Sign In

Design failures (and successes) of the PT

Author
Time

So clearly everyone here finds the PT inferior to the OT.  And equally clearly, everyone despises a number of plot points, from the very basis of even including Anakin, to the Chosen One prophecy, to midichlorians, to racial stereotypes (I'm not buying that one, personally), to Jedi masters with lightsabers, and so forth.  To exacerbate the criticisms, people then turn to the acting, wherein some of the most amazing actors of our day seem to give wooden performances, while others (sexy handsome Hayden, anyone?) of lesser establishment couldn't act their way out of an open beach shade tent.  But one issue less touched upon are the design issues.  Now honestly, I must admit that this may be one of the PT's stronger points, as there are several great designs throughout the trilogy.  But there are several design flaws as well.  I will name those that spring most readily to mind.

There is no iconic main ship, no equivalent to the Millennium Falcon.  We come to love that ship as a unique character of the OT, yet there is nothing, absolutely no one ship that makes it through the entire trilogy.  There are few that make it through two films (I can only think of Padme's silver ship in AOTC and ROTS and the Naboo fighters from TPM and AOTC off the top of my head), and of those that do , we see so little of them and it has so little character that it literally doesn't matter at all.

In a similar vein, there are no iconic designs of more mass-produced ships.  The X-wings, Star Destroyers, TIE Fighters, all last throughout the OT, all have an iconic, memorable look, all play a significant role in the films, and all provide a sense of continuity.  Now I like the Naboo fighter design.  But it is introduced at the end of the first film, is shown briefly at the beginning of the next, and then has no important ongoing role for the rest of the trilogy.  There are other similar ships, but it seems like they are always changing, like the Droid Control ships, the cruisers that are essentially mini Star Destroyers (can't remember the class of either, nor do I care to look it up at the moment), but there is nothing to remind us that, yes, we are watching movies in the same continuity.

Where else does the PT fall short in design?  And to be fair, what are its successes?

Author
Time

I like some of the sets. I like Tatooine, Coruscant (particularly in AOTC) and Utapau.

真実

Author
Time
 (Edited)

I have a particularily strong dislike for the lack of visual continuity between the OT & PT.

Now, I'm not talking about the shiny-vs-used-universe thing or even how technology in the PT looks more advanced than technology in the OT; I'm talking about how things which appear in both trilogies -- Obi-Wan and Anakin's lightsabers, the Tantive IV, Vader's armour, etc. --  don't match up on a visual level.

“Okay, I’m goin’, takin’ off. See ya… bye….” — Chip Douglas

“This concludes our broadcast day. Click.” — Chip Douglas

Author
Time
 (Edited)

The forcefield thing that our heroes get stuck in on General Grievous's ship at the beginning of RotS has got to be the laziest, lamest effect I've ever seen.

EDIT: Y'know, this thing:

Author
Time

The wardrobe design is pretty bad, at least for the Jedi. Despite the alien Jedi's facial features, overall, the Jedi come across as visually bland, all wearing brown hooded cloaks. I understand that Lucas was trying to stress the idea, visually, of Jedi living and thinking like monks but regardless the end result was making these characters look bland.

Kamino was a great looking planet. I know that's a theme of the Star Wars universe to have planets that are based on simple ideas: a cloud planet, swamp planet, desert planet, etc. So one fully covered with ocean continued in that same vein but provided some great atmosphere. Unfortunately the cloning station looked to "present day" in that it looked like the Apple store.

Purple should never been introduced into the Jedi's lightsabers. Blue vs Red, serenity vs anger was a simple but effective visual distinction for the good guys and bad guys. Luke was originally going to have a blue lightsaber in Return of the Jedi but for design resigns they wanted it to match the green of Endor. I'm okay with that because you could argue that since Luke was new to the ways of the Jedi, the lightsaber he constructed on his own, without proper training, might be different from the standard Jedi lightsaber. But having all the Jedi with blue, green, and purple lightsabers made it look like a rave, especially when congregated to fight on the wannabe Tatooine planet.

The droid cannon fodder had silly designs that made them look totally un-menacing. 

I did however like the design and colors of the senate room where Yoda and Sidious do battle. It felt like Star Wars right there despite my gripe with showing Yoda bounce around like a pin ball with a lightsaber.

Author
Time
 (Edited)

The Jedi Starfighters

I understand that GL wanted to foreshadow the shape of the OT Stardestroyers. The Episode II Jedi Starfighter was okay. But in Episode III they also implemented the Tie Fighter-like cockpit & extendible wings which made no sense at all. It's the unscheduled child of a Stardestroyer and a Tie-Figher - 1. It looks forced & dumb. 2. The extended wings block the pilots view to the left & right side.

Placement of R2 Units within Prequel Starfighters

Another design flaw. GL wanted to have Astro-Droids in the Prequels but his choosen starship designs made a meaningful placement of R2 units absolutely impossible. Take a look at the Naboo Starfighter when R2 is in there. It looks like R2's legs were detached from his body to fit inside the designated port. And let's not forget the "awesome" R2 Unit Eject Function of the Episode III Starfighters.

