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ONLY ONE JEDI LEFT
August 9, 2011 9:18 PM   Subscribe

I saw the Star Wars prequels, over the six-year timespan that it took to make them. They were... OK. But I never went forward again to seriously re-watch IV V and VI with new insights I gained from the prequels. What did I miss?

Some movies, like MEMENTO, or even THE SIXTH SENSE, you can make it to the end and then say "WHOA!!" and then, armed with knew knowledge, watch the movie again and see the same thing but with sharper eyes and enhanced knowledge. I am just wondering if Ask Metafilterers could point out some articles and web pages discussing "Things from the Original Trilogy made cooler and more interesting by the Prequels". Or, if there even are any.
posted by shipbreaker to Media & Arts (32 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
There really aren't. The prequels make the original trilogy make LESS sense, through things likes like 'why didn't Darth Vader recognize C-3PO when he built him?'
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:20 PM on August 9, 2011 [22 favorites]


I think you're more likely to find 'Things from the Original Trilogy which make no bloody sense any more, due to the Prequels'.

Like: anything to do with C3P0.
posted by pompomtom at 9:21 PM on August 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


R2D2 is the real hero of the series.

And when C3PO says "thank the maker" in the original, he's actually (unknown to him) referring to Darth Vader.
posted by Paragon at 9:23 PM on August 9, 2011 [8 favorites]


Definitely watch III and IV back-to-back at some point; many scenes, like the return of C-3PO and R2D2 to Tatooine, Luke gazing at the setting twin suns, and Obi Wan giving Anakin's lightsaber to Luke, have a lot more "punch" to them.

The lightsaber battle at the end of IV looks so amazingly clunky next to the carefully choreographed battles in the prequels but the added context is great.
posted by Diskeater at 9:25 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's only one good scene from Episode IV that has more meaning after watching the prequels, and it's when Obi Wan sees R2D2 on Tatooine and says, "Hello there! Come here my little friend. Don't be afraid."... where you can't help but think that at that moment "he knows" what it means when R2 shows up-- that this involves Luke, Darth Vader, and that after all that time he's spent being a hermit, the shit is about to hit the fan.
posted by deanc at 9:33 PM on August 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I always enjoyed this Star Wars theory that might give you some further insights.
posted by dealing away at 9:40 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Obi-wan facing off Darth Vader in IV has a lot more backstory. When I first saw it, I interpreted it as "Obi-wan knows he is going to lose to this implacable mystery man Darth Vader, so he is pulling a third-option".

After the prequels, Vader's boasting sounds like he's trying desperately to build his own confidence - last time Obi-wan took away all his limbs and made him sit in the timeout corner.
posted by kithrater at 9:45 PM on August 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is a better version (the original?) of the R2-D2 is the real hero essay.
posted by gerryblog at 9:50 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now you know what Boba Fett looks like.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 9:56 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Whoa! moment, in movies like Memento and The Sixth Sense, is kind of the point. They are non-linear movies and would be COMPLETELY boring if you knew the actual chronology, i.e., knowing that Leonard is actually looking for himself. In fact, there is a code sequence you can enter whilst watching the DVD that will actually play the movie in a linear order. It makes the movie so awful; just as going back to watch it, once you know how it ends. Sure, you pick up on certain instances that seem to, all-of-a-sudden, make the ending so obvious (you start wondering how you never saw it before). But, you're never going to get the "Whoa" moment again.

I think the Star Wars prequels are a different monster. They definitely provide you with knowledge that can enhance (or confuse) Episodes IV, V and VI; but I often think the two trilogies are better kept as separate entities. I'll tell you something about all six movies that is quite interesting - find someone who has never seen any of the movies, and have that person watch the films in chronological order. We (myself and some friends - not the royal 'we') did this with a friend; her perception of the Star Wars saga is sooooo different from the rest of us, who watched them as we were growing up (in order of release).
posted by AlliKat75 at 10:28 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Speaking of Memento, my preferred method of dealing with the prequels is faking retrograde amnesia. I sure am looking forward to them! When will they be released in theatres?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:57 PM on August 9, 2011 [8 favorites]


http://vimeo.com/6149148
posted by RobotHero at 11:06 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Honestly - the best course of action I can recommend is to forget I, II and III were ever made.

Like the others above - the whole C3PO thing. Also, the conversation between Luke and Leia where Luke asks "Do you remember your mother? Your *real* mother?" (i.e. not her adoptive mother from Alderaan), and Leia replies with a memory - which we already know now must be false because we saw their mother die in childbirth. Darth Vader later taunting Luke with "Sister! You have a sister!" - yes, we *already* know that you know he has a sister.

etc.etc.etc. (plus, no more Jar-Jar - EVER)
posted by alchemist at 12:17 AM on August 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Protocol and astromech droids are probably hard to tell apart. Vader likely didn't spend much time thinking about his childhood friends (like, Jar Jar... and Kitster) and inventions. And how much time is he around 3PO in the original trilogy anyway, other than the carbonite scene?

I don't think Obi-Wan recognized R2 after rescuing Luke. He doesn't seem to be playing coy when he says he doesn't remember ever owning a droid.

