In Partial Defense of the Prequels

The Star Wars prequels (Episodes I-III1) are not good films2. The debate is about which one is the worst film (the correct answer is Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones despite the Yoda lightsaber scene3). The prequels are, however, very useful in the overarching mythological narrative of the Star Wars universe4. I have come to think of them as integral to the story, but, like a terrible production of Hamlet, almost unwatchable (unlike the new Star Wars VII trailer).

Following the digital release of the first six Star Wars films, my kids have been preparing for the release of Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens by watching the prequels. In the minds of my kids, Anakin Skywalker’s character is second in importance only to Ahsoka Tano. This makes Anakin’s transition from hero to villain – from good to evil – extremely dramatic to them.

It also means that Daddy has had been required to repeatedly explain the narrative arc of Darth Vader. A complete explanation of Vader’s narrative arc requires the prequels to be understood, which is why I am cautiously glad the prequels exist. What follows is the explanation of Anakin/Vader that I give my kids (WARNING: May contain pop-psychology). Continue reading “In Partial Defense of the Prequels”