Ever look back at something from a long time ago and realize that it doesn't hold up the way you remember? It's just a fact that some stuff doesn't age well. The Star Wars prequel trilogy is an interesting series to look at in this case. They weren't exactly held in high regard when they originally came out in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Some bits may have aged and improved over time, but a lot of these three films have gotten worse since their release date. We recently watched them again and picked out ten things that have aged the poorest. Some are characters, others are plot points, and some are flat out awkward.
One of the things that helped make the original Star Wars trilogy so enjoyable was that it ultimately boiled down to something simple: good vs. evil. The prequels somewhat dispensed with that notion and bogged down some of the installments by putting an emphasis on a politics-heavy subplot. It wasn't what audiences wanted and it slowed the films down to a snail's pace.
Watching these movies again nearly 20 years later reinforces that this shouldn't have been the case. It's not explicit, but there's a chance George Lucas added this as a commentary on the United States' invasion of Iraq. Either way, the political stuff was filled with exposition that certainly doesn't hold up well.
9 Character Origins
Connecting the prequels so closely to the original trilogy meant that we would be learning things about the characters we had come to love all those years ago. Sadly, many of those origins felt like they ruined the characters. It was hard to watch some of them when they first hit theaters and it's more difficult now.
The ominous, powerful Darth Vader comes across as an annoying, petulant child. Yoda is missing almost everything that made him likable and wise from the original films. Boba Fett went from a mysterious bounty hunter to someone we learned far too much about, killing his mystique. These honestly get much worse with each passing year.
This won't be the last time the romance between Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala appears on this list. The moment here came during Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones. One scene saw the two packing and preparing for a trip to Padmé's home planet of Naboo.
As per usual, Anakin spent the scene whining about how unfair his life was. Eventually, he reached a point where he began to just stare at Padmé. She responded by telling him to stop because it made her uncomfortable. He continued to stare against her wishes. It might've been meant to play like something cute, but it came across as creepy.
7 Forced Canon Connections
A major problem with the prequel trilogy was how hard George Lucas shoved in some connections to the original films. It was the kind of thing that was done so fans could get their nostalgia fix. Looking back, they feel way out of place and don't make sense in the grand scheme of things.
For example, if Anakin Skywalker was the one who originally made C-3PO, then why does the droid never mention it? These three films were littered with these kinds of moments and each of them only served to make the Star Wars universe smaller. Knowing how vast this franchise expands, that makes these installments age poorly.
Audiences were not shy to call out Jar Jar Binks as a huge reason why they didn't like Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. Many viewed the character as the real menace of the franchise. He was intended for comedic relief and to play well towards children. But he's a huge presence in the first film and has one big scene that will make you cringe.
During the incredibly lengthy pod racing scene, the camera panned over to Jar Jar Binks. He stood by an eopie and was grossed out when it farted near him. It's not an important scene and doesn't ruin the movie. However, it's a poor attempt at humor that is so bad it makes fans roll their eyes. Star Wars is better than that.
5 The Age Gap
During a pivotal scene in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, it was revealed that the handmaiden who had been spending time with the core group of main characters was actually the queen in disguise. Padmé Amidala spent a lot of time bonding with young Anakin Skywalker during their time together. That wouldn't be bad, except when you think about their relationship.
Padmé and Anakin aren't just friends; they go on to be a couple that is the driving force of the series. It's especially odd when you consider that Padmé seems way older. Actress Natalie Portman was eight years older than Jake Lloyd and when they became a couple, Lloyd had to be recast with someone more age-appropriate. It's so awkward to watch back.
It's almost impossible for a character to yell, "Noooo!" in dramatic fashion without it being somewhat funny. There's something inherently hilarious about it. Even in a moment where it is supposed to be taken seriously, it's too cheesy to not make a viewer burst out into laughter.
At the end of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, we finally got the awesome "suit up" moment of Anakin Skywalker becoming Darth Vader. The sight was tremendous and the visuals were great. But then Vader was told that Padmé died. His response was to let out a comical, "Noooo!" that has ended up becoming a meme. It takes away from Vader's coolness and is funnier each time you see it.
The original Star Wars trilogy introduced the world to the Force and Jedis. They seemed to hammer home the idea that almost anyone could be one with the Force. You didn't have to be the chosen one or anything like that to be a Jedi. When it came to the prequel trilogy, George Lucas decided to try and explain this away.
Lucas chose to do so by changing the concept to introduce Midi-Chlorians. These were little intelligent microscopic life forms that had a connection to the Force. The more Midi-Chlorians a person had, the stronger with the Force they were. It's why Anakin and his high count was considered to be special. Nobody asked for this explanation and it makes less sense today.
2 Padmé's Cause Of Death
Just as Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith was wrapping up, Padmé Amidala gave birth to twins. She named them Luke and Leia and then proceeded to die. The cause of death is never truly given. Instead, it was heavily implied that she died from a broken heart after Anakin turned to the dark side.
This is something that wouldn't fly today and that's especially true when you consider who Padmé was. She was portrayed throughout the series as a strong woman. She excelled in her role as a queen and wasn't afraid to get her hands dirty when it came to action. The fact that she died because her man turned against her ruined her character and made her seem like a weak-willed person who was dependent on her significant other.
1 Racial Stereotypes
This was most evident in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, but it is extremely problematic. Jar Jar Binks is hated for many reasons, but a big one is the racial stereotype. He has been criticized as a being a form of "blackface" because he acts and talks the way media sometimes portrays African Americans. This is especially troublesome when he becomes the humble servant to Qui-Gon Jin.
Binks wasn't the only example of this in Phantom Menace. There was also Watto, who came across as a Jewish stereotype. Jewish people can get depicted as being money hungry and with big noses...exactly like Watto. There are some cases thrown in during the first film and it only gets more offensive with time.