Leia's memory of her mom is a problem, and I haven't heard any plausible explanations of it, other than maybe it being something she felt through the Force (which is a last resort to explaining a lot of discrepancies).

And the whole "sister" thing was a ploy by Vader to get Luke pissed enough to fight him and flirt with the dark side.

I'd rather this not be yet another retread of the "prequels sucked" debates. For the most part I'm glad the prequels were made, but yeah, I have my gripes about the continuity too. (Like, Chewie doesn't like old Obi-Wan, but he fought with the Jedi in Ep III. You'd think he'd have some appreciation. And R2 doesn't like old(er) Yoda, but he clearly had to know who he was in the prequels.)

One thing I realized much later on is how the whiny, petulant Anakin of the prequels (at least as characterized by most naysayers) almost makes Vader more cool in the original trilogy, not less, as you would first think. If he'd always been a "badass," like so many wanted, there wouldn't have that maturation process. But now it's almost chilling how he evolves into a cold, ruthless, efficient military leader and Sith.

My favorite scene in the entire series is when Vader and Luke have their first duel. After seeing the prequels, that showdown is even more dramatic because you realize how much the younger Anakin was like the callow, naive Luke. And now you see him as Vader, taunting Luke by fighting him off with a lightsaber in one hand (which Lucas wasn't thrilled about when he saw that cut, btw).

There are probably others that'll hit me later, but this was the first thing I thought of.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 1:13 AM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


It changes the "I am your father" scene; instead of being a shock to the audience that Vader is Luke's dad, it is more about Vader seeing his young self in Luke and telling himself "this is my son, I was once like that", the beginning of his redemption.


Also, I like to think that "midichlorians" were a controversial concept within the story, like there was a faction of "Scientologist Jedis" who made them up to justify the Force with pseudo-science, and Qui Gonn was amongst the last of them. The rest of the surviving Jedis and Sith understood that the Force was something that was far greater that could not be quantified. It almost gives more impact to Old Ben's description of the Force.
posted by jozxyqk at 2:43 AM on August 10, 2011 [6 favorites]


I don't think Obi-Wan recognized R2 after rescuing Luke. He doesn't seem to be playing coy when he says he doesn't remember ever owning a droid.

Well, yes, you're technically correct, but the scene does have a lot of resonance if you think he recognizes R2, in the same way that Ben's description of the force in light of Qui Gonn's talk about midichlorians resonates a lot more. alchemist has the best, objective approach (it's the one I take), but you can have fun with the originals in light of the prequels sort of as an intellectual exercise.

Heck, even the original trilogy was made up a bit on the fly-- I don't think Luke and Leia were intended to be siblings when Episodes IV and V were written. This kind of exercise is one in which you have to take the works in isolation and purposely forget that they were created without a plan, somewhat ignoring George Lucas's intentions, and only then can you put together a meaningful interpretation, if that's what you want to do.
posted by deanc at 6:06 AM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I dunno, TheSecretDecoderRing. Its easy and interesting to read Vaders force choking people left and right as temper tantrums. 'question my giant ball of death and my lightsaber?!? die!" Also: "you have failed me for the last time" 'last time? it was the first ti*gurgle*'

And yeah, Wookies probably dont like Jedi much any more... That whole 'oops, dead, now wookies are slaves to the empire thing'

Lucas totally messed up the pacing of the prequels... ep 1 was.... almost entirely unecessary and jumbled. For fun, watch the Red Letter Media reviews of stuff. Worth every hour.
posted by Jacen at 6:10 AM on August 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Stepping away from just criticizing the new movies (not that I couldn't/haven't spend hours doing so), there are a few things.

The way that the Emperor plays Anakin and turns him to the Dark Side is fairly interesting. He sets up a situation in which you can fairly reasonably see how Anakin would think the Jedi are up to no good. It's not perfect but is done serviceably well. Also the general idea of how the Emperor was playing both sides and so fomented a civil war just so he could grab power, and created the Clone Army so that it could fight for one side and then turn on the Jedi.

The utter defeat of the Jedi and their allies (like Bail Organa) is fairly powerful. You can see how they have no choice but to retreat and why it takes nearly 20 years for them to score a victory. (The recent game The Force Unleashed adds some nice backstory on the origins of the Rebel Alliance.)

There are a few nice parallels. The scene early in III with the Emperor and Anakin and Count Dooku vs. the scene at the end of Jedi with the Emperor and Luke and Vader, and the ideas of the Sith always trying to supplant their maters. Some cutesy foreshadowing, too, like Obi-Wan saying that Anakin will be the death of him and why the Sand People are very afraid of Jedi.
posted by davextreme at 7:04 AM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Darth Vader later taunting Luke with "Sister! You have a sister!" - yes, we *already* know that you know he has a sister.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but why would Darth know that Luke had a sister? I don't believe Anakin knew Padme was expecting twins, and by the time she delivered he was a charred torso. Yoda and Obi-Wan immediately try to hide Leia by sending her to live with Organa.

I'd rather this not be yet another retread of the "prequels sucked" debates.

