‘Star Wars’: The One Secret Thing The Prequel Trilogy Was Missing That Might Have Changed Everything

We are now four weeks out since the premiere of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and it’s clear that the movie was a flop by Star Wars standards. Although it couldn’t match the success of its previous films, it still came in at $175.5 million on opening weekend, according to Market Watch

Only The Phantom Menace is ranked worse than The Rise of Skywalker. What was wrong with those prequel movies that most Star Wars fans adamantly dislike? Let’s take a look at a well-kept secret that might have helped The Phantom Menace and the rest of the prequel trilogy.

The Phantom Menace
The Phantom Menace | Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

What do fans complain about the most when they look at the prequel trilogy?

“Writing,” believes one fan on Reddit. “It’s really that simple. They are great actors, but [George] Lucas’s dialogue is… awful, and I don’t think there’s any way to act around that.”

Many fans cite the writing as a downfall of the prequel trilogy, except that George Lucas did write both trilogies. So, what happened from one trilogy to the next?

“[There are] definitely some good parts and not so good parts of [The Phantom Menace],” added another fan. “I think a lot of the backlash towards it is that at the time, expectations were very high, and when the movie didn’t meet expectations, obviously that led to a lot of distaste for it.”

Although Rotten Tomatoes rates The Phantom Menace as the lowest, the fans pretty much complain about all three movies in the prequel trilogy equally.

“Attack of the Clones was worse,” wrote another Redditor. “While Phantom Menace gave us the annoyance that is Jar Jar Binks, it gave us some great moments like the pod-racing and the epic lightsaber duel with Darth Maul (with the beautifully played Duel of the Fates). However, Attack of the Clones gave us worse acting & those incredibly cringe-y romance scenes with Anakin & Padmé.”

It turns out, there is a lot to complain about when it comes to the prequels, but many fans cite the writing.

Why was the original trilogy so much better?

A little known secret about the original Star Wars movie, A New Hope, is that when Lucas showed a rough cut to fellow directors, it didn’t go over well. His wife, Marcia Lou Griffin, was in tears after the viewing. 

What many people do not know is that Griffin is a film editor, and she transformed the iconic trench run scene into the classic we know it as today.

“She warned George, ‘If the audience doesn’t cheer when Han Solo comes in at the last second in the Millenium Falcon to help Luke when he’s being chased by Darth Vader, the picture doesn’t’ work,” according to Michael Kaminski in The Secret History of Star Wars.

That part wasn’t the only thing that Griffin changed about the movie. 

“I know for a fact that Marcia Lucas was responsible for convincing him to keep that little ‘kiss for luck’ before Carrie [Fisher] and I swing across the chasm in the first film,” Mark Hamil told Film Freak Central in an interview. 

Lucas didn’t like how people laughed in the previews, but Griffin explained that they are laughing because it is “sweet and unexpected.”

“Her influence was such that if she wanted to keep it, it was in,” Hamil continued. “When the little mouse robot comes up when Harrison and I are delivering Chewbacca to the prison, and he roars at it, and it screams, sort of, and runs away—George wanted to cut that and Marcia insisted that he keep it.” 

Marcia Lou Griffin made so many great edits to the film that she went on to win an Academy Award for her work on A New Hope.

hat happened with George Lucas from the original ‘Star Wars’ movies to the prequels?

Lucas and Griffin divorced in 1983 before he wrote the script to any of the prequel films. Might her editing be just what the prequel series needed to live up to the originals? 

“You can see a huge difference in the films that he does now and the films that he did when he was married,” Hammil admitted during an interview in 2013.

“She was really the warmth and the heart of those films, a good person he could talk to, bounce ideas off of, who would tell him when he was wrong,” the actor continued. “Now he’s so exalted that no one tells him anything.”

Although we will never know what the prequel trilogy would have been like with Griffin’s editing, there is certainly evidence that Lucas’ movies are not the same without her.