I’ll always prefer and defend the Prequels to the Sequels. Growing up I loved both the Prequels and Originals equally. So in a way I have nostalgic feelings about both but it’s more complicated than that. I can see some flaws in the Prequels now but I can also point them out in the Originals. No Star Wars movie has ever been perfect and that includes Empire.
I really have no problem with the Prequels “ruining” mysteries in the Originals as to me personally they add to experience and the story is meant to be watched I-VI.
Yoda using a lightsaber is meant to echo his words of war not making one great. How does he know if he didn’t experience it?
You see Palpatine’s overconfidence on full display when he thinks he’s defeated Yoda in the Senate Chamber. This foreshadows his downfall.
“His fate will be the same as ours.” Welp! Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Palpatine all three did die on a Death Star.
Anakin and Luke learn the same lessons in their first and second film but ultimately make a different choice when it comes to their third film. However the beautiful thing about Return of the Jedi is that it’s the coming together of both their choices and destinies to destroy the Sith and Palpatine. So Anakin has another chance to get it right.
You don’t really get these and other experiences if you watch them IV-VI, I-III. You may get the shock value of the reveals in Empire but there’s more to Star Wars than that. It has grown and evolved into something bigger than these story points.
Another reason though it’s more complicated is because I was genuinely really invested in the Sequels. The first year or two for the most part I really loved The Force Awakens and loved Rey wholeheartedly. I truly related to her as our life experiences are very similar to each other. I didn’t think it would age as well as VIII and IX when they came out but I accepted its lack of original vision as I felt assured that’s what was coming next. I felt assured and trust that George’s story was still being used as Kathleen Kennedy said they only made a few departures. It made sense. The Last Jedi came and I felt a numbness and bad feeling that something was wrong. I didn’t hate the film but I didn’t love it either. It was vastly different from what I was hoping as I was thinking Rey would be a Skywalker in some way. Afterall we’re following the Skywalker family saga and George asked J.J. once about Darth Vader’s grandchildren. As time went along I was somewhere between accepting this isn’t George’s story and denial. Bob Iger’s book came and I felt hurt. Finally The Rise of Skywalker came and the moment we see Rey’s parents leaving her on Jakku I was finding peace. I told myself this isn’t George’s story and that’s okay. It was then revealed she’s Palpatine’s granddaughter and my heart sank. Leaving the film I had a fun time despite all of the nostalgia and feeling that something was off with Rey.
In the end and two years onwards I really don’t think I hate the Sequels. I don’t love them either. They’re something that gave me a roller coaster of emotions and some really fun experiences. I look back to that moment in The Rise of Skywalker when we see Rey’s parents and think to myself there was a moment of acceptance of this trilogy for what it is and that’s not George’s story but it’s okay. It ultimately passed the moment they made her related to Palpatine. It’s sickening having her related to a toxic male with no redeeming qualities and who George himself referred to as the devil. It’s sickening seeing how clearly it opened up all of the parallels with the Skywalker family and even Obi-Wan and knowing they meant absolutely nothing. They were just put there for nostalgia. She may declare she’s a Skywalker but it fails to me because of who she really is and the contextual issues it creates. It doesn’t feel like a happily ever after fairy tale like Return of the Jedi but real world sensibilities being injected into Star Wars. That’s ultimately the biggest problem with this trilogy. It’s not growing, expanding, or progressing the story forward but telling us what the writers see Star Wars as and to them it will always be the first three films. It is its detriment as it restrains what Star Wars can be and how so much has come out since then that has expanded the universe.
I’ve made my peace with The Last Jedi most. I’m grateful that Rian at least acknowledged and incorporated the Prequels into his narrative as they’re part of the fabric of Star Wars. I may not always agree with his interpretation of what Star Wars is but I can at least tell he seems to like it all and wanted to expand the story.
In the end though Ahmed Best said it best. He said that Star Wars isn’t something we believe in anymore and that it’s falling more into the Han Solo side of the story instead of Luke Skywalker. I couldn’t agree more.