Agreed. Let me just say that, as a father of an 8 year old, I can tell you that for a whole generation of people, the prequels definitely did not suck. We can argue about what audience Lucas should have made the prequels for, but if we believe him that he made the prequels primarily with a young audience in mind, he unequivocally succeeded.
posted by pardonyou? at 7:28 AM on August 10, 2011


Correct me if I'm wrong, but why would Darth know that Luke had a sister?

I always assumed he was using the Force to read Luke's thoughts and/or emotions.
posted by Fleebnork at 7:34 AM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I always assumed he was using the Force to read Luke's thoughts

Then why did he need to torture Leia in IV?
posted by banshee at 8:21 AM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Speaking of Memento, my preferred method of dealing with the prequels is faking retrograde amnesia. I sure am looking forward to them! When will they be released in theatres?

Remember Obi Jenkins!
posted by ian1977 at 8:31 AM on August 10, 2011


> Then why did he need to torture Leia in IV?

Leia had no knowledge then. Luke was told she was his sister and Vader picked up on that during their last confrontation, I guess.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 8:50 AM on August 10, 2011


I always assumed he was using the Force to read Luke's thoughts

He was, basically. I don't remeber the exact line, but when Luke is hiding from Vadar, Vadar says something like: "Your thoughts(feelings?) betray you..something, something..sister. So you have a twin sister. Obi-Wan was wide to hide her from me"

Then why did he need to torture Leia in IV?
Because Lucas did not know he was going to make Luke and Leia brother and sister when he wrote IV? And therefore the Leia in IV had no force energy pulsating out of her for Vadar to connect to. One could argue that because Leia did not know she processed the force, Vadar would have not felt the connection, but that's bull. Vadar felt a connection to Luke, prior to Luke having any knowledge of his own power, when they were in separate ships floating in space.
posted by Epsilon-minus semi moron at 8:56 AM on August 10, 2011


Oh shit. To be clear, my "One could argue that because Leia did not know she processed the force, Vadar would have not felt the connection, but that's bull." Was not directed at you Horselover Phattle. I did not see your post prior to witting mine, i promise.
posted by Epsilon-minus semi moron at 8:59 AM on August 10, 2011


Heh, no worries. Yeah, if Vader was a Force master he shouldn't have needed to resort to any crude interrogation or torture tactics to extract information. It's all pretty sloppy anyway. Star Wars is about the broad strokes metaphors, not the details.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 9:06 AM on August 10, 2011


banshee: "Then why did he need to torture Leia in IV?"

Why did he need to torture Han in VI? "They never even asked me any questions."

Because Vader liked to torture people. That is why he was on the dark side.
posted by I am the Walrus at 11:04 AM on August 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ah, but he tortured Solo so Luke could sense his friends' extreme feelings and come to their aid. Enjoying torturing people was merely a side bonus.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:31 AM on August 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


As others have noted, there's plenty to criticize about the prequels (I'm an OT fan through and through and prefer to consider the prequels as...not quite actually canon) -- but that would not be answering your question and would probably fit the definition of "chatfilter".

But as far as an actual answer to the OP's question goes -- the ONE thing that the prequels did do for me in terms of making the OT more interesting to watch in certain ways was really drive the Jedi Council into more of an ethical/moral grey area.

Growing up it really seemed to me that the OT films presented the Jedi as unambiguously Lawful Good, whereas the prequels presented a more complex reality of political gamesmanship, cultural inertia, etc.

To the extent I am willing to accept the prequels as canon-in-my-brain I actually rather like the way Anakin's backstory reflected NOT just a simple matter of "being seduced by the Dark Side" but also his having been seriously "mismanaged" and essentially misparented by a bunch of people who, regardless of their good intentions, were far from being kindly, all-knowing Wise Ones.

Watching the OT movies again after the prequels it actually seemed almost bittersweet (and very human) the way characters like Obi-Wan and Yoda described the events of the past in a manner that, while not "idealized", definitely suggested they still saw themselves as having done the best they could.
posted by aecorwin at 1:06 PM on August 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ooh, and something else -- seeing all those super-shiny ships in the prequels definitely threw the relative grunginess of the rebel ships in the OT into sharp relief. As a kid I remember actually being confused when the Millennium Falcon was described as "a piece of junk", given that I had no basis for comparison. But now the aesthetic of the OT films, despite this probably being somewhat of an unintentional effect, seems a lot more...appropriate, in light of what the rebels actually had to work with and how they must have been scraping by for hardware, etc.
posted by aecorwin at 1:12 PM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


alchemist: "Darth Vader later taunting Luke with "Sister! You have a sister!" - yes, we *already* know that you know he has a sister."

Pedantry: Actual dialogue is:
Your thoughts betray you. Your feelings for them are strong. Especially for...sister! So, you have a twin sister. Your feelings have now betrayed her too. Obi-Wan was wise to hide her from me. Now his failure is complete. If you will not turn to the dark side, then perhaps she will.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:14 PM on August 10, 2011


Because Lucas did not know he was going to make Luke and Leia brother and sister when he wrote IV?
Actually, one of the books that came out before IV this one supposedly has a lot of sexual tension between Luke and Leia or something like that.
posted by delmoi at 6:40 PM on September 11, 2011


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