– by Joseph Jammer Medina

The Star Wars prequels suck. It’s an easy thing to say, and by and large, I think I agree. The story, on paper, sounded good, but the execution was more than a little disappointing, and when all said and done, it did very little to fuel our enthusiasm for the franchise going forward. However, if there was one arena in which I think it deserves a little bit of slack, it’s in the technology department.

Yes, there was too much emphasis on non-practical effects and blue screen, but without the pioneering vision of George Lucas and his hyper-focused nature on said technology, the industry may not be where it is today in terms of both camera and VFX work. Speaking with THR, The Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau defended Lucas’ prequels, saying:

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“Well, I would argue that the prequels are — and [George] Lucas in general is — the bedrock that all of this [technology] is built on. He is the first person that had digital photography, he was the first person to do completely CG characters. The whole notion of not having even a print [version of the film], of having everything be 0’s and 1’s, was all George. Not to mention EditDroid, which turned into Avid, Pixar was spawned out of their laboratories at LucasFilm, so he is arguably the center of the Big Bang for everything that I’m doing. It’s building on the shoulders of what he was able to innovate.”

“This is 20 years later, and also there’s been a democratization of the skill set too. It’s no longer a few vendors innovating in ivory towers, that information has been expanded and disseminated and democratized so that effects that would cost you millions of dollars, you can do it on a PC now, with consumer-facing filmmaking tools. When George came to our set and visited The Mandalorian, he said, “Oh, we did this,” and what he meant was, “We had green screen and we were building small sets and expanding upon it.” Now, we have video walls, NVIDIA video cards that allow a refresh rate that allows you to do in-camera effects, we’re in there taking advantage of the cutting-edge stuff.”

Favreau certainly has a point there. In the grand scheme of things, while we scoff at it, there do have to be these movies that act as sacrificial lambs for technology to move forward. As a result, the prequels, in addition to being not-so-great films, don’t age well because of the early nature of the VFX work. Still, it’s hard to argue that Lucas really did create the film industry as it is today, for better and for worse.

Does any of this change your perspective of the prequels? Let us know your thoughts down below!

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Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.