Star Wars: 10 Changes That Could Have Made the Prequel Trilogy Better (2023)

By Alex Trent

With a few tweaks, the Star Wars prequels could have been much better films.

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The Star Wars prequel trilogy has an infamous reputation among online critics. In these circles, it is seen as one of the worst Stars Wars properties, with critics often citing large lists of complaints and video essays stretching for hours. While it is fun to count the cinema sins of a series in an exhaustive list, the truth is that a few good changes could have made a world of difference in improving the film's online reputation. Here are ten changes that could have gone a long way to making the prequel trilogy better.


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10 Jar-Jar Binks

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Perhaps the most consistent complaint about the prequel trilogy across all segments of the Star Wars fandom was the decision to include the character of Jar-Jar Binks across the three films. Fans should remember that the mascot comic relief characters concept is not new to Star Wars. In the original trilogy, the character of C-3PO also serves the same purpose and role in the films, and many viewers also complained about his presence. Still, Jar-Jar Binks was seen by many as something entirely different. What made his presence worse is that George Lucas' decision to include Jar-Jar Binks, even though his near-universal hatred by fans, soured the perception of the trilogy.

Jar-Jar's brand of comic relief often involved scatological humor and talking with a speech impediment, topics that C-3P0 generally steered clear from. Despite all the attempts by Lucas to make Jar-Jar work, the character never really clicked. Lucas would have been wise to ditch the character entirely, or at least keep him out of future films after his introduction. Without Jar-Jar Binks in the prequels, you would eliminate the loudest section of critics in one move.

9 Keep the Focus Away From Vader

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The character of Darth Vader has a reputation that proceeds himself. In the real world, Darth Vader is perhaps the most iconic movie villain. He is ranked as the greatest movie villain of all time on many Star Wars lists, and is so iconic that audiences can be primed for Darth Vader just by the sound of his breath or the outline of his helmet.

Despite all the real-life mystical worship of the character, in the original series, Darth Vader was just a more minor part of a larger story. Vader's backstory was originally reduced to just a few lines of dialogue and only served as an intimidating mid-manager that the heroes needed to confront. In Star Wars: A New Hope, the other imperial officers made fun of his goofy outfit and his "outdated religion." A big mistake that Lucas made when making the prequel trilogy was letting the popular perception of Darth Vader in the real world influence the story. Darth Vader ended up becoming the main character of the prequels, and the focus on his character worked to the detriment of the films. Many plot elements were introduced to make Vader's character more special, like a prophecy that he would save the universe by bringing balance to the force. These elements feel forced and inorganic. The trilogy would have benefitted by scaling back the focus on Vader and using the opportunity to expand the world-building and do something different.


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8 Less CGI

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The prequel trilogy was created when a CGI arms race was happening in Hollywood movies. While the technological advancements made were impressive, every scene in the film carries a veneer of fakeness that is highly noticeable. The film also used the advent of CGI to get a little lazy with the locations of the film, allowing numerous scenes to be filmed in front of a blue or green screen. This lack of effort in the backgrounds and scenery can be felt in the actor's performances, who spend much of their time walking in hallways talking. The CGI was not good enough yet to blend the actors in seamlessly, and the trilogy feels like it was shot on a small sound stage much of the time.

7 More Darth Maul

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Darth Maul was an excellent villain introduced in the first movie, with a killer character design. He also possessed the double-bladed lightsaber, which was a fun idea for lightsaber fights. Unfortunately, the character was killed off very early in the prequels, much to the disappointment of fans. If Darth Maul was a more persistent enemy, there would be more excuses for fun lightsaber battles, as well as a longstanding enemy for our heroes to develop a relationship.

