I grew up with Star Wars, but unlike a lot of fans, I actually started with The Phantom Menace. I was eight years old in 1999, and the experience of seeing that movie did more to propel me into watching the Original Trilogy over and over again than any marketing campaign ever could. I was, quite simply, hooked. The releases of Episodes II and III completed my viewing experience, but before then, I had The Phantom Menace and its huge array of established plot lines to ponder. Starting from the beginning and then jumping ahead gave me a glimpse of the Empire and the Jedi-less galaxy that Palpatine would establish, but it wasn’t until first 2002 and finally 2005 that I would have my many “How did we get there?” questions answered.
This was the perspective that I brought into the “Why We Love The Prequels” panel at Celebration VI, which just wrapped up a few hours ago. My friend Bryan Young from Big Shiny Robot! gathered a great group of panelists in addition to myself: Kyle Newman, director of Fanboys and one of the Prequel Trilogy’s most articulate defenders; artist Tom Hodges; The Clone Wars animator Jesse Hildreth; and actress Clare Grant. Behind the Scenes Stage host Pablo Hidalgo also brought his unique production-side experience to the discussion.
Each panelist’s unique background and personal connections to Star Wars kept the conversation from feeling like a rehash of itself. We also kept the conversation different from its Celebration V predecessor, drawing on new material for discussion like James Luceno’s novel Darth Plagueis. Everyone had also had two years to think of what they’d forgotten to say at Celebration V, so that certainly helped too!
The audience did their part by posing a handful of great questions. One person asked us what we thought of the duel between Mace Windu and Palpatine in the Chancellor’s office in Revenge of the Sith. Using that one question as a starting point, we delved into the very nature of Palpatine’s plan itself, explaining how his patience, his keen understanding of Anakin’s weaknesses, and his unique ability to manipulate the Jedi Order cemented his ability to bring about young Skywalker’s fall.
All in all, “Why We Love The Prequels” was an excellent case study in how passion for Star Wars can translate into an informed, engaging, and hopefully enlightening conversation. We all wish we’d had more time to discuss our love for the Prequels, but that’s what Celebration VII will be for!
Eric Geller is a college student with a political science major who manages social media and writes The Clone Wars reviews for TheForce.Net. You can follow him on Twitter and read his TCW reviews here.