I Like to Pretend Episodes I, II, and III Never Happened
This weekend, The Phantom Menace came to a 3D screen near you. I’ll be waiting until they get to episodes IV, V, and VI, thank you very much. I was 4, 6, and 9 when the original movies were released in theaters. I don’t have specific memories of the first time I saw them, except for maybe Return of the Jedi. I know some people hate the Ewoks, but I guess I was young enough to like them. And when Han said “I love you.” and Leia said “I know,” just the opposite of in The Empire Strikes Back, *swoon*. (Between Han Solo and Indiana Jones, I spent the 80’s with a huge crush on Harrison Ford.) But then in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, George Lucas decided to add scenes to the original trilogy–supposedly to bring them closer to his intended versions and allow him take advantage of new technology–and began releasing the prequel trilogy. I do not care for the additional scenes. Even today they still take me out of the movies. They’re too jarring, and the “new” technology doesn’t fit with the effects of the original versions, which have held up pretty well through the years. It didn’t bother us that Han shot first. We didn’t need random CGI creatures added to existing scenes. We didn’t want to see Hayden Christensen watching over Luke at the end of Jedi. And I never did get all that excited about the “new” trilogy. I went to see them to complete the story, but I don’t think they really added all that much. And the explanation of Anakin’s powers? Midichlorians in his blood? He has no father, his mother just became pregnant? What?!? In the original Star Wars, Obi-Wan gave a very simple, elegant description of the force,
“The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.”
Simple, straight-forward. No one was left pondering the mystery of what the force was. Even Han Solo talked about “hokey religions.” Nobody had any microscopic creatures in their blood.
Some things just don’t need sequels. Raiders of the Lost Ark was terrific. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was okay. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was back to awesome (helloooo, Sean Connery!). Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? I’d like to have those two hours back, please. I think part of the problem was that they switched from the supernatural to the extraterrestrial. I just wasn’t willing to go along with the alien storyline.
Harry Potter was always meant to be a series of books. Gone With the Wind? Not so much. And yet there have been at least two authorized sequels. I’ve got to admit, I was satisfied with the original story. Scarlett screwed up. Rhett wasn’t coming back. Was it a happy ending? No. Did it tie up the story? Yes. But, since the sequels were “authorized,” I read them. Scarlett was not good. Yes, it got our couple back together, but it didn’t feel like the same characters. Rhett Butler’s People was much, much better. It felt much more true to the characters, and the new back story given fit better too.
Movies and books aren’t the only ones with sequel-itis; tv does it too. And in the 80’s they took all our favorite shows and made them “babies.” Muppet Babies, The Flintstone Kids, Tom and Jerry Kids, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo…make it stop!
Are there any sequels you wish had never happened?