10. Exploration of the Galaxy
Before we ever even see the words “Star Wars” blast across the screen, every movie starts the same way: with the intro of “A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” This establishes the story’s setting before we know anything else about it, and galaxies are pretty freakin’ huge, each one holding countless solar systems with countless worlds within them. And yet, when you think about the original trilogy, there’s only so many planets we actually visit. Hell, “A New Hope” really only takes place on Tatooine and space, with maybe a minute or two of screen time on Yavin IV. Episode V only has Hoth, Dagobah, and Bespin, and then Episode VI just goes back to what Episode IV did by taking place only on Tatooine, a forest, and a death star.
The prequels however, took us to vast amounts of new worlds. The sprawling, metropolitan city-planet of Coruscant; the regal elegance and lush landscapes of Naboo; the endless oceans and never-ending rain of Kamino; the Mars-esque, anthill mountains of Geonosis; the tumultuous, lava spewing Mustafar – we see them all and more in the prequels. By taking us to all of these various planets, the prequel movies not only spark our imagination of the limitless places to be found in the “Star Wars” galaxy, but they also gave us a real sense that the events that take place really have an effect on not just the characters, but the countless peoples across countless worlds. More lives at stake, more tension in the events and their consequences. One might argue that all the planet-hopping makes the action of the prequels too spread out and fast-paced, but it still gives feeling of scope and scale to the world of “Star Wars” that the original trilogy just couldn’t do.