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Popularity of the Original Trilogy enhanced by Prequels?

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Hello everyone, let me start off by saying I am not a fan of 21th Century cinema. I think most of the films today lack the depth, integrity and character that make older films far more enjoyable. In the last decade, I have probably been to the movie theater a dozen or so times. I still stay current on bigger titles by watching them at my buddies place after they become available - as I am curious to view what is coming out these days but refuse to pay for this garbage.

My aforementioned buddy is a pretty big move-file but I think he gets more enjoyment at criticizing modern cinema. We were talking recently about Star Wars, the OT, Disney’s creation and all the usual topics that come along with it and I got to thinking —

Would the OT be as popular today if Star Wars was left alone after Jedi?

I think the prequels and botched re-releases of the original films drew more attention to the OT and stirred up some nostalgia. Releases and expanded universes are quite common in today’s creatively bankrupt Hollywood. The Star Wars prequels were one of the first name-brand expanded universes (with a decent budget) but they were awful. I think they rekindled interested in the OT and added millions of new fans who otherwise would have written the OT off. What do you guys think?

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First off, I strongly disagree with your claim that there are no good movies nowadays. I find myself enjoying modern movies just as much as I do older movies. I think your nostalgia might be blinding you to the genuinely good movies that are released today.

But on the subject of the OT, I think it was just as popular, if not more, before the prequels. It can’t be understated how much of a cultural force Star Wars was in the late 70’s and early 80’s. I doubt that the controversy surrounding the prequels increased its popularity much, given how popular it was already. Also, a lot of people here would disagree with you on the prequels being complete garbage. It’s not an objective thing at all.

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StarkillerAG said:

First off, I strongly disagree with your claim that there are no good movies nowadays. I find myself enjoying modern movies just as much as I do older movies. I think your nostalgia might be blinding you to the genuinely good movies that are released today.

But on the subject of the OT, I think it was just as popular, if not more, before the prequels. It can’t be understated how much of a cultural force Star Wars was in the late 70’s and early 80’s. I doubt that the controversy surrounding the prequels increased its popularity much, given how popular it was already. Also, a lot of people here would disagree with you on the prequels being complete garbage. It’s not an objective thing at all.

Sure, there are some good films today but I was speaking in generalities. The films today that I consider good are in such short supply that I cancelled my cable and subscriptions several years ago and never looked back.

Perhaps my perspective of the OT is skewed by my age (32). I suppose I am not old enough to be familiar with the Star Wars fan base before the prequels which has given me a bit of a confirmation bias.

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After the post ROTJ Ewok movie dirge SW started back on an upwards climb in popularity thanks to the all novels, all the Lucasarts games and all the toys from Kenner and Galoob. The PT may be the zenith of that journey but I think the OT movies would be remembered all the same without them.

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Mocata said:

After the post ROTJ Ewok movie dirge SW started back on an upwards climb in popularity thanks to the all novels, all the Lucasarts games and all the toys from Kenner and Galoob. The PT may be the zenith of that journey but I think the OT movies would be remembered all the same without them.

But how much did the novels really help the popularity? I think that only die-hard fans were the ones reading the novels. I guess it depends how we measure popularity - to mean it means the spreading of the ideas to people who were not originally familiar with them. I don’t see how more content being consumed by the original base makes it more popular? No?

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Slingshot76 said:

Mocata said:

After the post ROTJ Ewok movie dirge SW started back on an upwards climb in popularity thanks to the all novels, all the Lucasarts games and all the toys from Kenner and Galoob. The PT may be the zenith of that journey but I think the OT movies would be remembered all the same without them.

But how much did the novels really help the popularity? I think that only die-hard fans were the ones reading the novels. I guess it depends how we measure popularity - to mean it means the spreading of the ideas to people who were not originally familiar with them. I don’t see how more content being consumed by the original base makes it more popular? No?

But I don’t think, by that measurement, that the prequels made them more popular either. Like I said, Star Wars was a phenomenon back when the OT was released, and an insane amount of people in both the US and worldwide saw it. I don’t think it’s possible for Star Wars to become more popular than it was back in the years between 1977 and 1984.

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There are likely those who grew up with the prequels who wouldn’t be fans of Star Wars otherwise. The Original Trilogy has earned a place in history but the continued popularity of the Star Wars franchise is in how it connects with the next generation. The sequels and The Mandalorian are now part of that too. The originals by themselves would not carry the franchise into the future. I don’t think it is possible to recreate what was in 1977, so Star Wars must evolve. So embrace the new because it is an extension of the old we love so dear.

