Payn's Ponderings; The problems with Prequels

"Hey, did you hear the one about that time Sturm And Kitiara went to Lunitari..." is probably a better take on it than the book actually happening.

There are some I like, but yeah, the quality on them is generally not the best. The first step in being a good prequel is to be a well-done work.

With Dragonlance, there were so many terrible and contradictory novels shoveled out that it's best to follow Weis and Hickman's rule - only their novels are "canon". The rest are just folklore, stories and rumors about the Heroes of the Lance and are not to be considered authoritative. :)
 

log in or register to remove this ad

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
UPDATE:

The problem with Prequels continues with The King's Man. This one was a little baffling being that its predecessors are many decades in the future and put very little demands on the prequel. Yet, here we are with a mess of a movie that very rarely fits the franchise tone. Problem #3 is blaring like a clarion call during this long slog of a movie. The story is also completely at odds with the Kingsmen in that its spends 2/3 the film trying to be a pacifist organization. Until ultimately everyone agrees that violence really is the answer. Problem #2, the myth is always better than the truth. I wish I never knew the origins of the Kingsman now.

Prequels, meh. Amiright?
 

Ryujin

Legend
UPDATE:

The problem with Prequels continues with The King's Man. This one was a little baffling being that its predecessors are many decades in the future and put very little demands on the prequel. Yet, here we are with a mess of a movie that very rarely fits the franchise tone. Problem #3 is blaring like a clarion call during this long slog of a movie. The story is also completely at odds with the Kingsmen in that its spends 2/3 the film trying to be a pacifist organization. Until ultimately everyone agrees that violence really is the answer. Problem #2, the myth is always better than the truth. I wish I never knew the origins of the Kingsman now.

Prequels, meh. Amiright?
They played pretty fast and loose with what was stated in the first movie; that Kingsmen was founded by a group of aristocrats, who were tired of seeing their children die in war. It was pretty much a throw-away line in the first movie, but where were the "aristocrats" (plural) who supposedly founded it, in the prequel?
 

Rabulias

the Incomparably Shrewd and Clever
The Hobbit: the totally expected Trilogy
Part of me wonders what it would've been like, had Jackson started with The Hobbit and moved onto LOTR from there. Many (but not all) of the failings of The Hobbit trilogy came from trying to match the tone of LOTR to a story that called for something different, smaller.
While I agree The Hobbit films misfired on many levels, I consider the LotR films to be sequels, despite the films' release order. :)
Stuff like Obi-Wan not recognizing R2-D2 and C-3PO in A New Hope.
Eh, that can be hand-waved away easily enough for a guy who misled Luke about his father's fate "from a certain point of view." How was Obi-Wan even out there in the desert to rescue Luke if he had not foreseen the events happening through the Force? Perhaps he needed to not acknowledge knowing the droids for events to play out as they should? Maybe Obi-Wan recognized the droids but has a good poker face.

Though the problem does not go away, even if you assume all my suppositions to be true. Obi-Wan may be playing a long con, but R2-D2 (whose memory has not been wiped as far as we know) is not in on it (unless it's a really, really, really long plan Obi-Wan and Yoda have cooked up). He should have started saying stuff like "Hey Obi-Wan! It's me, R2!" Heck, R2-D2 should have recognized the Lars homestead and the last name of "Skywalker." Or maybe he did and thought, "This is it! This is the moment Yoda and Obi-Wan told me about! I need to stay quiet, get this restraining bolt off me, and bug out to these co-ordinates in the desert tonight!" But that really seems to stretch things a lot. :)
 

I can't argue with that, since technically, the books are the sequels to The Hobbit.

Apparently JRRT attempted to write yet another revision to The Hobbit in the 60s to bring it further into line with LOTR, but he abandoned that, as he did the sequel to LOTR.

