three reasons why I love prequel stories

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Prequels aren’t everybody’s favorite thing.  I get that.  But I recently watched the Star Wars prequel films and while I didn’t love them, they did get me thinking about prequels and why I enjoy them so much.  Here are three of my reasons!

Prequels add depth to the original story(ies).

One of my favorite book series is the Lunar Chronicles.  The series’ villain, Queen Levana, is practically pure evil…but you don’t really get to know why until you read the prequel novella, Fairest.  There, you find out that Levana was abused by her older sister and suffered from unrequited love for years.  None of that is an excuse for her villainous behavior, but it does deepen her character/motivation.

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Another one of Marissa Meyer’s books, Heartless, is a prequel to Alice in Wonderland.  Now, I’ve never read Alice.  But I know that if or when I do, I’ll find the story that much more interesting (at least the part with the Queen of Hearts).

And then there’s the Star Wars prequels.  I know I’m treading on thin ice here and I really don’t want to defend the prequels as a whole.  The Phantom Menace was barely tolerable and I had to force myself to watch Attack of the Clones all the way through. 

But the three prequels do add an extra dimension to the original trilogy.  You’ve got to admit that.  You really get to know Anakin/Darth Vader and Padme (not to mention Obi-Wan).  The Star Wars universe expands.  And overall, I feel like the prequels (particularly Revenge of the Sith) give certain lines and character moments in the original films more depth. (All the stuff Obi-Wan says about Anakin/Vader for instance.)

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Prequels allow you to spend more time in a great storyworld.

Usually, stories receive prequels because fans enjoyed them so much.  And with that, you often get a greater exploration of that story’s world and the characters in it.  Right now, I’m specifically thinking of Monsters University, which I LOVE (far more than Monsters, Inc.).  I’m so, so glad they made a prequel.  The world of the Monsters films is fun, colorful, and quirky – staying there a little longer is always a good idea and the prequel made that possible.

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The same holds true for the Star Wars prequels.  I love all the new worlds and cities and moons that you see in the prequels (especially because I half grew up watching The Clone Wars TV show and so many of the locations are comfortingly familiar).  The Star Wars universe is super cool – I’ll even sit through Attack of the Clones just to see more of it.

Prequels are a great opportunity for fan-service.

You know one of the things I love in prequels?  It’s when you see something for the original film/book but it’s not yet in its final form (even though the prequel was created after the OG story).  Example: the tech in Monsters University is rougher and not as advanced.  Or C-3PO in The Phantom Menace.

Throwbacks like that are a huge part of why I enjoy prequels so much.  You’ll have quotes, too, that are like throw-forwards to the original stuff. (Obi-Wan: “Why do I get the feeling you’ll be the death of me?” *snickers*)  Additionally, prequels often focus on fan-favorite characters.  Like Mike in Monsters University!  Or Puss in Puss in Boots (the Shrek prequel).  So much fun.

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Anyway!  Those are three reasons why I like watching/reading prequels.  What about you?  Do you hate the Star Wars prequels?  Do you prefer Monsters University to Monsters, Inc. (PLEASE SAY YES)?  Let me know in the comments!

Eva

16 thoughts on “three reasons why I love prequel stories

  1. I think I tend to like the concept of a prequel better than most prequels I’ve read or tried to read. And this probably explains why I don’t care for The Magician’s Nephew.

    Sometimes they feel too “different” or too inferior or they change too much. One of my favorite authors tied two of his widely varying series together in this way, and well, I hate that.

    I put down the one about Levana after skimming it, didn’t want to read thoroughly, it was such unmitigated evil. I think I just grasped enough about Winter’s background to round out that story.

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    1. Ah. That’s a completely valid point of view – about both prequels and Fairest. ❤ If you want even more backstory on Winter, you should read Stars Above – the Lunar Chronicles short story anthology. There's one story about her and Jacin as little kids that's soooo cute.

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  2. *shakes head @the Star Wars prequels*

    😛

    Like, I can see WHY they add depth for you and WHY they’re enjoyable. But for me, they’re just a big pile of “nope.” (Maybe because I didn’t even care much about Darth Vader, as Darth Vader, so I’m REALLY not interested in seeing where he came from?)

