While Revenge of the Sith had some great moments, it’s no secret that the Star Wars prequel series was an overall terrible and disappointing movie-going experience. George Lucas lost something between 1983 and 1999, because Star Wars fans and general audiences found The Phantom Menace to be shockingly bad. Although many have tried to forget the existence of Jar-Jar Binks, the promise that Attack of the Clones was going to be a better movie fell on deaf ears. Star Wars: Episode II is arguably worse than The Phantom Menace, and is easily the dullest of all of the Star Wars movies. The Star Wars prequels didn’t have to be bad movies, but it appeared that George Lucas was more interested in creating products rather than compelling narratives.
One Star Wars fan (and creator of Belated Media) made two videos exploring The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, and how both movies could have been better movies that were more inline with the original Star Wars trilogy. Presumably, he will make a new video exploring Revenge of the Sith, but for now let’s take a look at his take on Star Wars: Episode I and Episode II.
In Belated Media’s first video about the Star Wars prequels (which was made about a year and a half ago), he talks about re-structuring The Phantom Menace to be more streamlined and focused. One of the biggest criticisms about Episode I is that it doesn’t have a main character. We’re not following one character’s journey, but rather a large group of characters who are very broad and undefined. The popular belief is that Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) should’ve been the focus of the entire prequel trilogy. He’s the only character that has a clear arc between The Phantom Menace and Revenge of the Sith, and he’s the only sympathetic character in the entire prequel trilogy. Also, making Anakin Skywalker an angry teenager rather than a wide-eyed little boy is what George Lucas should have done in the first place.
You’ve got to hand it to Belated Media for still using the main elements of The Phantom Menace, but re-purposing them to make a tighter and more coherent story with the fantastic Star Wars mythology and deep emotional stakes. He also sets up a love triangle with Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman) and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) for the next film, Attack of the Clones.
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones needed more work than The Phantom Menace. Belated Media threw out a majority of George Lucas’ story and re-focused it on the friendship between Obi-Wan and Anakin. He also didn’t kill off Darth Maul at the end of The Phantom Menace, so he could be a villain throughout the prequel series. We can all agree that killing off Darth Maul was one of the worst things George Lucas did with the Star Wars prequel trilogy. The most notable choice Belated Media took was to crossout Naboo and added Alderaan in its place.
While Belated Media’s new story for Attack of the Clones works much better than Lucas’, there seems to be a lack of action that can easily be added in with a few battle sequences. Smartly, Belated Media added Owen Lars as a main character to smoothly bridge Attack of the Clones and A New Hope together. This way the audience can be more invested in the relationship of Anakin Skywalker and Owen Lars as “brothers.”
Belated Media’s version of Attack of the Clones is more of a continuation of The Phantom Menace than with what was originally released. These Star Wars prequel revisions make me wish these versions actually existed. Hopefully Belated Media can stick the landing with his upcoming “What If Star Wars: Episode III Were Good?” video.