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I remember in the 90s and early 2000s SW was extremely uncool. I don’t think the PT enhanced it, more likely the exact opposite. It was the thing sweaty geeks liked and it was always the butt of the jokes on late night TV etc. Only after 2010 it began to change. It became nostalgic, geeks became cool, Disney bought it, all memorabilia went high on prices, it was everywhere. It became completely mainstream. Now it seems like it was always like that but I remember vividly that even talking about them you got some strange or even angry looks from “normal” people. That was also back when it wasn’t cool to use or play computers, now teenage girls use more technology than me and like more the new movies than me, for whatever the reason. Funny how things change.

And in the time of greatest despair, there shall come a savior, and he shall be known as the Son of the Suns.

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I couldn’t give away my Star Wars #1 after Phantom Menace premiered. I bought it for 60 during the early 1990s and after 1999 they wouldn’t give me more than 25 for it. I haven’t gotten it graded i’d say its maybe a 4 or 4.5, Its still only worth 60 bucks.

The sale of Lucasfilm to Disney has inflated the asking prices for a lot of things just because its Disney.

But the actual value of said merchandise hasn’t gone up. Except maybe if you are dealing in rare scripts, documents or props. Or vintage toys.

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Star Wars has always been popular. I don’t even know how you could argue otherwise. The fact it wasn’t AS popular when it was just books and video games (even though those books and video games were almost constantly best sellers) isn’t a sign that it was unpopular, just that it’s MOST popular when its movies.

The idea that “Sweaty nerds” kept it alive has always benefited sweaty nerds sense of self worth more than anything. It’s not all that reflective of reality. Star Wars sold billions of toys, books, video games, and more between 1984 and 1998. Nerds don’t move billions of dollars of ANYTHING by themselves. It’s never happened. You hit billions because regular folks like it.

I don’t think the PT enhanced the OT’s popularity. It probably enhanced ROTJ’s reputation more than anything, I will give it that. But the OT, and more generally, STAR WARS was always super-popular. Probably always will be. Even if now it seems like it’s most popular as TV instead of as a Movie. But then again, you could argue TV is more popular than movies now. And at this point, pretty much everything IS TV right now. So Star Wars is probably in a good place in that regard - like it basically always has been.

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At the end of the day, there’s no way Star Wars would have been left untouched forever. Even if Lucas had passed on making the Prequels, he would’ve sold the company sooner or later and we’d have new movies whether we want them or not.

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Star Wars as a franchise seems to be getting less and less popular among many casual fans with each new trilogy. PT was average and ST was a complete shit. However, bad advertisement is better than no advertisement, so perhaps at least the new stuff reminds the new audience that the franchise exists, which inevitably leads them to OT.

Even without the new films, there have been plenty of Star Wars video games coming out in the past three decades that kept the whole thing alive. Nowadays, video game audience is almost as big as film audience.

真実

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If the last new Star wars we ever saw was back in 1983, the franchise wouldn’t be as popular as it is today. The originals may have maintained a reputation of being groundbreaking for their time, and a cultural touchstone, but so many young people have an attachment to Star Wars that has very little to do with the originals. They most likely only saw those movies out of curiosity about how it all started.

As it is now, all parts of Star Wars reinforce each other. Each generation has their own take on it. I’d say it’s more correct that the prequels, as well as other new content, is what will keeps people aware of Star Wars. I don’t see an end in sight, and that’s comforting.

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I definitely think that the PT and/or Clone Wars (or at least the hype for them) was responsible for getting younger generations interested in Star Wars. I know I probably wouldn’t have taken the interest in the OT that I did were it not for newer content.

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I’d tend to agree with you that what came after the OT has definitely made me cherish the OT more. The prequels were a good idea executed for a younger audience according to George and the Disney era just didn’t have a overarching story arc.

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Rodney-2187 said:

If the last new Star wars we ever saw was back in 1983, the franchise wouldn’t be as popular as it is today. The originals may have maintained a reputation of being groundbreaking for their time, and a cultural touchstone, but so many young people have an attachment to Star Wars that has very little to do with the originals. They most likely only saw those movies out of curiosity about how it all started.

As it is now, all parts of Star Wars reinforce each other. Each generation has their own take on it. I’d say it’s more correct that the prequels, as well as other new content, is what will keeps people aware of Star Wars. I don’t see an end in sight, and that’s comforting.

I think it’s really the exact opposite way around: People more often get introduced to Star Wars because of the older content (usually the OT), and check out newer stuff later.

