In a newly-released interview, Star Wars actor Mark Hamill defends the controversial prequel trilogy, praising the films’ unique identity.
In a newly-released interview with Mark Hamill, the actor defended the controversial Star Wars prequel trilogy. Comprised of Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Episode II – Attack of the Clones, and Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, the prequel films are still widely-debated among Star Wars fans today, despite Episode I having premiered over 20 years ago. Written and directed by George Lucas himself, the space epics take place 32 years before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.
Lucas’ vision for a Star Wars prequel trilogy first came to fruition in the early 1990’s. After the original trilogy first captivated audiences 20 years prior, hopes were high for a follow-up to the beloved sci-fi series. Headlined by Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, and Liam Neeson, The Phantom Menace was announced in 1993. But to the shock—and anger—of many fans, the first installment in the trilogy series was a massive flop when it debuted in 1999. Critics unabashedly slammed The Phantom Menace, citing bad dialogue, pointless plot points, and a little too much Jar Jar Binks. Audiences had extremely high expectations after the original trilogy, leading to widespread disappointment when the Star Wars sequel trilogy simply couldn’t live up to its predecessor.
While speaking with the late J.W. Rinzler for his recently-published book, Howard Kazanjian: A Producer’s Life (via IndieWire), Hamill defended the controversial Star Wars prequel trilogy. While he sat the prequels out, Hamill praised the movies for having “their own identity”. He also revealed how shocked he was at the brutality of social media users, “not just in the case of Star Wars films, but across the board.” Hamill’s full quote can be read below:
“I was impressed the prequels had their own identity. They were criticized because they were exposition-heavy and more cerebral and probably, like he said back in 1976, they weren’t as commercial. It’s a darker story. But in the age of social media, people’s voices are amplified, and I’m shocked at how brutal they can be, not just in the case of ‘Star Wars’ films, but across the board.”
Hamill has never shied away from expressing his love for Star Wars. The 69-year-old actor has eagerly participated in Star Wars projects since his initial portrayal of Luke Skywalker. Recently, Hamill appeared in the Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian, Making of the Season 2 Finale on Disney+. Working alongside show creators Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, Hamill and a reference actor worked with de-aging technology to create a deepfake post-Return of the Jedi Luke for the season 2 finale of The Mandalorian. But while Luke’s cameo in The Mandalorian was met with overwhelming praise, his earlier appearance as an older version of the Jedi in the Disney-backed sequel trilogy was not.
Having received much of the same criticism as the prequels, diehard Star Wars fans blasted the movies for their lack of creativity and divisive approaches to the franchise’s most iconic characters. One of the sequel trilogy’s biggest critics is Lucas’ former wife and Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope editor, Marcia Lucas, who told Rinzler “Kathy Kennedy and J.J. Abrams don’t have a clue about Star Wars. They don’t get it.”
But despite the relentless criticisms, not all is lost for lovers of the prequel trilogy. Star Wars: The Clone Wars, 2008’s animated Star Wars show, was widely praised amongst fans. Featuring Obi-Wan, Anakin, Padme, and other characters from the prequels, The Clone Wars takes place between Episode II and III. A unifying show for Star Wars fans of all ages, The Clone Wars introduced audiences to new characters like Ahsoka, who’s set to receive her own live-action series on Disney+. Obi-Wan Kenobi is also hitting the streaming service soon, and sees McGregor returning to the titular role. So while the legacy of the Star Wars prequels might be a bit convoluted, one thing’s for sure: Hamill will always stick up for his beloved franchise.
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