5 Reasons George Lucas Needed to Make the Prequels Regardless of How Much They Sucked
With the new Star Wars films in production, it’s only natural to be excited. Or to not care altogether. Whichever.
Though much of the excitement seemed to come from the fact that they’d be taken from George Lucas and put into the hands of capable film makers that love the material even more. We’d all seen what Lucas does with his decades-old properties and it’s been time for a change.
But even with Lucas’ plan for the prequels becoming glorified mannequin positioning, is there anything to salvage from them? Are they three films with nothing for us to take away? Maybe, but here are some ideas on why they needed to be made for one reason or another, whether or not they sucked.
And man, did they suck.
5. Leave No Stone Unturned
Notice how everything is a sequel, adaption or reboot these days? If none of those things, it can just as soon be recycled garbage with no originality to it. But every writer has a story they want to tell, even if the final product comes off as if nobody actually making the move wanted anything more than to create an elaborately made Apple commercial.
Sometimes we scream “Just leave it alone!”
We often say that because we don’t want any further tinkering done to something that feels as though there’s going to be an inevitable ruining of whatever it is we love. Sometimes we’re right and that’s exactly what’s done to our beloved stories. Other times we’re glad a sequel was eventually made, with the Planet of the Apes movies being recent examples.
But from Lucas’ perspective, would he ever have lived it down if he’d never written anything past 1983’s Return of the Jedi? He could have escaped and went onto make something else great (or something crappy) but we would have never known what else goes on in the Star Wars universe. It was HUGE and we got a great story out of it, but isn’t there more? Freddy and Jason get ten sequels each but Star Wars has to be limited to three?
Now we look back and say “YOU SHOULDA LEFT’EM ALONE LUCAS! DAMN YOUS!” before we drive away in a black Cadillac with our greaser friends, but we can only say that now that they’ve been made and we know they’re not good. Anybody remember how excited we were for Episode I? Because we wanted to know what it was going to be like. And now we do. Man, do we know…
And to boot (Yeah- to boot) I wonder how accepting people would be to others doing Star Wars sequels if Lucas hadn’t done the prequels first to show us that others may actually be more fit to continue them, contemporarily.
4. Relevancy (for the kids)
With the recently released Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles garnering a lot of attention from being a previously successful franchise for an older generation, the new film calls upon younger fans to do their childish duty and beg their parents to buy their ticket to the latest CGI-extravaganza. And the parents oblige because, in many cases, parents are fans too. But what happens in that dimly-lit theater, as your kid sits wide-eyed, and mouth open, blown away by everything he sees on screen and every “DUDE!” that’s exclaimed? You’re lightly gritting your teeth, cringing at this on-screen travesty that you barely recognize from your childhood.
As you leave, your kid sings the incredibly repetitious rap song that’s played throughout the credits as you leave disappointed that only your kid appreciated it. What a letdown right? Why couldn’t TMNT or the Star Wars prequels be good enough for the original fans as well as the kids? Why couldn’t we ALL just enjoy it?
Now while I wouldn’t argue that Star Wars is for kids alone, one could argue that they are movies that are made with kids in mind. While the trade embargos plot-line of Episode I and all it’s Galactic Senate stuff would just cause a short-circuit in any five-year old you’d attempt to make understand, it’s just as soon that they forget entirely any of that stuff and focus on how cool the podrace was. And did you know some kids actually like Jar Jar Binks?
The point is, now there’s an entirely new generation that’s going to grow up with their own Star Wars trilogy that they can love just as much as you love the original trilogy. How could they, right? They’re just not as good. I’ve met a lot of people out there who didn’t watch the original trilogy as a kid but only as an adult and guess what? They didn’t like it. But had you grown up watching them, it’s much tougher for many to look back and say it didn’t have an affect on them. Ultimately, Lucas’ plan to create an entirely new wave of Star Wars fans has worked and his legacy is a tainted one, but one that will remain.
3. Profit (Through controversy which means continued interest)
The more people talk about something, good or bad, the more notoriety it gains, and if you’re selling something, the more money it makes. Controversy sells, and when people find out that a new version of the thirty year old thing that they love is being made again, it’s going to be talked about. Jersey Shore and Kim Kardashian are examples of two stupid things that never really seem to go away because people just won’t leave it alone despite how many people can’t stand them.