ROGUE ONE is redundant. Just play the first mission of DARK FORCES.
‘Star Wars is a buffet, enjoy the stuff you want, and leave the rest.’ - SilverWook

Author
Time
 (Edited)

Yeah, they even admit in one of the DVD bonus features that they cheated on the Jedi starfighters. Artoo's legs would be hanging out the bottom, which begs the question why not design something that an astro droid can actually fit inside in the first place? Like it was going to cost too much?

The incredible cross sections book tries to show how Artoo fits into the Naboo starfighter, and it's ridiculous.

I think the Artoo units in the Episode II Jedi fighters are supposed to be plugged into the ship all the time, and unable to run around because they don't have legs or a proper body. Not that it makes any more sense. ;)

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

Author
Time

SilverWook said:

I think the Artoo units in the Episode II Jedi fighters are supposed to be plugged into the ship all the time, and unable to run around because they don't have legs or a proper body. Not that it makes any more sense. ;)

 That is correct, and sad.

[cue discussion of droids rights and slavery in Star Wars]

Author
Time

Voss Caltrez said:

Purple should never been introduced into the Jedi's lightsabers.

Urge to BOO! rising ... 

“Okay, I’m goin’, takin’ off. See ya… bye….” — Chip Douglas

“This concludes our broadcast day. Click.” — Chip Douglas

Author
Time

Failure: "Jedi" robes. Since when are all Jedi moisture farmers?

Success: Senate Guards. I love how they took the Royal Guards and made them more human and classical.

If Plagueis shows up in the ST, not only will I refuse to watch the movies, but I won't so much as watch the trailers, either. - DuracellEnergizer

Author
Time

The general Podracer design was cool. It was a fully relatable update of the familiar chariot of ancient times. If other things in the PT had the same echoes of real world stuff it would have been better IMO (e.g. Han was a cowboy).

VIZ TOP TIPS! - PARENTS. Impress your children by showing them a floppy disk and telling them it’s a 3D model of a save icon.

Author
Time
 (Edited)

Ryan McAvoy said:

If other things in the PT had the same echoes of real world stuff it would have been better IMO (e.g. Han was a cowboy).

But wasn't Padme a brothel madam?

“Okay, I’m goin’, takin’ off. See ya… bye….” — Chip Douglas

“This concludes our broadcast day. Click.” — Chip Douglas

Author
Time

DuracellEnergizer said:

Ryan McAvoy said:

If other things in the PT had the same echoes of real world stuff it would have been better IMO (e.g. Han was a cowboy).

But wasn't Padme a brothel madam?

 No, she was a dancer at a Coruscanti nightclub. Obviously.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

Author
Time

I still have no clue how pilots get to fighters in the upper levels. Trampolines?

This could have been easily solved without changing the set design, by showing the upper fighters automatically descending to take the empty space left by a fighter departing on the "ground floor". Or by not showing any fighters leaving the upper berths at all.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

Author
Time

Ryan McAvoy said:

The general Podracer design was cool. It was a fully relatable update of the familiar chariot of ancient times. If other things in the PT had the same echoes of real world stuff it would have been better IMO (e.g. Han was a cowboy).

 I agree, the podracers were fantastic! I liked all of them and the sound design for each one was great.
The cartoon pilots were lame, but the machines were awesome.

Ray’s Lounge
Biggs in ANH edit idea
ROTJ opening edit idea

Author
Time
 (Edited)

The only design I liked from the prequels was the Destroyer droids. The things with cobra-like upper bodies that could fold into rolling balls. They seemed pretty imposing. At least next to the skeletal dog-faced battle droids in the prequels anyway.

Author
Time

^Yes, they were indeed impressive. It would have been so awesome to have seen them side-by-side with IG-88 type droids instead of those stupid "roger roger" robots.

“Okay, I’m goin’, takin’ off. See ya… bye….” — Chip Douglas

“This concludes our broadcast day. Click.” — Chip Douglas

Author
Time

As has been mentioned, the pod-racers and droidekas had good designs. I don't understand those who hate the pods because they're "obvious copies of chariots." As if everything in the OT was completely separate from real world concepts.

I also like Theed, Otah Gunga (or whatever that Gungan city was called). The Gungans...not so much, though they could have been tolerable if the ones that got screen time weren't so goofy. General Grievous's wheel thing isn't bad, although I don't know if one could really consider it a success in terms of design.

Author
Time

RicOlie_2 said:

As has been mentioned, the pod-racers and droidekas had good designs. I don't understand those who hate the pods because they're "obvious copies of chariots." As if everything in the OT was completely separate from real world concepts.

I also like Theed, Otah Gunga (or whatever that Gungan city was called). The Gungans...not so much, though they could have been tolerable if the ones that got screen time weren't so goofy. General Grievous's wheel thing isn't bad, although I don't know if one could really consider it a success in terms of design.