While I agree The Hobbit films misfired on many levels, I consider the LotR films to be sequels, despite the films' release order. :)

To be fair, yeah, in the original trilogy, Obi-Wan was never entirely honest. Still, you'd have thought Lucas could've managed to avoid these basic plot holes. But then again, even the original Star Wars, when you look at some of the early drafts, was always this close to falling apart in this or that nonsense to begin with.

Eh, that can be hand-waved away easily enough for a guy who misled Luke about his father's fate "from a certain point of view." How was Obi-Wan even out there in the desert to rescue Luke if he had not foreseen the events happening through the Force? Perhaps he needed to not acknowledge knowing the droids for events to play out as they should? Maybe Obi-Wan recognized the droids but has a good poker face.

Though the problem does not go away, even if you assume all my suppositions to be true. Obi-Wan may be playing a long con, but R2-D2 (whose memory has not been wiped as far as we know) is not in on it (unless it's a really, really, really long plan Obi-Wan and Yoda have cooked up). He should have started saying stuff like "Hey Obi-Wan! It's me, R2!" Heck, R2-D2 should have recognized the Lars homestead and the last name of "Skywalker." Or maybe he did and thought, "This is it! This is the moment Yoda and Obi-Wan told me about! I need to stay quiet, get this restraining bolt off me, and bug out to these co-ordinates in the desert tonight!" But that really seems to stretch things a lot. :)
 

going to disagree with some of this. certin sequels can also be bad. Its due to directors , a step back in acotr quality and budgets and not material

The Hobbit for all accounts is rated as a good book. its a prequel of sorts. As book its better than the movie (there are parts of the animated hobbit movie i enjoy more than the movie). Its not Tolkiens fault its jacksons

i enjoyed Rogue 1 a lot knowing that clearly someone survived to get the plans. The last scenes are better than anything that the most recent star wars movies have made

i enjoyed the rebels/bad batch cartoon-technically prequels . in many ways they did a better job portraying Anakin than the prequel movies

Rise of the planet of the apes-i enjoyed these prequels.
xmen first class-prequels and i think better than the originals

the good the bad and the ugly-a little before my time but this a prequel and is the best of the 3 movies of the spaghetti westerns. these 3 movies are some of the better movies made with the same actors playing different villians in each. Clint Eastwood knows how to make a good movie
 

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
the good the bad and the ugly-a little before my time but this a prequel and is the best of the 3 movies of the spaghetti westerns. these 3 movies are some of the better movies made with the same actors playing different villians in each. Clint Eastwood knows how to make a good movie
Actually, Leone had no intention of the Man with no Name movies actually being connected at all. Independent stories that used a lot of the same actors.
 

Red Dragon
...
Wicked

Since someone already did the "Um, actually..." about The Hobbit, I'll do it for these two as well. Red Dragon was published as a book before Silence of the Lambs, and was also the first movie (Manhunter). Hannibal Rising is a true prequel. As for Wicked, it's an alternate timeline. The period it covers already existed in other Oz novels. That being said, on to the real topic.

IMNSHO, the #1 problem with prequels is character arcs. It's almost impossible to have a meaningful arc for a character in a prequel if that character has another meaningful arc in the original product. A prequel arc either tells a story we already know, or contradicts things we know about the character.

The character arc of Han is what I hate about Solo. In the original trilogy, Han was a tough, seasoned smuggler who internally battled with his rough exterior but eventually showed his heart of gold when it mattered most. He had meaningful character definition as a "tough guy" from the outset, and developed well over time. But if you watch the prequel, he spent his whole life as a well meaning loser who could never catch a break and always followed his heart. That kinda destroys anything meaningful about his turn to good at the end of ANH (or other developement in ESB, RotJ, etc.). And it means the "tough guy" we met in Mos Eisley (and ESB, etc), never really existed. Conversely, in Rogue One we're allowed to have a meaningful arc for Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor, because we've never met them before and we don't have to dovetail their story into the original trilogy. Their story is allowed to stand alone, and it works.

