I remember the drive home alone from the cinema after experiencing Revenge of the Sith for the first time. Despite it being more than 16 years ago, the memory remains vivid, as if it happened just yesterday.

It was a very gloomy, grey feeling and the overcast skies were not helping. I had no idea a movie could affect me this much. While I had previously encountered emotional films and poignant moments in cinema, this was unlike any other. There I was still experiencing the tragedy of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan’s broken heart and Padme’s unwillingness to live, and it lingered with me throughout the remainder of the day.

It made me so sombre, so melancholy, even reflective. As unbelievable as it may seem, it felt as though I just witnessed the lives of real people. I actually thought of Luke and Leia and what was yet to come and as strange as it sounds; I felt deeply sorry for them!

Was this a life-changing moment? Was I actually depressed because of a movie?  What on earth is going on?!

I had always loved Star Wars growing up, the franchise’s rich storytelling, memorable characters, and epic battles, but this sealed the deal for me that Star Wars was a major part of my life now.

Where I’m from, back then we had always had this subconscious notion that movies were simply a means of entertainment, not to be taken too seriously. This was the moment I realised movies weren’t just two-dimensional images flickering on screens to sell popcorn; they held a much greater significance, possibly even life-changing in some ways.

I didn’t watch Revenge of the Sith again until a year later I believe. I couldn’t.

When I realised I loved the Prequels

Although I was deeply moved by Revenge of the Sith, I did not realise at the time how much it meant to me. My older mindset on movies couldn’t yet comprehend the depth of its meaning to me I think.

Fast forward a few years later and a once good friend I considered like a brother, tried really hard to convince me the prequels were a complete failure and a huge disappointment. Ironically, it was our shared love for Star Wars that initially brought us together.

George Lucas just “isn’t a good Director”, according to him, before he went on to blabber about all the shortcomings of the prequels as if they were blasphemous. I regretted ever asking why those films were so widely disliked during that period.

I honestly at that time didn’t think the fans could hate these wonderful movies.

He had me this close to doubting my loyalty to these movies, which were such a significant part of my life during those days. We are no longer in each other’s lives for obvious reasons. Did he pull an Anakin on me? Maybe one day I’ll tell that story.

However, even then, it wasn’t the moment when I truly discovered my love for the Prequels.

I always knew Revenge of the Sith was my favourite of the Saga back then, but it wasn’t till the release of The Force Awakens and my lack of enthusiasm after watching it several times that it dawned on me what Lucas did in the late 90s-2000s. Despite some flaws, it was near genius and terribly underappreciated.

That’s when it dawned on me how much I loved the Prequels.

The Force is still Asleep

The Force Awakens awoke nothing in me. It wasn’t bad, however it wasn’t great! Star Wars to me, should be great! Not just good, or acceptable, it had to be great! All “The Force Awakens” really did was confirm just how great the prequels were.

It became evident that Lucas was indeed a true artist, unafraid to experiment with the Empire he had built. He wasn’t merely a run-of-the-mill storyteller. He had what no Disney-employed director had, the ability to execute his vision uninhibited.

The prequels expanded the Star Wars universe and gave way to so many possibilities. The Force Awakens (and subsequent sequels) really just played it safe and recycled many old ideas. Except really for The Last Jedi, but we’ll get into that another time.

Risky Business

The Sequels showed that the minds behind it weren’t daring, bold, adventurous, and willing to take risks. While I understand Disney’s approach to business and the need to sustain intellectual properties, Star Wars inherently embodies all the qualities that the creative team of the Sequels failed to fully embrace.

The Prequels reminds me there was a time when Star Wars was bold, creative, invoking, and imaginative. Did they diverge from the beloved Original Trilogy? Certainly, but in much the same way, the Original Trilogy itself departed from the conventions of sci-fi films during its era.

It almost broke my heart to learn that people openly and vivaciously hated the prequels and if given a chance would’ve nailed George Lucas to a cross for daring to bring his vision to life, especially considering that it was something he had personally built.

In those days I had no idea Star Wars fans could be toxic. I didn’t perceive it as such; I simply assumed that everyone had strong opinions. Until I witnessed the deluge of outright hatred, for something they didn’t create.

As a creative myself I can understand why Lucas just left the franchise to dwindle and eventually left it in the hands of Disney to carry on the legacy. I’m fairly certain that just by expressing my admiration for The Prequels, I might encounter a similar, though on a much smaller scale, level of negativity from the toxic fans.

To this day, I still have the urge to rewatch the Prequels (as well as the Originals), but the same enthusiasm doesn’t extend to the Sequels. I’ve only seen “Rise of Skywalker” once, and that was during its theatrical release, in IMAX.

The live-action series are undeniably well-executed; I genuinely appreciate and enjoy them. However, they do give off a vibe akin to a high-production alternate universe Star Trek series, somewhat resembling “Picard”. While the Obi-Wan series trailer did manage to tug at my heartstrings, the others didn’t really. Nonetheless, they are must-watch entertainment for me.

In other words, they are good, but they don’t quite reach the level of greatness that Star Wars should achieve!

Star Wars without Lucas feels somewhat like Apple without Jobs. While it remains a cash cow that excels in pushing the limits of their respective fields and stands as the best of the best, it’s undeniable that something substantial is missing, like the very soul of the franchise.

