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Computer-generated imagery, or CGI, can help create detailed visuals. However, too much of it can annoy an audience. Star Wars became a hot topic for the use of CGI. The prequel trilogy became infamous for the heavy use of green screen, among other aspects. 

Overall, fans began to change their attitude toward the prequels, much to the surprise of some actors. When observing behind-the-scenes photos, people on the internet still have criticisms about seeing this much green in the entire galaxy. 

The original trilogy were creative with its effects

Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman | Amy Sussman/Getty Images

On Reddit, a user posted an image of the actors in a green screen room while filming a speeder scene in Episode 3. A few people compared the prequel trilogy’s CGI to the original’s practical effects. The first Star Wars film came out well before movies were filmed digitally. A New Hope had to come up with various ways to create some of its visuals. 

Many fans know how the filmmakers back then used matte paintings, puppets, and stop-motion to bring the faraway galaxy to life. One person in the comments explained how the speeders had mirrors underneath to hide the vehicle’s wheels.

The discussion went over how creative the original trilogy was back then. 

When someone does not have much in terms of resources, they put in extra effort to ensure the execution works. A whole world can come from a trash can and only a short amount of time to get things done.

One user commented, “It’s weird how having such limitations sparks the best work, gets the creativity flowing like nothing else can.” 

The green screen likely made acting tough for the cast

Plenty of CGI effects went into the making of the Star Wars prequel trilogy. They gave George Lucas more room to film elaborate scenes. He even went back to add some CGI to the original series, much to the dismay of fans. The overuse of this type of effect made fans critical of him. 

On the Reddit thread, someone mentioned how these kinds of photos explain why some performances feel stunted. Actors often play off each other and the environment, and a room full of green screen can make it tricky to do. The cast for the prequels probably could not reach their full potential.

“Yeah I think it’s really difficult to do, especially for certain actors. And requires really deft and careful directing, too, to pull these performances off in an engaging way,” one person wrote. 

Fans felt sorry for the actors in the prequel trilogy. Others pointed out how the MCU and the sequel trilogy used a green screen to fill in the background. Even though the prequels did not balance the CGI, it would allow future Star Wars projects to learn from it.

‘Star Wars: The Phantom Menace’ did build some practical effects after all


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No one can argue that the prequels did not rely heavily on CGI. However, some fans were quick to point out that at least The Phantom Menace did use some practical effects. A documentary on Disney+ revealed that the movie copied what A New Hope did. 

The original film used miniatures for the Death Star assault. The Phantom Menace did the same trick for the crowds during the pod racing segment. The team used painted Q-tips to achieve the effect. The movie had more practical stuff than the later films. 

“By any definition Phantom Menace is highly practical. It gets lumped in with AoTC and RoTS by people who haven’t really thought about it, I guess, but Phantom Menace was a revolution in Special Effects,” someone commented. 

CGI has been around before the prequel trilogy, but The Phantom Menace came out when computer animation slowly was becoming the norm in filmmaking. George Lucas was likely trying to test the limits of what he could do.