I owe a debt to George Lucas for creating the Star Wars prequels.
Wait. What? Did I just say that? Surely I meant the Star Wars trilogy, meaning the holy trinity of the original editions: A New Hope , The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi , right? I made a horrendous typo or suffered some sort of mental lapse above, right?
I meant what I said, as crazy as it sounds.
I’ve written here before in what I called “semi-defense of The Phantom Menace” and I’m going to do so again now.
Are the prequels rubbish? Yes. Yes, they are. I won’t argue that. How could I? I mean, I can’t even think of them as quality with a straight face. (Yes, I know Revenge of the Sith isn’t terrible, but come on. Padme dying of a broken heart? No. Just…no. I’m moving on before I really cause trouble.)
So why do I owe the prequels a debt? Why am I grateful Lucas made them, as abysmal as they are?
Because tonight I built a Lego X-Wing and it was absolutely glorious. That’s why.
And yes, that is directly linked to the prequels. Of that I have no doubt. Because let’s face it: debatable quality of the films aside, without the prequels to bring in a new generation of fans, Star Wars would just be some cult movie us old people like. It would just be one of those movies we reminisce about from time to time. We’d talk about how awesome it was and hold trivia contests at sci-fi cons about it, but we would not be building Lego sets based on it (which, by the way, are the best thing ever), because no toy company would approve toys based on a 35 year-old movie without something current going on. It just wouldn’t happen. Sure, we’d still have some stuff kiicking around. Star Wars was too important to our generation to just fade away, and a few kids forced to watch it by their parents would get it, so we’d have occasional action figures and a stream of novels to entertain us. But it would be nothing like it is now.
Without the prequels and then The Clone Wars , well, I’m sorry to say that we’d have very limited Star Wars action figure options, we’d have far fewer Star Wars games to play and we most certainly wouldn’t have Star Wars Lego.
And that, my friends, would be a much poorer world. I’m glad I don’t live in that world.
So I don’t begrudge the existence of the prequels, and before you ask, no, they didn’t ruin my childhood memories. No one can do that but me, thanks. They can’t take away the joyous days I spent pretending to wield a lightsaber. I won’t be watching them again anytime soon, if ever, but I’m perfectly fine with their existence. And yes, just as I did a few weeks ago in an in person conversation with another fan, I’ll defend them to others. Because I like my Star Wars Lego, I’m awfully fond of many of the parodies the prequels have spawned, and some of the friends I made camping out to see Episode One have stuck with me. So I say thank goodness for the prequels. Oddly enough, I owe them a lot.
So the next time someone starts in on how awful the prequels are and how they wish they’d never been made, think hard before you agree to the second part, because I bet you owe them more than you think, too.
It’s an absolutely mad idea, but I think it’s true.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a brand new original trilogy Lego X-Wing to play with. See you next time, and may the Force be with you.