Well, we’ve come to the end at last.
We’ve explored, we’ve analyzed, we’ve discussed. We’ve learned all sorts of little things in our comparison of these two trilogies..
Let’s end by looking at the big picture and seeing what we can gain.
There’s the big picture.
Hard to believe they were all made by the same man, right?
All three movies of the Original Star Wars were MASTERPIECES.
None of the Star Wars Prequels came CLOSE to even being decent movies.
In every category–story, character, worldbuilding, writing–the movies could not be further from each other in quality.
The question I want to explore now is:
Why accounts for this tragic fall of what many consider the GREATEST sci fi story ever told?
There are many theories.
Some people think George Lucas get arrogant and overconfident. Some say he surrounded himself with too many yes men. Some claim he simply hit his peak with the Originals.
Hard to speculate. But we can still observe.
Mark Rosewater, head designer of Magic: the Gathering, has a trademark saying:
“Restrictions breed creativity.”
What is clear from the Prequels is that George Lucas did NOT have the restrictions he had when creating the Originals. He had the total creative control he’d always desired. He had money to do whatever he wanted, a company that could make ANYTHING he dreamt up, and a staff who WOULD make anything he dreamt up.
But wait–are you saying creative freedom is a BAD thing?
The question is: WHY did George Lucas want creative freedom?
He saw the success of the original movies. He knew they were NOT created with the kind of creative freedom he now insisted upon.
Did he think that his natural unbound creativity was capable of even making GREATER movies?
Or did he simply want to be free from the BURDEN of restriction?
I think it’s the latter.
Understandable. Restrictions are not pleasant AT ALL. They can stunt your productivity, they can undercut your confidence, they can turn a healthy creative process into a complete mess.
But restrictions breed creativity.
Maybe the discomfort of his restrictions prevented him from realizing how much good came from them. Maybe he thought he was the kind of creative genius who could go even further WITHOUT restrictions. (Like this guy:)
What’s clear is that without restrictions, he gave us plots like Episode II:
Characters like Jar Jar Binks:
Writing like the dreaded “balcony scene”:
Worldbuilding like “deathsticks”:
Personalities that could have been fascinating were half developed or erratic or annoying.
Scenes that could have been powerful and iconic were hastily thrown together.
Concepts that were once cornerstones of the Star Wars universe were trampled, presented poorly, and made into a mockery of themselves.
The stories didn’t work.
It’s sad for Star Wars fans, but the movies are valuable nonetheless. There are SO many lessons to be learned. There are all the ideas about good storycrafting we’ve explored together over the last fifteen posts, not to mention countless other ideas we didn’t get to. There’s the reality check that even the GREATEST franchise can fall. And there’s the lesson that I think lies at the heart of all this:
Restrictions breed creativity.
Never abandon criticism and constructive feedback. Make sure to ALWAYS have a standard set for you that keeps you in line–whether it’s a friend reading over what you’ve written, an editor, an audience, or even your own honest critical eye.
The key to quality is the bar you set for yourself.
Sometimes the bar is already set for you. Sometimes you have a ton of money, your own production company, and your own army of people willing to make anything you dream up.
Either way, if you set a standard that makes you work hard, your creativity will flourish and the quality of your work will skyrocket.
This has been a FANTASTIC journey through the six movies with all of you. Hope you enjoyed the posts and found my observations interesting. I’m sure I’ll return to Star Wars on this blog in the future, because there’s still SO much to talk about.
Read MORE in the STAR WARS VS THE PREQUELS series!