Yes, the prequels are terrible! Yes, Jar-Jar Binks ruined Star Wars! Yes, George Lucas killed my childhood! While most of these statements are usually the first thing you think of when someone mentions The Phantom Menace or Midichlorians, the third film in the prequel trilogy is not a bad movie, as it often teeters on being OK. Revenge of the Sith is the darkest of all the Star Wars movies and is the only film in the saga> that has a PG-13 rating. While that doesn’t usually translate to high quality, George Lucas finished the prequel trilogy correctly with heavy action and less trade dispute talk.
The below concept art from Sang jun Lee speaks volumes to what George Lucas wanted to see on the big screen for Revenge of the Sith. The Wookie warriors are really impressive with battle gear and shields, while the images of the Pau’an are much creepier than what is in the final film. Just looking at the Clonetrooper fighter pilot and you can see that Revenge had to have a design that bridged it to A New Hope. It looks very familiar to what the Stormtroopers eventually looked like in Episode IV.
Sang Jun Lee is a concept artist and graduate of the Academy of Art University in California. He specializes in character, costume, and creature design for live-action and animated films. Lee has worked for Industrial Light & Magic, Lucas Film, Blue Sky Studios, Sony Computer Entertainment, and Electronic Arts. You can see his work in films such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Horton Hears a Who, and Paramount’s Rio.
A majority of his work can be found on his website. I recommend checking out his concept art for Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, Michael Bay’s The Island, and Men In Black II. You can also see Sang Jun Lee’s work in Star Wars: Visionaries, a collection of stories penned by the concept artists who worked on Revenge of the Sith. It’s very impressive!
It’s a shame that some of these designs weren’t ultimately used for Revenge. Any one of them seemed like they would belong in the movie, but I guess that’s what fan-fiction is for. While a majority of the prequels don’t work on a narrative level, the films opened up the Star Wars universe for a new generation. Love them or hate them, the prequels are part of the Star Wars canon. Hopefully, Disney and Lucasfilm can bring back the Star Wars back to respectability again, but without George Lucas, it won’t feel the same.
Revenge will remain the best of the prequel series. Recently, we’ve seen the “What If The Star Wars Prequel Trilogy Had Been Good?” video series, which Belated Media reveals what they would’ve done with the prequels storylines. So far Belated Media only released videos for the first two prequels, so it’s only a matter of time before we see what they have for the third. Needless to say, this series of videos is so much better than anything in Phantom Menace or Clones.