For this list, we’ll be looking at all the reasons Star Wars fans tend to dislike the prequel trilogy, and analyzing the factors that earned the prequels their less than interstellar reputation. 

  1. Well... yeah. Jar Jar Binks is arguably one of the most disliked and offensive characters in the history of film. Some critics claimed that George Lucas was clearly using the character to appeal to children and to sell merchandise, but others took it a step further, saying the Gungan was in fact a racist caricature. Some fan theories suggest that Jar Jar was originally written as a major antagonist of the series, but the overwhelming negative response to the character caused Lucas to scrap those plans. Regardless, the Jar Jar we’re left with is the perfect symbol for why the prequels are so despised by many Star Wars fans.

  2. Sure, the main plot of the Star Wars prequels revolves around Anakin Skywalker turning to the dark side of the Force, and the emergence of the Empire. But between those broad storylines, the films are full of plot holes. The main reason for this is the plot is unnecessarily convoluted. A major issue in the first film is the blockade of Naboo…but do we ever see the blockade? Does it even matter? Why are the Jedi unable to sense that the most powerful Sith in the galaxy is literally in the same building as them? Heck, why is there a child-sized helmet in the ship Anakin flies in the first film? In a series this exposition heavy, how can there be so many plot holes? 

  3. The original trilogy was incredibly difficult to film. But, because they used real sets and locations, it felt real: the setting felt real, the characters felt real, and the story felt real. This realism is lacking in the prequels, and one of the main reasons behind this is the overuse of CGI. Everything seems squeaky clean, but it’s clear the actors are not interacting with their settings because they aren’t actually in the settings. The action scenes are so full of CGI droids, ships, and armies that it’s nearly impossible to follow what’s going on. The use of CGI may’ve made life easier for George Lucas, but it hurt the overall quality of the films. 

  4. If the original trilogy is primarily Luke’s story, then the prequels are Anakin’s story. All the pieces were there for this to be extremely effective. Watching a beloved character tragically fall into darkness would have been powerful and would make his redemption near the end of the series all the more fulfilling. But, we instead get a whiny, unlikeable child and an angry, whiny, and unlikeable young adult. We are constantly told about how much he loves Padme and how he’s great friends with Obi-Wan, but we never actually see this on-screen. Ultimately, the audience is never given the chance to even like our main character, which makes his fall from grace far less interesting or meaningful. 

  5. In the original trilogy, Obi-Wan described the Force to Luke as an energy field created by all living beings. It was mysterious. It was powerful. And it was ruined in the prequels thanks to midichlorians. In the first film, Qui-Gon Jinn detects that Anakin is powerful with the Force by analyzing the midichlorian count in his blood, a move that completely undermines the faith-like way the Force was previously presented. One of the biggest complaints with the prequels is that they provided explanations for things that didn’t need an explanation, and this is the perfect example. The Force was awesome on its own – it didn’t need a backstory. Sometimes, less is more. 

  6. Yes, the original films are set against a political backdrop, but the idea is fairly simple: a group of rebels attempts to take down a tyrannical empire. “A New Hope” is even simpler, as our heroes spend most of the film attempting to rescue a kidnapped princess. The first film of the prequels, however, revolves around a complicated interplanetary trade dispute, while the opening scene of the film has two Jedi Knights attempting to negotiate with the Trade Federation to end a blockade. Politics can be interesting and can be effectively worked into an action/adventure film, but trade routes and blockades aren’t quite what the audience was expecting. 

  7. Obviously, when telling the story of how a young boy named Anakin Skywalker turned into Darth Vader, there are gonna be some characters from the original trilogy. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda are guaranteed, but did we really need to see that Anakin built C3P0 or that R2D2 was involved in nearly every important moment? Even worse, elements like Boba Fett being a clone or visiting Chewbacca’s home planet seemed completely unnecessary and only made the plot more convoluted. By shoehorning these characters in, the films actually created several plot holes in the original trilogy that previously didn’t exist. 

  8. Many of the prequels’ flaws come down to one simple fact: the writing is not strong. While the dialogue of “A New Hope” isn’t without its clunkiness, the blandness and banality of the conversations found in the prequel films are challenges few actors could conquer. Many exchanges have awkward, forced dialogue, particularly the scenes between Anakin and Padme or Anakin and Obi-Wan. Unlike the original trilogy, the prequels are frequently guilty of over-explaining; telling much while showing very little. 

  9. Even amid all the lightsaber battles and lost limbs, the original trilogy featured one of the best big screen romances ever. The prequels attempted to recapture the magic with Padme and Anakin, but failed miserably. This romance feels incredibly forced right from the start, when child Anakin awkwardly asks Padme if she’s an angel. Fast-forward to the second film where Anakin grows more serial killer-like and stalks her, to the point where Padme even claims that she feels uncomfortable. And yet we’re supposed to believe that she eventually falls in love with him? When? Ultimately, it neuters the climax of the third film because the audience was never given a reason to believe in this relationship to begin with. 

  10. Acting can make or break a film, and unfortunately for the prequels, it was the latter. Natalie Portman was more wooden than her talent should allow, and later admitted that the films actually cost her work. Samuel L. Jackson seems disinterested at best, while the child actors Daniel Logan and Jake Lloyd received more than their share of criticism. But Hayden Christensen is perhaps the worst offender. While he didn’t exactly have the strongest writing to work with, other actors were able to overcome it. Christensen had the weight of the prequels on his shoulders and was ultimately unable to rise to the occasion, to the disappointment of many. 

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