After watching SW: Attack of the Clones the other night with our son, I was thinking about the different trilogies and side movies/series. Unfortunately, I have not yet seen most of the animated series (Rebels, Resistance, or the recently released Bad Batch), and haven’t seen Clone Wars in order (or perhaps even the complete series, I caught it sporadically when it first aired).
Although there is, obviously, a lot that has been said about all three trilogies, particularly negatives regarding the prequels and sequels, some of it warranted and some simply the whining of interweb trolls & (generally white male) “fans”, I think all three trilogies have their strong and weak points. So, just to throw out my own opinion on the strengths (with brief comments on the down sides):
First Trilogy (eps 4-6)
This trilogy gets “Best Overall” simply because of being the first, and childhood nostalgia. Was it the best written? No. Was it the best acted? Heck no (even Carrie Fisher mocked her “floating English accent” repeatedly). But, it was the first, without which the rest would not exist. And it did some clearly groundbreaking things for the late-70s and early-80s in sci-fi. In terms of filming, Lucas stitched together scenes from WWII movies and Kurosawa movies with filler, that somehow worked.
Prequel Trilogy (eps. 1-3)
This trilogy, I give “Best Choreography” and “Best Space Battles” . Let’s face it, the original trilogy lightsaber choreography was . . . not the best. It’s often pretty clear that Vader and Luke are swinging at each other’s swords, rather than at each other. For this trilogy, they had great choreographers and the SFX had reached a level for excellent space battles to be composed. This despite the lack of chemistry between Christensen and Portman, and the “Best Future Plotholes” award.
Sequel Trilogy (eps. 7-9)
“Best Character Deaths” for Han and Luke. Both were, I think, satisfying and fit both within the plot and the character growth. I’ll also add “Best Fanservice”, because there’s nothing especially wrong with giving fans what they want. These three, despite their flaws, did a good job evoking the feel and sense of the original trilogy and had enough back references to the original to give a strong “feel good” vibe. Frankly, no one goes to SW movies looking for deep meaning and high drama (deeper meaning can certainly be found, but that’s not generally the goal in going to see them).
Solo, Rogue One, and Mandalorean, I put down as “Best Writing” and “Best Acting”. As prequels in the first two cases, they had a difficult job in setting things up that already happened. In Rogue One‘s case, this was especially difficult, as we knew they would succeed in getting the plans (hence Ep. IV), but also that there was high likelihood of character demise (although not assured, since the team that got the plans is never mentioned in Ep. IV; the death of the Bothan team/s was getting Death Star II plans before Ep. VI). Mandalorean has done an excellent job as well, so far. Probably up there with Clone Wars on writing, and acting, in terms of character development, lore development, and clicking into the setting of the other movies/series.