So it’s only natural that Star Wars movies people don’t even want to like will still be seen. All of this to really say that no matter how much money Lucas makes, he’s unable to say “I don’t think I want anymore cash money. Mo’ money, mo’ problems, right Diddy?” And then Diddy would be in a big fur coat and just be like “Yeah, G.” At least that’s how I imagine it.
This seems to be the most obvious reason to make a movie because, A. It is. And B. Can you blame him? Of all the toys and video games and the five hundred other ways to sell a product, Lucas is ultimately a film maker, so he’s going to go back to film. Why wouldn’t he eventually return to what made him huge in the first place? And of course, the money is a natural trophy to look back on and say “Yeah. I’ve still got it.”
Even if these movies would have people believe he’s not that talented as a filmmaker after all, he’ll still be remembered as a filmmaker and not just a former filmmaker that sells toys.
2. Capitalize on modern methods he helped create
You’ve got to get this one from the header alone. Could you imagine help create a car but never driving one yourself? While money is understandable, at a certain point, it’s just not needed. What’s one billion on top of three? But to help create and define revolutionizing film-making techniques? You’ve got to give credit to the man (and his team) for that. So even if he didn’t actually have all the prequels planned out perfectly from the beginning, can we blame the guy for wanting to take advantage of these techniques twenty-two years later?
Since the time Lucas used them, other film-makers had been doing it and making it even better, so why shouldn’t the originator of them apply them to the universe that needed them in the first place?
And while this can be looked as a way for Lucas to flex his effects muscles, it’s safe to say there were a lot of people that wanted to know how a modern-day lightsaber fight would go, or the crazy kind of aliens we’d be able to see through the use of Lucas’ special effect methods, which aren’t limited to just the visual, but THX, a sound quality assurance program, is his as well. This seems insignificant until you watch a movie like The Room and you hear how bad a movie can truly sound.
1. To stay rebellious
Now here’s one that really is just for Lucas and I can imagine there will be most that sympathize but few who really level with him on this. If you’re not entirely familiar with the history of Star Wars, back before it was made, Lucas was something of an independent rebel himself and really hated that he needed to go to a big studio like Fox to get financing for his Space Opera.
This isn’t to say he was a starving artist as much as it was that he liked doing things his way. It’s not really difficult to look at the script and see how weird it was. So of course he was going to encounter problems when it came to getting his “little” sci-fi drama made. And that was the way it was for years. Just some four-eyed dweeb attempting to convince the suits they should give him their money so he could do what he wanted with it.
Twenty-two years and billions of dollars in revenue later, George Lucas is the man himself. CEO of Lucasfilm, his own hugely successful production company, among other things, Lucas is no longer Luke Skywalker; the young gun out to liberate the world from oppressive, creativity killing corporations…he’s Darth Vader. Or the Emperor. The point is, he’s the man now and indie filmmakers compare themselves to him as the standard.
To some, that would sound like a great thing and without being the man ourselves, we know it’s got its perks. But when you’ve spent a good part of your professional life wishing, hoping, and fighting to do things your way, it’s almost a curse to actually get what you want.
So what do you do? Well, there’s no pleasing everybody all the time and if you want to make your movie, regardless of who likes it, well then dammit- it’s going to happen! In a way Lucas was rebelling against the fans, the only people he ever had to answer to at that point.
And while you could just as soon compare Lucas to any other money-grubbing corporate buttwipe who does what he wants with a universe you love, we’ve got to remember that while the memories are ours, the universe is his; he thought it, designed it, put it in motion for us to see.
So I’m not saying it’s not your right to be mad at how sucky the prequels were, but if Lucas wanted to put them out there, he was going to make it happen. And if we all hated them (We did), that was just how it was going to be. Still, sometimes you’ve got to do what you think is right, even if you’re wrong for doing it just so you can get it out of your system and know it was wrong instead of always wondering what could have been.
No, that’s not applicable to cheating, I’m talking about creative projects, pervs.