The likelihood of Lucas reclaiming his creation to make subsequent films is exceedingly slim, which leaves the Prequels as his final foray into the Star Wars universe at the helm.

That is why I Love the Prequels, at least in part.

My love for Star Wars probably started way before I came into this world. By this I mean my late father absolutely loved Star Wars; it was pure and honest love. He was the only sibling of many, and I do mean many, to have a deep affinity for it, so no one had an influence on or persuaded him in any way towards these movies.

We grew up pretty low-class, and though we couldn’t afford much my father owned just three Betamax video cassettes, the original Star Wars Trilogy; it was bootlegged since it’s all we could have afforded. He wasn’t a nerdy guy by nature, just intelligent, but he absolutely loved those movies.

So in a way, my love for Star Wars could be genetic, originally.

I live in a small twin-island Republic, just off the coast of Venezuela, called Trinidad & Tobago. We’re a very third-world nation, so we had limited access to information and media back in the 90s. There wasn’t much content to consume or acquire if you loved something that wasn’t mainstream and though Star Wars was revered globally, it wasn’t that much of a big deal here.

A small article here, a short T.V. program there.

It was so scarce, I remember before we had the Betamax tapes, there was a Star Wars marathon, three nights in a row, probably on the Sci-Fi channel on cable; which we didn’t have of course. We all made a trip over to one of our families who did have cable, every night just so my father could watch those movies. Eight of us, all gathered around a 27-inch CRT T.V. to partake in this rare event.

You were lucky if anything Star Wars related was unearthed. This remained so for years, that is of course until the Special Editions were released.

I had never witnessed Star Wars on a screen larger than probably 27-inches and I was around 12-years old at the time, yet somehow knew this was a big deal despite living in a sort of vacuum, relating to news and information about it.

You were almost shunned for expressing love for movies with a walking-talking dog with aliens, guns that went “pew pew” and a villain with asthmatic problems. So I never outwardly expressed my love for it back then. Even going to see the Special Edition movies branded you as almost eccentric.

I really had no clue how deeply people felt globally about these movies since I was sort of an outcast amongst friends, I had no one else to share my love for it other than family.

That I believe changed in 1999 when the prequels came out and the buzz started again about the franchise. You went from being a weirdo to a regular nerd; still part of a small ostracised crowd.

I remember being totally blown away in the cinema, watching The Phantom Menace. I loved the new aesthetics, characters and foreshadowing story. Love at first sight as some may say. I was 15 at the time.

We had no computer back then, much less internet access, so after viewing the movie in our Capital, we scurried over to the National Library to go online and learn more in our excitement.

I’m not a regretful person, however, I did not see The Phantom Menace with my father. One day in the middle of my lessons class, during August, he came for me to go with him to the cinema, and I didn’t because I became close to a girl I recently met in class and liked.

At the time I assumed there would be more opportunities to go and enjoy it with him, but that never happened. He had cancer and seemed to be winning, however, in the following year, he depleted quickly and succumbed to it on March 9th.

I do regret never taking that opportunity when I had the chance.

When he passed, I was nearing completion of a 1000 piece Star Wars jigsaw puzzle, but never finished it. For years I struggled with understanding the meaning of life and losing my best friend, my father. I was 16 years of age at the time.

He was a very simple person. Family meant everything to him and I was the closest to him. We spent hours on days watching movies and him explaining them to me. We did tons of things together, played cards and went on long drives around the country.

I was the last person who spoke with him on his deathbed. He asked me if he could go, and I said yes.

Whenever I see anything Star Wars related, I think about him every time. He was the odd one out in his family, a pure heart so to speak, never giving up even till his last, a fighter and was an overly positive thinker who struggled at times with the atrocities in this world.

He was the poor farm boy looking up at those two suns.

When Revenge of the Sith came out, I remember driving home by myself, leaving my family behind to watch it over. Once was enough for me at the time. The sky was gloomy, overcast, I was in a mess, depressed even because of it. Part of it is due to the ending where everything tied in tragically. But also what Star Wars means to me.

These are not just pristinely made movies with gripping moral storylines and life-altering philosophies. These are memories of my father with his prized Betamax bootlegged videotapes. The three nights we went over to my family to watch the Marathon. The missed opportunity to go watch The Phantom Menace with him which I’ll never get back. The future years we would have had to enjoy the newer movies, experiencing and talking about them.

I now have a son of my own, and our relationship is strained because of a divorce. His mother, who has a heavy influence, pushes him to hate Star Wars because she knows what it means to me.

A few years ago we went to witness The Last Jedi in IMAX. He objected to watching it, all the way to the cinema. However, when we came out, he was humming the theme music and was all excited. His inquisitive mind wanted to know more about space.

Time after time I observe his secret interest in Star Wars, but I see the fear kick in and he outwardly shuns it. I am passive towards him claiming to have no interest in it and he has not seen them all.

All I have now are my memories of my late father absolutely loving those movies and my son now not even bothered with them. I trust in time he will gravitate to them on his own, naturally, the way Luke gravitated to the force despite Uncle Owen’s influence.

Because I believe his love for Star Wars began before he came into this world.