Until recently, most fans considered the Star Wars prequel trilogy easily the most divisive part of the “galaxy far, far away.” However, the sequel trilogy — which concluded, to much controversy, with 2019’s The Rise of Skywalker — now stands toe to toe with the prequels. But understanding more about how George Lucas made the prequels clears up why some Star Wars fans take issue with them, particularly 2005’s Revenge of the Sith.
The ‘Star Wars’ prequel trilogy has divided fans for decades
For a while, it seemed the general consenus surrounding the Star Wars prequels was how disappointing they are. But more than 20 years has passed since The Phantom Menace debuted in theaters, and an entire generation grew up with the story of Anakin Skywalker’s rise and fall as their Star Wars trilogy. For many fans, Ewan McGregor is Obi-Wan Kenobi, which is why Lucasfilm is bringing the actor back for a Disney+ series.
Even McGregor has trouble believing how vehemently some fans defend the prequel trilogy, even favoring it to the original Star Wars trilogy. Of course, the fan base isn’t unanimous on this point even now. Many still consider the prequels to be a low point for the saga. And in the case of Revenge of the Sith, at least there’s justification for one of the most common criticisms lobbed at Lucas’ prequel trilogy.
‘Revenge of the Sith’ stands alone among the saga in 1 very specific way
Lucas only pursued the prequel trilogy because he felt visual effects had advanced to the point where he could tell the stories he was interested in. But as many fans point out, those Star Wars movies do lean on computer-generated imagery perhaps a bit too heavily. At times, the prequels come off — to some fans, at least — to more closely resemble video games than movies.
That’s a fair criticism, seeing as the prequels helped normalize film sets nearly entirely comprised of green screens. This approach helps composite post-production visual effects into live-action footage. In the case of Revenge of the Sith, Lucas filmed the Star Wars movie — according to Movie-Locations.com — at Fox Studios in Sydney, Australia.
Lucas’ second unit still extensively uses footage of real-life locations to stand in for the movie’s exotic locales. The Wookiee planet Kashyyyk features landscapes from a region of southern China. Likewise, the climactic battle on the lava planet Mustafar incorporates footage from Mount Etna near the Italian island of Sicily. And Switzerland and Tunisia stand in for the planets Alderaan and Tatooine, respectively.
The future of ‘Star Wars’ movies remains uncertain
So fans had mixed reactions to both the prequel and sequel trilogies. In that case, perhaps it’s a smart move that Lucasfilm is taking a break from Star Wars movies right now. The saga will, of course, go on with new movies. Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) and Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman) will direct those projects.
But until then, Star Wars lives on in the form of streaming Disney+ series. Following The Mandalorian, the streaming services has Star Wars: The Bad Batch and the upcoming The Book of Boba Fett. Will future Star Wars movies learn from the mistakes of previous entries, including how they’re shot? Only time will tell.