The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson has stepped up to defend the Star Wars prequels. More than 20 years after the release of The Phantom Menace, George Lucas’ trilogy remains divisive, perhaps now more than ever. While largely viewed as disappointments in their day, sections of the fandom have embraced the prequels in the years since, and Johnson is now chiming in to share his thoughts.
This all started on Twitter when Scott Malthouse prompted his followers to, “Say a genuinely nice thing about the Star Wars prequels.” Rian Johnson then jumped into the replies to share his defense of the movies, praising the storytelling and technical achievements accomplished by George Lucas. Here’s what Johnson had to say about it.
“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.”
One can share differing opinions all day when it comes to what degree The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith succeed when it comes to telling the tale of Anakin Skywalker and how he became Darth Vader. What cannot be debated gets to the heart of Rian Johnson’s second point. George Lucas undoubtedly pushed the limits of technology throughout the making of the prequels, pioneering techniques that have become standard in the industry in the yeas since. For example, Jar Jar Binks was one of the first prominent characters in cinematic history to utilize motion capture technology. Without Jar Jar Binks, we perhaps don’t have Gollum in Lord of the Rings, Caesar in Planet of the Apes or Hulk in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know them.
Another notable achievement came on Attack of the Clones. Episode II has the distinction of being the first major Hollywood blockbuster to be shot entirely on digital. Before that point in 2002, film cameras were still used on the vast majority of productions. Yet, it is now the opposite. The industry has gone digital and it is something of a noteworthy point if a movie opts to shoot on film. Say what you will about the movie itself, but as Lucas always had dating back to the original Star Wars in 1977, he continued to push the limits of filmmaking upon his return to a galaxy far, far away.
Not for nothing, but Revenge of the Sith also recently beat Avengers: Endgame rather handily in a summer movie poll. So there are quite a few who love the prequels, despite their reputation. It’s also worth mentioning that the movies went on to inspire vast Star Wars storytelling in projects such as The Clone Wars animated series, as well as a number of well-regarded novels and comics over the years. All of this to say, Rian Johnson may have a point. You can check out the post from Rian Johnson’s Twitter.