This morning I went to see my very awesome dermatologist, Dr. Hsu, who used her freeze-ray gun to zap a number of moles and blemishes on my person (I did complain that I always leave her feeling like I've been electrocuted). As she was zapping me, I was making little "pew-pew" noises in my head, mostly to distract myself from the discomfort. I got to thinking about STAR WARS and I realized something.
They should have never made those prequels.
Before I'm branded a heretic, hear me out. I have two reasons for my statement (and sincere apologies to Mr. Lucas, I still love the storyline).
1. The first trilogy had elements to it that made it immensely entertaining. It was action/adventure, a space Western-Samurai movie, full of pew-pew fights with lively banter in between. We went with this story happily, giddily, because we knew that the hero and his plucky band of rebels would win. Good would triumph over evil. We were not disappointed.
The prequel is all about Anakin's descent into Vader, the destruction of the Jedi, and the rise of the Empire. It is not a happy story. The hero does not win because there is no hero. It's grim on top of grim with a side of grim. The pew-pew fighting wasn't adventurous fun, it was a desperate struggle to survive. And let's just forget Jar Jar ever happened. He was the only comic relief and he wasn't funny.
I get it--this is the only story to be told, the story of how things came to be the way they were before Luke Skywalker looked up at the double moons and chafed against life as a farm boy. Which leads me to...
2. At the end of all discussions, the prequel trilogy is backstory. It's a prologue. How many of you actually read a prologue in a book? True confession: I'll read them if they're 1-2 pages and not italicized. If I see one going on longer, I skip it. Sometimes I skip the whole book.
|Blah Blah Blah.|
What are we writers told about writing backstory? You don't plop it all into the front of the book, or any place in the book, in a big lump of "here's what happened before Chapter 1." You sprinkle it throughout the story, using it right before it's needed. There is no need to give me several pages describing your character's PTSD prior to Chapter 1 if I need to connect with that PTSD in Chapter 10.
You certainly don't need three movies to explain it.
By the end of the RETURN OF THE JEDI, I had received all the backstory I needed. Empire bad, Rebels good. Vader bad, Jedi good. Vader is Luke's father, Luke rejects Dark Side, Good conquers Evil. Did the prequels tell me anything else I needed to know?
I think not, although I guess your mileage may vary.