Now and then a creator has to tell the story that they want to tell, not what the fans are calling for. The idea that anyone would tell George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, that his idea to include a story about a young Anakin Skywalker would ruin Star Wars is kind of ludicrous really. It’s also hard to imagine why people think that Star Wars is a happy story since there’s a good deal of struggle within the franchise and the prequels made it clear that while there are good times, there are bad times as well that aren’t just there to balance out the happy moments, but are there because Star Wars is more akin to real-life than Star Trek in a lot of ways. I can just imagine how Trekkies would love to argue this point, but that’s not my intention for saying such a thing. Letting go of the realization that they’re both fiction, Star Wars, and Star Trek both mirror real life in very meaningful ways. Star Trek is often what people would love the world to be like, while Star Wars is more like what the world we know is, filled with a mix of the good, the bad, and the undeniably difficult. But thinking that an origin story for one of the evilest characters in the original movies would be a bad idea is a bit ludicrous.
Maybe some folks were figuring that Anakin Skywalker just went bad for some reason and were willing to leave it at that, or maybe the idea of turning Anakin into a teenager that had already joined the Jedi Order would have fit better with the idea that some folks wanted to see. George Lucas has admitted that it would have been easier to market, but it wouldn’t have been his vision. It’s true that Phantom Menace could have used some better dialogue in various spots and a little better acting at the time, but overall, thinking that no one wanted to watch it when theaters were absolutely packed on opening day and for a while after kind of debunks any idea that it wouldn’t be popular. Plus, the idea of Darth Vader having a childhood, and a rough one at that, was something that enhanced the character since it took him back to his roots in such a way that people started to understand him a little better and why he had such anger building up inside him for so long. Attack of the Clones only made it better since having to leave his mother in the first place was rough enough, but having her die in his arms was even more traumatic considering that he’d come back to save her.
How in the world could anyone think that this would ruin the original trilogy when it was so far removed? There are a lot of opinions on this of course and plenty of people might state that the prequels were horrible for this or that reason, but the ‘purists’ that think Star Wars should have started and ended with the original trilogy are quite often those that might admit that a story needs to evolve, even if they won’t accept when it does. Like many people in this world, folks want things to go the way they want them, not the way that the creator might think up. Personally, I do enjoy the Legends canon of Star Wars, which still fits in with the prequels, but even George Lucas has admitted that the Legends canon is ‘not his Star Wars’. There is a time when the creation tends to extend beyond the creator, and when this happens it’s time to set ego aside and listen to what people want and do one’s best to see how it can fit with the overall vision, if at all. But with the prequels, this was Lucas’ vision and thus it was his decision to create a younger version of Anakin Skywalker that would leave his mother, would become a Jedi padawan, and would begin to have adventures at a young age until he finally became a Jedi and, eventually, a legend. Saying no to his origin story feels like it would have been missing a great opportunity, but apparently, a lot of folks think they know better than the creator when it comes to what’s inside his head.
At the moment that’s neither here nor there since The Phantom Menace happened and no matter how some Star Wars fans would love to strike it from the books, it’s just not going to happen. It does feel that one day Star Wars could get a reboot, but whether it will be better or worse than the original is tough to say since there are a lot of different viewpoints to consider, especially when it comes to how the story should be told.