jar Jar Binks cool even if in an ironic sense. Because if Jar Jar Binks can flood the public conscious in a positive way I think it would forever dispel the myth of the Prequels unpopularity.

    Being a big fan of the Separatist I’ve been wearing a hat with the CIS symbol almost everyday for the last Seven Months. Albeit I finally decided to buy it after learning some really bad news and with my future very uncertain I decided to say shipping cost be damned I’m buying this. I also knew would need something to cover my soon to be bald head(looking forward to my hair growing back this Summer). I still wore it with pride and I had a lot of people ask me about it. With one exception all the Star Wars fans I met actually like the Prequels. Only met one person who said he wanted to forget about them. He was also one of my doctors in the Hospital. He was diplomatic about it and without actually saying anything came to understanding best not to talk about it. For my fellow Separatist I’ll put a link to the hat below.
    https://www.etsy.com/listing/472167076/star-wars-confederacy-cois-sandwich-peak?ga_search_query=cois&ref=shop_items_search_7

  14. Marshall Says:

    I’m reopening my Etsy shop so I can sell some handmade SF jewelry I made which includes some PT characters. Hopefully by May 16th it’ll be up and running.

  15. MithrandirOlorin Says:

    I always wanna give props to CInemaWins on youtube, they covered the Prequels during the lead up to Rogue One.

  16. zch81721 Says:

    Not to mention the Darth Mail comic from Marvel was #1 in sales in February. Also side note last year I got together a Darth Jar Jar cosplay for fun. I’ve taken it to many conventions and the responses I get are overwhelmingly positive. I’ve had so many people come up to me going “I don’t care what they say, I love Jar Jar.” And I’ve had people hug me saying thank you. Just thought I’d let you guys know.

  17. MithrandirOlorin Says:

    Also The Last Jedi has a director who has publicly spoke highly of the Prequels.

    And looking forward I think the same is true of Episode IX’s director.

  18. senatorbinks27 Says:

    Also, fun fact, I just started watching “react” videos on YouTube. I saw a thumbnail for “Try Not To Get Mad Challenge” with Jar Jar amongst the images. This naturally made me lose the challenge before the video even began, but I decided to see how bad it was.

    The related segment was near the end, and it was simply a montage of Jar Jar in Phantom. There were I think ten or so people of college age (late teens/early twenties). One woman had a hateboy meltdown, which sucked, but the rest of them?

    (slight paraphrasing)

    “You know, I actually don’t mind Jar Jar”
    “I LOVE Jar Jar Binks!”
    “Jar Jar’s so cute”
    “Am I supposed to get mad at this annoying character? It’s actually pretty funny”
    “I might get mad if I was like a diehard Star Wars fan, because I know this is supposed to be a hated character, but honestly this is the kind of character I always gravitate towards in fiction”
    “Jar Jar Rules!”

    And for every comment parroting that one woman’s meltdown, there were dozens more professing Jar Jar love.

    • zch81721 Says:

      I cosplay Darth Jar Jar at conventions and I get a lot of people that come up to me saying how much they love Jar Jar. I rarely get people that say they hate him. I’ve in fact gotten hugs from several people.

  19. Independent Radical Says:

    Can’t totally endorse “sith postings” because they’ve posted misogynist crap (and I’m on the side of the Jedi), but at least this way people aren’t forgetting the prequels existed.

    Happy Prequel Appreciation Day from Australia!

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