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Saga The Politics of the Prequels compared to the Sequels

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Darth Weavile, Jul 23, 2022.

  1. Darth Weavile

    Darth Weavile Jedi Master star 3

    Oct 10, 2017
    So this randomly crossed my mind, but I was thinking about how interesting the overall story of the prequels was- how a Sith Lord slipped through the cracks to get himself in power legitimately before causing a war in which he controlled both sides like chess pieces all in the conquest of ultimate power- and he succeeds. It’s a tragic tale that has roots in real life examples of rising fascism- it isn’t always just a stronger force seizing power, it can be subtlety manipulated behind the scenes. And unfortunately, many fans seem to have missed the point of this- slamming the prequels for its politics and calling them “boring” because there are talks of trade routes and Senate scenes and what not. I admit when I was a kid the political scenes went over my head, but I have an appreciation for them now. It had never crossed my mind how the Emperor became, well, the Emperor. Now I understand the genius of the character- a guy pretending to be a good guy ends up being the most evil of them all. This blew my mind as a kid.

    Contrast this with the Sequels, where they obviously got the wrong message and didn’t explain galactic affairs at all. We get a quick shot of not-Coruscant blowing up in TFA because JJ Abrams believes “prequels bad, politics bad,” because he doesn’t understand Star Wars in the least. And so we’re left with an utterly confusing conflict of the not-Rebels versus the not-Empire. All for it to be hastily revealed in the final installment that Palpatine returned, with no prior explanation or foreshadowing.

    I think if George did the Sequels, he would’ve gotten the politics right. He understood that it’s an essential part of telling the story of Star Wars, even if many of the fans don’t. Too many fans care about member-berries like the Millennium Falcon and Darth Vader’s mask because it reminds them of their childhood- without thinking about how the story has to be coherent to fit into a saga.
  2. anakinfansince1983

    anakinfansince1983 Skywalker Saga/LFL/YJCC Manager star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Mar 4, 2011
    That is a nice thing about already being an adult when the PT came out—not only did I get the politics, they were a favorite aspect.

    Lucas has a quote about all democracies eventually becoming dictatorships by citizens willingly handing over power to a dictator, and I think the PT showed this very well. The OT and Rogue One also did a great job showing democratic forces fighting against fascists.

    The ST, on the other hand, was so focused on telling us why one particular fascist deserved our sympathy and how the freedom fighters “created” him that it missed the mark.
  3. CT-867-5309

    CT-867-5309 Chosen One star 7

    Jan 5, 2011
    I think the politics of the PT are indeed boring. They're not particularly interesting and certainly not particularly coherent, but at least they're there, they fill in the galaxy and add depth and world building, making the GFFA feel like an actual place. At least they give you something to think about and engage with, even if they're not particularly engaging.

    There's really nothing in the ST to compare to the PT. There's nothing there, not the slightest bit of depth or world building. The GFFA in the ST is just empty, non-existent. There's really nothing to think about or engage with, and that's by design. It's just rebels vs empire again, you're supposed to lift your conception of the galaxy in the OT and place it on top of the ST, but that doesn't work at all, and it's certainly not of any interest.

    It's like comparing a book with actual text and a book full of empty pages. One had a lot of thought and work put into it, the other was given no work at all. Not sure what's supposed to be interesting about 300 blank pages.

    This is why appreciation of the PT has grown. Not necessarily because people who once hated it now love it, but because the ST lowered the bar about as low as it can go. It's impossible to deny how much more work and care went into the PT in comparison to the ST.

    So even someone who is not a fan of the PT politics appreciates them so much more than the emptiness of the ST. It's the difference between something and nothing. Star Wars fans went 10 years without Star Wars movies, they were starving for something, but were given a big, empty nothing burger to swallow. Certainly nothing to chew on.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2022
  4. SmokeMonster4815162342

    SmokeMonster4815162342 Jedi Master star 3

    Dec 31, 2015
    Yeah, not showing the thriving New Republic before blowing it up is just insulting to the OT.

    And it's just poor overall storytelling of the stakes. Visually, TFA plays as if the Empire is still in control, when it's not the case. Their need to recreate the flavor of ANH worked against the actual story they were telling.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2022
  5. darth-sinister

    darth-sinister Manager Emeritus star 10 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 28, 2001

    "This idea of a democracy being given up and in many cases being given up in a time of crisis, you see it throughout history whether it's Julius Caesar, or Napoleon, or Adolf Hitler, you see these democracies under a lot of pressure, in a crisis situation, who end up giving up a lot of the freedoms they have and a lot of the checks and balances to somebody with a strong authority to help get them through the crisis. It's not the first time a politician has created a war to try to stay in office."

