However, this isn't a defense of my taste in movies. It's supposed to be a blog post about another way the prequels could have been done. Something that helps here is that Lucas is happy to leave big steps in the story arc to the scrolling text at the start of movies. When I read those texts, I see entire movies in them all by themselves.
The way the prequels work now are a bit like this:
- Episode I: Find the child of the prophecy and start laying pipe beats for later.
- Episode II: Anakin is tempted to the dark side through love and other emotional attachment
- Episode III: Anakin turns to the dark side, destroys the Jedi and becomes Darth Vader
It hits several steps that are required to get the audience to the starting place of Episode IV. In doing so, it labours a few points and condenses others. The labouring is laboured (midichlorins, pod racing, shouting "Yippeee!"). If I could reboot it, I'd suggest these:
- Episode I: Find the child of the prophecy in the temple, follow his training through until he is out in the field. Let him age within the film.
- Episode II: Anakin is tempted to the dark side through love and other emotional attachment, turns against the Jedi and becomes Darth Vader at the end of the film.
- Episode III: Anakin hunts down the Jedi, and the Jedi desperately try to put the Skywalker newborns into hiding.
To put it another way, condense the current prequels into two movies, and embellish the chase into hiding while establishing Vader as the Dark Lord of the Sith. We'd see more of Vader as a villain and see the Jedi retreat, perhaps leaving the audience with the same feeling we have at the end of Episode V.