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.