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Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson defends "gorgeous" prequel trilogy

(Image credit: LucasFilm)

In recent years, the Star Wars prequels (opens in new tab) have been somewhat re-evaluated. With the Skywalker saga coming to an end, fans are looking back at the three movies set before A New Hope (opens in new tab) and wondering, "Actually, these are great?" 

Well, maybe we wouldn't go that far... Not everything about The Phantom Menace, (opens in new tab) Attack of the Clones (opens in new tab), and Revenge of the Sith (opens in new tab) can be justified – here's looking at you, Anakin's monologue about sand being irritating. However, Star Wars: The Last Jedi (opens in new tab) director Rian Johnson has recently gone out of his way to defend the prequels, sending fans once again into another argument about the prequel trilogy's merits.

Responding to a twitter user asking followers to "say a genuinely nice thing about the Star Wars prequels," Johnson commented: "[George] Lucas made a gorgeous 7 hour long movie for children about how entitlement and fear of loss turns good people into fascists, and did it while spearheading nearly every technical sea change in modern filmmaking of the past 30 years."

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Johnson's admiration for the prequel trilogy is well known. Where J.J. Abrams' movies only make fleeting references to Episodes 1 through 3, Johnson's The Last Jedi sees Luke Skywalker reckon with the Jedi Order's past – questioning why their way of life led to the rise of Emperor Palpatine and the general idea that only certain people could be special knights. 

Johnson's movie helps emphasise the points Lucas tried to make in the prequels: that the Jedi were not all good and that they feared losing power. Just look at the Clone Army, created by the Jedi as a way of keeping what they deemed balance in the galaxy. Or look at Mace Windu almost killing Palpatine outright, without trial. As Anakin says, "It's not the Jedi way!" 

Whether you agree with that reading of the prequels is something else entirely. Johnson, though, has an obvious fondness for the three movies that, for many newer fans, was their introduction to that galaxy far, far away. And what's more, the prequels have been enhanced further by the recent Clone Wars series, which everyone should seek out immediately.

Jack Shepherd
Jack Shepherd

I'm the Senior Entertainment Editor here at GamesRadar+, bringing you all the latest movie and TV news, reviews, and features. Plus I look after the Total Film and SFX sections and socials media channels. I used to work at The Independent as a general culture writer before specializing in TV and film