Once upon a time film series progressed in a linear fashion with the films made afterwards being set after the ones that came before. And then the idea of prequels emerged and tore massive plot holes in the space-time continuum.
And it’s probably possible to make a prequel that doesn’t completely ruin all the stuff that happened before (the Marvel films can now presumably go “um, it was in a different time line!” now, for example), but given the way that three of the biggest franchises have been messed up that’s maybe not the case.
1. Harry Potter
The Fantastic Beasts film series seemed to have been invented to answer the question “how can we make the Harry Potter franchise rain money the way it did before we ran out of books?” rather than anything especially pressing that needed telling regarding the Wizarding World.
And there are several big, if somewhat arcane, questions about the prequels but here’s a big one: is Professor McGonagall is immortal, or is she Paul Rudd?
This is asked because her appearance in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald has her about 30 years older than would make sense given what had already been established in the Potter continuity.
Fortunately that was definitely the only controversy about the fictional wizard films and everyone was fine with everything else oh hold on wait.
The problem with the Alien franchise is twofold, in that the most important problem is the existence of all the films that aren’t the first two. FACT.
But now it, like the Terminator and Halloween franchises, is being forced to decide which bits are “canon” and which are “bollocks” because it’s painted itself into such a corner with films establishing the origin story of the titular aliens, none of which gel with the other.
First was Alien Vs Predator in 2004, positing that the aliens were created as things for the predators to hunt. Hence the versus in the title.
And that was fine, if dumb, until 2012 when Prometheus claimed that nah, the aliens were created by the “architects” as murder-animals. And then in 2017 we got yet another origin story in Alien: Convenant: the aliens were genetically engineered by the android David for… um, reasons.
What, so the aliens can’t just be things evolution knocked up? What metaphysical agenda are you pushing here, Ridley Scott?
3. Star Wars
Well, obviously this is the big one.
The prequels are almost shorthand for bad ideas executed unimpressively, despite also being massive successes which made more money than many nations. But what problems did they solve?
After all, we presumably all knew that Darth Vader and Boba Fett were adorable tykes at one time, but did we actually have to meet them? No. No, we did not.
But then you get a bunch of weird inconsistencies once you sit down and watch the Original Trilogy, or as I choose to call it, the Orige Trge.
These include, but are not limited to, the following complaints:…
- Why did Obi Wan say he didn’t know Artoo in A New Hope, despite Artoo literally saying that he used to be his property?
- How come Luke could learn to Jedi as an adult in a few weeks (or days) to the point of being able to hold his own against Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back when his Chosen One dad took years AND was almost rejected for being too old when he was a kid?
- How does Leia remember her mum in Return of the Jedi when Padme literally died giving birth to her?
- How come Vader is a lightsaber-slinging badass at the end of Rogue One and then shuffling like a broom-wielding dufus when fighting Obi Wan on the Death Star about a day and a half later?
Honestly, maybe prequels should start with the plot holes and then work backwards. Anything’s better than whatever system they’re using.