 I didn't even get the reference to chariots for the pod-racers. I just didn't like the design. They didn't seem like something that would be in the SW universe.

I didn't like the Droidekas either but they were a little better than the roger*roger droids. I didn't like how everything in the prequels had technological designs that were modern and smooth. In the OT everything was square and clunky like 80s tech devices, and in recent times everything got less angular and more curved. So shouldn't the tech in the PT be similar? The Droidekas also reflect this incongruity.

Author
Time

Voss Caltrez said:

I didn't even get the reference to chariots for the pod-racers. I just didn't like the design. They didn't seem like something that would be in the SW universe.

No offense, but that doesn't make a lick of sense. The podracers are basically just souped-up landspeeders.

“Okay, I’m goin’, takin’ off. See ya… bye….” — Chip Douglas

“This concludes our broadcast day. Click.” — Chip Douglas

Author
Time

"Always two there are." - The concept of only two Sith at a time

This is just baffling. I mean the Master always has to be on the lookout because his apprentice will try to overthrow him some day, right? That's a great way for an opposing faction to cooperate. And this extinct-for-1000-years stuff is too far fetched. Imagine generations of two Sith Lords debating in hiding about when is the right time to reveal themselves.

"Hey Darth Random, how long do we have to wait to reveal ourselves? I made this awesome lightsaber and i wanna kill some jedi!"

"Patience my young apprentice. We, the Sith, disappeared 500 years ago. Let's wait another 500 years to trick the Jedi into thinking we won't show up any more."

"Waiting sucks."

Make it a hundred years and it feels more comprehensible about a bunch of evil guys slowly infiltrating the Republic.

ROGUE ONE is redundant. Just play the first mission of DARK FORCES.
‘Star Wars is a buffet, enjoy the stuff you want, and leave the rest.’ - SilverWook

Author
Time

^ Design?

I liked some of the blasters in the PT (More so in TPM). I'm actually less sure about the designs I've glimpsed for TFA. They looked like they existed in the same universe as the OT, unlike much of the other designs.

I even liked Padme's silver "1950s" style royal sidearm. The sound was dreadful though (The blasters mostly all sounded weak in the PT).

VIZ TOP TIPS! - PARENTS. Impress your children by showing them a floppy disk and telling them it’s a 3D model of a save icon.

Author
Time
 (Edited)

Setting aside wether you liked, or agreed with the jedi all having a uniform... I thought they were a failure.

I guess they were supposed to look like Samurai, but they didn't. Old Ben looked like a badass ronin but that just didn't translate into the PT. They looked too clean and perfect for a start. Okay-ish with the full cloak on but then they always had to throw those away to fight a duel. Underneath they looked dreadful with those dumb shoulder pads. It's difficult to describe why they look so wrong because in theory they do look quite close to Samurai dress. They were and looked impracticle to fight in.

Found this...

(^ Click to see the deatil better)

...these fans captured it better. More closeups here. Look they even did a recreation of an iconic shot from '7 Samurai'...

VIZ TOP TIPS! - PARENTS. Impress your children by showing them a floppy disk and telling them it’s a 3D model of a save icon.

Author
Time

My biggest problem with the Pod racers was the lack of fuel tanks.

Author
Time
 (Edited)

Although I despise the prequels in many, many ways... I will point out something that was better in the prequels than in the OT for a change although it really is a small thing and does not make for a better film it's more of an aesthetic.

The Prequel Trilogy never felt to shy or it too complicated to show ships taking off and Landing. Now some may argue that it is not important to see the ships our heroes are piloting take off and land but I think it is.

In all of the OT the only proper Landing I can remember was the Falcon putting down on Bespin Landing platform. and the only proper take off was the Falcon blasting out of Mos-Eisley Oh And Boba Fett Slave 1 although even that felt inferior to the ATOC take off which drew many themes from cloud city.

The prequels always showed the magnificence of flight yet it looked a bit plastic in some regards and too cgi.

Special edition haters cover your eyes!!!

Proper exhilarating Take off of x-wing in POV view out the temple  hanger in ANH prior to battle of Yavin. As Seen in Star Wars Battle Pod (YES PLEASE!!!)

Proper Exhilarating take off of T-47 in POV view out the Echo Base Hanger in ESB prior to the battle of Hoth. As seen in Star Wars Battle Pod (YES PLEASE!!!)

Proper Exhilarating take off of Millenium Falcon in POV view out of Home One prior to the battle of Endor. As seen in the Star Wars Battle Pod (YES PLEASE!!!)

I actually only came across Star Wars Battle POD today and it really made me realise an edge that the prequels have on the OT but without the good story it is unfortunately not something to keep you coming back to the films for more magnificence of flight sequences. But if the OT had them I would have liked the special edition to go the extra mile and match the PT in this regard in some instances.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSqNgKsXmIQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bob41EQ9ifM

Had the technology have been there without doubt for the OT. But also The OT made you feel like you were there and the PT really did not make you feel like you were in many respects because of the plastic look.