    For the rest, I actually haven’t seen most of these, so don’t have an opinion on them . . . I don’t often read or watch prequels. Most of the time, I’m just not interested (like, “I know the story already, I wanna move on to something new.”) But when I have gotten into prequels, I have sometimes enjoyed them very much. Like Captain Marvel. Definitely a Marvel prequel, and one that was amazingly well-done.

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    1. I’ll stick up for the SW prequels! They weren’t the best of the bunch but I still enjoy watching them… they give a broader picture to the entire SW series. We own all of them. 😊

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      1. I think my issue is . . . a lot of the time I just DON’T CARE about getting a broader picture (of the SW universe or any universe)? Like, I’m not a person who is very interested in worldbuilding. I’m just NOT. So if somebody comes to me and says, “Katie, we have a story for you that’s got lame characters but it expands X fictional universe in interesting ways, are you interested?” I’ll just be like . . .

        *hard pass*

        😉

        Liked by 1 person

    2. That makes a lot of sense, what you said about Darth Vader. For me, the Clone Wars TV show made me care a LOT about the prequel characters + I like stories that show a ‘good’ character’s descent into villainy. But you’re a lot different. 😉

      Captain Marvel is totally a prequel! Love that you pointed that out. ❤ (I feel like watching it again now, haha.)

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      1. Haha, yup! I am indeed a lot different 😉

        It is one of the GOOD PREQUELS, in my mind. It introduces an awesome new character while giving us fresh insight into old, beloved characters. It expands an already interesting universe, and it has plenty of funny / cute ‘nostalgia’ moments that work really well.

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  3. Prequels can be great when they’re done well.

    I haven’t seen Rise of the Planet of the Apes (never seen the original Planet of the Apes either), but I’ve heard very good things about it. The Godfather 2, often seen as just as good as the original if not better, is half-prequel. I preferred Monsters Inc over University, but I get why some people prefer University. Casino Royale is a prequel of sorts for the James Bond series, and it’s up there with the best Bond movies of all-time. You could also argue that Batman Begins is a prequel movie, even if it’s officially the first part of a trilogy.

    I’ve also seen some people call The Good, The Bad and The Ugly a prequel. I remember enjoying that movie.

    From a book standpoint, I know that the sixth Chronicles of Narnia book released is the earliest in the timeline, making that a prequel too.

    I like prequels when they’re well done. But more often than not, they pale in comparison to the originals. Especially if they’re made years later. The Star Wars prequels have their moments, but overall they don’t hold a candle to the original trilogy. Revenge of the Sith is clearly the best of them though – that opera scene in particular might actually be the best quiet scene in the entire franchise.

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    1. Yes, The Magician’s Nephew is a sort-of prequel to the other Narnia books. Very cool in that regard.

      With the SW prequels (especially the first two), I found them far less entertaining than the original trilogy. So that’s a definite point against them. But Revenge of the Sith was quite fascinating in its own way – and I agree about the opera scene!

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  4. I loved all of the prequels!!! They were awesome. And like you said, if nothing else, they are enjoyable for the fact that we’re spending more time in the SW universe, which is always a plus.
    Good to hear someone say something good about Star Wars for a change! Thanks for this great post ❤️

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    1. Yay for another prequels fan! One big reason I enjoyed Revenge of the Sith so much is because, like I said, I love the Clone Wars TV show so the characters, setting, and mood were all like old friends. ❤ You're welcome!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Monsters University is wayyy better than Monsters Inc. With you the whole way on that one! And yes, I also enjoy prequels, especially when they’re done properly (as was MU or the standalone Star Wars prequel film Rogue One). The actual Star Wars prequel trilogy wasn’t so great, but like you said, it puts things together nicely.

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    1. I connected with the characters so, so much better in MU than MI. ❤

      Yes! Rogue One! Love it. *cries* And I think the prequel trilogy should be required watching for every SW fan – at least once, y'know?

      Liked by 1 person

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