Death of the Author

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SparkySywer said:

Rodney-2187 said:

If the last new Star wars we ever saw was back in 1983, the franchise wouldn’t be as popular as it is today. The originals may have maintained a reputation of being groundbreaking for their time, and a cultural touchstone, but so many young people have an attachment to Star Wars that has very little to do with the originals. They most likely only saw those movies out of curiosity about how it all started.

As it is now, all parts of Star Wars reinforce each other. Each generation has their own take on it. I’d say it’s more correct that the prequels, as well as other new content, is what will keeps people aware of Star Wars. I don’t see an end in sight, and that’s comforting.

I think it’s really the exact opposite way around: People more often get introduced to Star Wars because of the older content (usually the OT), and check out newer stuff later.

Speaking from personal experience, Sparky is correct. I was introduced to Star Wars around the same time that Phantom Menace was coming out, but I was too young to be aware of new movie releases, so my first experience was my parents showing me the OT. It took me a couple years, to around the time AotC was coming out, before I even learned about TPM and that there were more than just three Star Wars films. I was introduced to Star Wars as just a trilogy of films, and I was initially confused that there were more, and if Star Wars had remained just a trilogy, I would have still loved it just as much and been just as obsessed. The age of the films didn’t matter to me at all. I do have nostalgic attachment to the prequels, but my nostalgia for the OT is much stronger and goes further back.

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I think if a person watched the Prequels and hated them, I would say “who knows, there is something better in the Star Wars universe you might enjoy” and encourage them to give the OT a chance. If they loved them, I’d say, go see the originals, but keep in mind these were made a decade earlier and don’t match up perfectly.

Many fans (myself included at one time) put Star Wars (and to an extent, George Lucas) up on a pedestal. This means we hold it to an unrealistically high standard OR we treat it in a cultish manner that prevents us from seeing anything wrong with it, and make us defensive towards those who don’t share our zeal or obsession. I don’t hate the Prequels, it’s really just that I was disappointed with Episode I. It was a bit of an overload back then too… too much hype, and I backed off a bit from the franchise then, retreating into the stuff I liked. Something similar happened with Disney star wars, but by then I wasn’t as invested to begin with so it wasn’t so shocking. I became jaded, cynical, and this is probably boring you, so you should skip to the next post. OR, continue on… I warned you. 😉

For some people, they gave up on Star Wars because of the prequels. Others went back to the OT. A few people grew up with the Prequels and didn’t ever care to get invested in the originals. It never fails that when a new installment of something this popular comes out, it will cause “divisions” in the “fandom” (it’s talked about as if it’s a nation, religion or family, when the only thing that unites “Star Wars fans” is some generic love of a brand).

I recall when Force Awakens came out, the #1 argument from those who overwhelmingly supported it was “at least it wasn’t the prequels” or “star wars is back” or something similar. That opinion soured for a lot of folks with the disappointment of the next two movies, but for a time it seems like dislike of the prequels was on full display.

I don’t begrudge fans their opinion. Yes, at one time (in the 90’s) I was “shocked” to learn that my favorite piece of Star Wars, ROTJ, was regarded by many as the “worst” thing in the franchise (other than the Holiday Special, I guess). All of the people I knew, I guess were fans my own age, so they all disagreed, but everything I read was that ESB was the best, and ROTJ was the worst. Oh well. I don’t begrudge those people their opinion. I remember spending time on forums where if you hated the Prequels, you were considered “not a true fan” and even a “bad person,” some kind of bandwagon “hater” or “snob” who didn’t “get it.” People would defend the prequels by pointing out flaws in the OT, and say it was still George Lucas’ vision so take it or leave it. It was a weird time. I had problems with the prequels, mainly episode I, but I didn’t hate them. Then again I did hate the last jedi and while I see just how goofy Rise of skywalker was, and didn’t consider force awakens anything special, I didn’t hate solo (I just didn’t bother to think of it as “canon” in any way shape or form) and while Rogue One was fine, it came across as a really desperate attempt at fanservice. I only bring that up because I feel like a lot of the same arguments and feelings got brought up with that trilogy/series run as what happened with the prequels. I don’t think it’s fair to just say new stuff always will cause a conflict between fans who like the new stuff better than the old, or because people hate change or others feel obligated to like everything to be considered a true fan. Tastes are different. I didn’t hate the Mandalorian or Rogue One or Solo (even though it wasn’t anything really special) so I’ll defend myself against those who would say I hate stuff just because it’s new or different from what I previously accepted. I didn’t start liking the prequels recently, I always did, but I agreed with those who heavily criticized them (again, especially Episode I). If you disagree with me, I don’t judge you a lesser fan, by no means. If you’re the type of person who wants to nitpick, who is going to be disappointed if the episodes don’t all gel together perfectly, I would not want to set you up for failure though.