6 Less Politics

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The prequels featured a heavy dose of political dialogue and scenes where characters sit around. Everyone in the universe is constantly engaged in politics, it seems, whether it is the Galactic Senate or the Jedi Council, there is always politics being discussed. While this is not inherently a bad thing, the scenes tended to drag on longer than they should and lacked an overall point. A series like Star Trek does political dialogue much better because the scenes are debating ethical or moral dilemmas that have exciting consequences or make you think. The political dialogue in Star Wars is often used for exposition for the plot or has no other purpose other than to connect two scenes together.

(Video) Rewriting the Entire Star Wars Prequel Trilogy

5 Take Away Yoda's Lightsaber

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One of the most questionable decisions in the Star Wars series was having Yoda use a lightsaber. The original purpose of Yoda's character in the original series was to show that a master of the Jedi was not necessarily a strong and intimidating warrior. The force was not something that just powerful physical beings wielded, but something beyond the physical. Nobody expected Yoda to be a Jedi Master when they first met him, proving that the force is more than meets the eye. However, by having Yoda fight in the prequels, it undermines this message. Yoda's short height is a disadvantage in a lightsaber fight, meaning his physical limitations are holding him back when the point of his character is to be above the physical.

Yoda needs to work twice as hard to stand on an equal level with normal-sized human opponents, when his character should be so skilled in the force that physical limitation should apply to him. Yoda should have used his force powers to dominate his opponents instead of relying on a stumpy green lightsaber. George Lucas originally wasn't going to have Yoda fight in the series at all, but at the last minute changed his mind to make Yoda and Count Dooku fight.

Related: Why Is Kathleen Kennedy Ignoring Star Wars' Expanded Universe?

4 Midi-chlorians

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Midi-chlorians are often cited as one of the defined failures of the prequel series. While this aspect of using Midi-chlorians does make the concept of the force lose some of its magic, it is not a huge distraction from the watching experience. Midi-chlorians were a concept introduced in the prequels to quantify the force with a number. The concept was rarely used even when it was introduced and would be better off just being cut entirely.

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3 Better Dialogue

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If the prequel trilogy is anything to go by, writing dialogue is not one of George Lucas's strengths as a filmmaker. Lucas is a master of his craft while directing a film, but during the prequels, Lucas spreads himself over every aspect of the film's production. The result is often wooden dialogue that feels out of place and sometimes highly cringe-worthy. The film has political dialogue that falls flat, and the trilogy contains many dialogue scenes throughout its runtime. With the runtime being so filled with dialogue, the series would have benefited from utilizing a writer that could make that their sole focus. The dialogue in the prequel trilogy often serves to move the story forward, but does not accomplish much more than that. Many character moments have to be told to us, but the film rarely does the job of showing us poignant character moments.

2 Make Anakin Older

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Making Anakin Skywalker older kills multiple birds with one stone. First, it allows the focus of the series not to spend so much time on Anakin growing up. This allows Anakin to be a more minor part of a larger story to the benefit of the series. Second, without as many child actor moments, the dialogue would benefit and sound more mature. Lastly, making Anakin allows him to participate in more adventures. There are many off-screen adventures in the series that fans would have loved to see. Instead, Anakin is too inexperienced to do much on-screen because of his age. An older Anakin would also make for a more compelling character because constant time skips are unnecessary.

1 More World-Building

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(Video) Star Wars: 10 Brilliant Changes George Lucas Made To His Saga

The prequel series was the perfect opportunity to expand the world-building of Star Wars, and George Lucas did flesh out many mechanics of the universe. However, the films did not do this nearly enough. Despite the galaxy being made of thousands of planets, the trilogy often revisited the same planets multiple times across the three movies. The lack of exploration in the series is another reason why it often falls flat. If the trilogy had taken more time to explore its world and mechanics, it would have captured audiences' imagination better.


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3. How to Make the Prequels Amazing in 5 Minutes (Naboo = Alderaan, and other changes)
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4. 10 Star Wars Fan Theories That Make Too Much Sense To Ignore
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5. 10 Star Wars Changes George Lucas Made That Were Completely Justified
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6. 10 Most Pointless Star Wars Movie Changes You Never Even Noticed
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