    --George Lucas, Lenoard Maltin interview, 1999.

    "To get an idea of the kind of man Palpatine is in the prequel trilogy you need to read about the Roman Emperor, Julius Caesar, and his spectacular rise to power in Rome."

    --George Lucas, Lenoard Maltin interview, 1999

    One of the larger issues that surfaced in the telling of Anakin's fall to the dark side and his rise to becoming a corrupt figure was that of the fall of democracy at the hands of the very people who initially fought oppression.

    "You have the personal issue of Anakin and his turn to the dark side, but then the children later bring him back to being a human being," Lucas says. "But the larger issue is that you've given up your democracy, and that the bad guys never took it -- it was handed to them. That theme was there 30 years ago which came out of the Vietnam War and Nixon wanting to change the rules so he could get a third term."

    "I'm a big history buff and I was really into Caesar at the time," Lucas recalls. "I always wanted to know why the Roman Senate gave Caesar's nephew a dictatorship after they had gotten rid of Caesar. Why after the revolution in France did they create an Emperor? Why did the Germans after they had a Democracy after World War I, turn it into a dictatorship? Those were my initial questions 30 years ago."

    --George Lucas, Star Wars Homing Beacon #142.
  6. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Nov 15, 2004
    The ST politics is a lot more subtle.

    Mainly that a democratic society, in the name of freedom, should not allow evil to grow.

    But that's really in the fact that the Chancellor is called Villecham.

    Or, Neville Chamberlain.

    Starkiller thus = blitzkrieg.

    First Order = Nazi's who hated the result of the last war resulting in peace.

    But after that, it's just a war.

    Does the OT even have politics? [face_oops] After the Senate is swept aside, that is.
    wreath likes this.
  7. darth-sinister

    darth-sinister Manager Emeritus star 10 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 28, 2001
    The politics aren't in the OT, other than the Senate being dissolved in ANH and control belonging to the Regional Governors, who answer to Palpatine. The point is that there's no reason for the First Order to exist like it does. The ANH novelization gave us a general outline of how the Empire replaced the Old Republic. The ST fails to do that.

    I've wagered that since Disney was aware of the complaints about the Senate scenes in the PT, that they pushed for their absence in the ST.
  8. Ghost

    Ghost Chosen One star 8

    Oct 13, 2003
    Yeah, the ST was super disappointing. I really enjoyed the politics in the PT (and it's not nearly as much screentime as complainers think it is). The fall of the Republic mirrored the fall of Anakin, and those 2 narratives were great and the big justification of the PT.

    They tried too hard to make the ST a retread of the OT, but with even less worldbuilding and justification, and less of a unified narrative in general.

    I've enjoyed "Bloodline" by Claudia Grey that begins to explore the politics of the late New Republic, just wish it was actually in the ST. Which really should have been the New Republic versus the reborn Empire (even the name "First Order" is just not good).
  9. SmokeMonster4815162342

    SmokeMonster4815162342 Jedi Master star 3

    Dec 31, 2015
    They honestly just went too far with the ANH recreation.

    Like even if they wanted to bring back Stormtroopers and all that, which is understandable, we could have still recaptured the old while doing something new, like if the FO were positioned more like terrorists, or specifically like the rebels in the OT. Not in power, but fanatical and dangerous nonetheless.

    And a little bit of Bloodline should have been in Ep7, with Leia failing to convince the senate of the FO’s threat. And then maybe the senate gets bombed or something, kicking things off. (The bombing scenes in Star Trek Into Darkness come to mind)

    But the New Republic worlds never should have been blown up. If they really wanted a Starkiller, we could have built back up to it by Ep 9, nearly undoing the victory of the OT, but not quite, as the heroes save the day. Having the final film of the saga as your ANH/OT homage may have felt more appropriate.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2022
    Sith Lord 2015 and Count Yubnub like this.
  10. Ghost

    Ghost Chosen One star 8

    Oct 13, 2003
    Even ANH had more political context than the ST.
  11. SW Saga Fan

    SW Saga Fan Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Apr 19, 2015
    The only thing I can say regarding politics and world building in the PT compared to the ST, is that the PT made the already established galaxy in the OT wider, with a very interesting universe to follow. On the other hand, the ST made things smaller, with no explanations or background story regarding the state of the galaxy after the end of the galactic Civil War in ROTJ.
  12. Sky_alma

    Sky_alma Jedi Master star 3

    Jun 27, 2022
    Totally, I think that's one of the aspects that made the prequels so good for me. The worldbuilding in these movies was phenomenal.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2022