And someone is going to read this now and say I’m a hater, I’m a cynical jaded fan who hates everything, who has standards that are too high, who has nostalgia goggles on, who can’t tolerate people enjoying themselves. Bollocks I say. Far from it, I’m perfectly willing to admit other people have different tastes and that’s not better or worse, just different. I thought the Mandalorian was fine. It wasn’t bad. Not revelatory, and I can nitpick it if I want to, but to me Episode II and III were fine.

Does the Prequel Trilogy enhance the original star wars? If you mean does it make you want to go see the originals again… sure, I guess they do that. They are based around stuff that is said in the background of the classic trilogy. Basically all the snippets that Obi-Wan and Yoda say about the past, are what we see on screen. The trouble is that back then it was mysterious, so we used our imaginations and what we got may not have measured up. And the other thing is that historically speaking, the Prequels were mainly a new creation of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, they weren’t what George Lucas “always intended” (and that’s fine, I have long ago rejected the hype that he had a perfect 12 part saga all planned out in his head… the man clearly is just a mortal filmmaker who had some cool ideas and collaborated to create some really awesome stuff, even if it’s not godly perfection).

I try NOT to hold the Prequels in my mind when I’m watching the OT. If I do, I end up nitpicking stuff and it becomes less enjoyable and more laughable. “Obi-wan, you lying drunk!” “Chewbacca, you jerk!” etc. No, I just ignore the Prequels except when I’m watching the prequels or some material based upon them (like the Mandalorian). But I can’t avoid thinking about the OT when watching the Prequels, to a certain degree, so it’s tough.

As a fan of another franchise, Highlander, which has massive continuity issues from one installment to the next, I have learned to check a lot of that nitpicky-ness at the door and just trying to enjoy it for what it is. I don’t do major movie marathons and have a clipboard in front of me. It’s fun to do the nitpicky thing, but I got most of that out of my system when the movies were still in theaters. Again, I don’t begrudge someone who wants to do that.

For sheer entertainment value, I consider Episode II up there next to Empire Strikes Back. It may be because I didn’t see ESB in theaters originally… I wasn’t a teenager when it came out and it wasn’t my favorite growing up. I appreciate it now more than I ever did, but I genuinely enjoyed myself seeing Episode II (far more than Episode I), and I acknowledge that as far as a lot of fans are concerned, it is the worst of the prequels! And for me Episode III was really the only one that “needed” to be made, and yes it could have been better, but it was pretty good. I watched it TOO much in 2005-2006, so the point where I hadn’t seen it for years (Until recently when I did a week long marathon of the Lucas movies, after seeing Rise of Skywalker).

Again I think if all a person knew was the Prequel Trilogy, I would recommend they give the OT a try, because I think overall its better, and better or worse, it was what started it all, but I think they hold up today, regardless of technological advances or cultural changes.

I love that fan editing exists, everybody has a different idea of how to improve these movies. I appreciate that effort, and I also appreciate the films for what they are, warts and all. To a degree I like laughing at bad movies too, but despite some of the inherent hokiness (sp?) of Star Wars in general (I love Star Wars, again, don’t get me wrong), I expect it to be good, and so it’s jarring when it doesn’t live up to the standard I set for it. Still, the Prequels really weren’t bad, even if a lot of the CGI looks dated now. And as time goes on, do worse movies soften my attitude to previous installments? There is probably some truth to that as well.

<i>TCBOO</i>

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Both eras have good worlds but for some reason the OT had a special effect in me many people in my age are more PT Fans

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SithYoda13 said:

Both eras have good worlds but for some reason the OT had a special effect in me many people in my age are more PT Fans

I’m with you on this. I admire that the prequel era is a very boldly different and creative era, with a phenomenal story in my opinion, and I can get invested in it because of The Clone Wars and novels set in that time - but I love the OT and the prequel films just feel incongruous to them for me. Not because it goes for a different tone or whatever, they just don’t feel like prequels, and the execution of the story has a good many drawbacks.

I appreciate that the prequels are able to be loved by so many though. I think nostalgia does play a big part.

“Remember, the Force will be with you. Always.”

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Rodney-2187 said:

If the last new Star wars we ever saw was back in 1983, the franchise wouldn’t be as popular as it is today. The originals may have maintained a reputation of being groundbreaking for their time, and a cultural touchstone, but so many young people have an attachment to Star Wars that has very little to do with the originals. They most likely only saw those movies out of curiosity about how it all started.

Young people don’t care about Back to the Future, Indiana Jones, etc.?

After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true. ~ Spock