Warning: This article contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens
While opinions on the film vary, Star Wars: The Force Awakens seems to have generally thawed the icy, Hoth-like desolation left with purists after the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Apropos to its title, by utilizing a lively set of newcomers and evoking the proper memories and classic characters of the epochal Original Trilogy, director J.J. Abrams incited a still relevant but mostly hibernating franchise to finally awaken.
So, where does all of the current box-office-obliterating fanfare leave those prequel movies that, thus far, still serve as the live-action directorial swan song of the legendary creator George Lucas? Are they still relevant to a movie-going public currently enamored with Rey, Finn and the mercurial Kylo Ren? Will the new property stewards at Disney slowly chip away at the canonical significance of those Millennial-raising movies until they’re left as innocuous as the myriad Expanded Universe novels, comics and video games?
Well, the short answer to that question is no. While the trio of 1999-2005 films that similarly worked the public up into a Star Wars frenzy are now remembered for a dubious distinction with characters like the exasperating stumblebum Jar Jar Binks and mythology-molesting plot points like midi-chlorians, it could be argued that their standing in the continuity has actually been enhanced by the events in The Force Awakens.
While the film’s prequel connections may merely be conceptual, they could be compelling enough to view those movies through a more flattering lens. So, without any further yapping on my part, let’s identify those concepts!