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Old 11-09-2013, 09:32 AM   #11
Nebby. Back into the bag.
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One of my biggest disappointments with the prequels is that ... (spoilers through the end of Episode III)

Spoiler: show
they skimped on showing us the Clone Wars. One thing that popular prequels have in common is that they do a good job of showcasing the major events alluded to in the original works. For example, Fate/stay night makes occasional references to a fight that happened ten years ago near the Mion River. The references make this fight sound larger than life. They turn it into something you wish you could've seen for yourself. And then? The prequel, Fate/Zero, delivers. It shows fans just what this fight looked like. It's one battle in the franchise -- it takes place in-universe in less than twelve hours, probably closer to three or four -- and it gets roughly fifty minutes of screen time (not counting the lead-in). For me, one of Star Wars' equivalents to the Mion River battle was the Clone Wars. But where good prequels like Fate/Zero deliver, poor prequels like Star Wars' simply disappoint.

We first hear mention of the Clone Wars from Obi-Wan Kenobi in the very first film. He mentions them by name when he's telling Luke Skywalker about how he knew Luke's father, fought alongside him in the wars, and considered him a dear friend. He also tells Luke that Anakin was killed during this time period by Darth Vader. These details stay with viewers throughout the remainder of the film, as we first see Vader cut down Obi-Wan -- Luke's only-recently discovered tie to his deceased war hero of a father -- and then see Luke being pursued by Vader in the Death Star trench run. The stories of Anakin Skywalker carry over into the next film, The Empire Strikes Back, as Yoda asks Luke why he wishes to become a Jedi and Luke answers, "Well, mostly because of my father, I guess." Yoda then somberly replies, "Ahh... father. Powerful Jedi was he. Powerful Jedi." Viewers become intrigued by this statement, and while their initial focus is obviously on the mysterious green muppet -- "How does he know anything about the Jedi? :o" -- tucked away at the backs of their minds is this: that Yoda is corroborating Obi-Wan's stories to Luke, that Anakin Skywalker was indeed a capable Jedi. It makes us wonder, "How did he die? Did Vader shoot him down? Did they duel with lightsabers? What happened? " And then, at the climax of the film, Darth Vader tells Luke that he is his father. And viewers are just like "WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA? " And now their imaginations are really running at a million miles an hour. How did he transform? Why did he transform? Lucas would later officially reveal that Vader's physical transformation was the direct result of the penultimate confrontation between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Vader, with Vader "falling into a molten pit of lava" or some such. Viewers just had to see that. And that, at least, Lucas did deliver on. There we did get our Mion River scene. Revenge of the Sith gives us a fifteen or twenty-minute scene on Mustafar, with an amazing lightsaber duel between Kenobi and Vader that is sadly tarnished (but happily not too badly tarnished) by frequent cuts to other scenes instead of just giving us one riveting, uninterrupted ten-minute fight scene. (Dammit, George! )

But what about the Clone Wars? Aye, there's the rub. The Clone Wars are pretty much cut out of the prequels altogether. Oh, of course they're not completely cut out. We do get a scene at the very start of Revenge of the Sith which ostensibly is a battle which takes place at the peak of the war. But where a three-hour battle got fifty minutes in Fate/Zero and a half-hour duel got some ten or fifteen minutes in Revenge of the Sith, this war which spanned several years gets ... all of fifteen minutes? And it's not even a very good scene? Lucas ends Attack of the Clones with the very beginning of the war ... and then like LIGHTNING he cuts to the turning point of the war at the start of Revenge of the Sith ... and then never shows us the war again. (And no: Obi-Wan's fight against Mecha McMechersen with the four lightsabers does not count.) WTF, man. Imagine if you were telling a story about a German war hero from WW2 who famously defected halfway through the war and fought for the British. Can you imagine if this retelling of his life omitted every single battle he had ever been in except for one uninteresting (but strategically significant) battle near the turning point of the war? You don't show us his early battles, you don't show us his actions which lead to him becoming a decorated war hero, you don't show us his final battles ...

I understand that Lucas could not hope to show every single event of the Clone Wars in just two two-hour films. But even the original trilogy made room for several major battles in the Rebel Alliance's war with the Galactic Empire. We had the first Death Star run, we had the battle on Hoth, and we had the joint battle on Endor's moon and the second Death Star run. By contrast, Episode I gives us a non-Clone Wars "battle" consisting of Anakin Skywalker taking out the Trade Federation's blockade (), Episode II gives us a non-Clone Wars battle on Geonosis, and Episode III gives us the opening battle (Yay! Our first Clone Wars battle! ), Obi-Wan's fight versus Grievous, Anakin killing a bunch of tots, and Palpatine ordering the clone soldiers to pwn a bunch of "Durr-hurrrrrr? " Jedi Masters. It just ... *sigh* ... it wasn't what I was hoping for. I was hoping to see the story of the Clone Wars, of Anakin and Obi-Wan fighting side by side ... I wanted to see their friendship truly grow ... I wanted to see memorable evidence of Anakin Skywalker's status as a war hero ...

I wanted to see the Clone Wars.
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