The other thing I would like to posit is that it's okay for a movie to exist without character arcs being the most important thing. Hollywood seems to think that every movie these days needs a full character arc (and a romance, and a plot twist at exactly the 40 minute mark, etc...) at the center of the movie. I disagree. Clint Eastwood doesn't change at all in the Good the Bad and the Ugly. James Bond never needed a full backstory with meaningul growth before Daniel Craig. Heck, you can even tell great character stories without a central character arc in movies like The Big Lebowski or No Country for Old Men. The real success of movies like Rogue One, Temple of Doom, or the Planet of the Apes prequels is that they all actually have a good underlying plot without a focus on character growth. If a movie is a good movie with a good plot, it will succeed on it's own merits without giving us an arc about a character we already know.

I'll even go on record and say that as a heist movie set in the Star Wars universe, Solo was actually a fairly good movie with an interesting plot, and could even fit in with what I know of the Clone Wars stuff. The fact that they shoehorned Han and Chewie into it is actually the worst thing about it.
 
Last edited:

MarkB

Legend
Since someone already did the "Um, actually..." about The Hobbit, I'll do it for these two as well. Red Dragon was published as a book before Silence of the Lambs, and was also the first movie (Manhunter). Hannibal Rising is a true prequel. As for Wicked, it's an alternate timeline. The period it covers already existed in other Oz novels. That being said, on to the real topic.

IMNSHO, the #1 problem with prequels is character arcs. It's almost impossible to have a meaningful arc for a character in a prequel if that character has another meaningful arc in the original product. A prequel arc either tells a story we already know, or contradicts things we know about the character.

The character arc of Han is what I hate about Solo. In the original trilogy, Han was a tough, seasoned smuggler who internally battled with his rough exterior but eventually showed his heart of gold when it mattered most. He had meaningful character definition as a "tough guy" from the outset, and developed well over time. But if you watch the prequel, he spent his whole life as a well meaning loser who could never catch a break and always followed his heart. That kinda destroys anything meaningful about his turn to good at the end of ANH (or other developement in ESB, RotJ, etc.). And it means the "tough guy" we met in Mos Eisley (and ESB, etc), never really existed. Conversely, in Rogue One we're allowed to have a meaningful arc for Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor, because we've never met them before and we don't have to dovetail their story into the original trilogy. Their story is allowed to stand alone, and it works.

The other thing I would like to posit is that it's okay for a movie to exist without character arcs being the most important thing. Hollywood seems to think that every movie these days needs a full character arc (and a romance, and a plot twist at exactly the 40 minute mark, etc...) at the center of the movie. I disagree. Clint Eastwood doesn't change at all in the Good the Bad and the Ugly. James Bond never needed a full backstory with meaningul growth before Daniel Craig. Heck, you can even tell great character stories without a central character arc in movies like The Big Lebowski or No Country for Old Men. The real success of movies like Rogue One, Temple of Doom, or the Planet of the Apes prequels is that they all actually have a good underlying plot without a focus on character growth. If a movie is a good movie with a good plot, it will succeed on it's own merits without giving us an arc about a character we already know.

I'll even go on record and say that as heist movie set in the Star Wars universe, Solo was actually a fairly good movie with an interesting plot, and could even fit in with what I know of the Clone Wars stuff. The fact that they shoehorned Han and Chewie into it is actually the worst thing about it.
Good commentary, especially about the difficulty of working in a new character arc for an existing character.

Solo could have worked if it showed Han transitioning from his initial naivete into the cynical character we know from A New Hope. It almost starts to reach for it with him shooting first at the end.

Mainly, though, it just needed to not try to hit every single piece of backstory we've ever heard about Han all in the same movie.
 

DrunkonDuty

he/him
Re. Solo: I figured Han would be getting more cynical as the movies went along. Of course, this would have required there to be more movies. A shame, I thought it was a pretty good movie and was keen to see more.
 

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top