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Star Wars fans have a lot to be happy about in 2021. The Mandalorian has now spent two seasons proving that the franchise translates to TV with just as much potency as on the big screen. With Disney+ now offering all their favorite Star Wars films and series in one place with several projects exclusive to the streaming service the horizon, fans are eagerly awaiting new stories from a galaxy far, far away.

With the feature films coming to Disney+, some fans are just now getting their first look at bonus content from the longtime beloved movies. With a wealth of deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes footage, viewers are seeing new material from old favorites. Fans have particularly found new material for the prequel series, which has extensive deleted scenes and bonus content available.

Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman in front of a blurred background
(L-R) Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman | J. Vespa/Getty Images

The Skywalker Saga prequel series

Episodes one through three of the Star Wars films are highly controversial among fans of the franchise. The movies were critically lambasted when they were released and still are to this day, with The Phantom Menace at only a 52% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. As the movies have aged, however, a younger portion of the Star Wars fan base that grew up with the prequel films has come to regard them more fondly.

Any mention of the prequels inevitably invokes an argument between the fans for whom the original trilogy is the gold standard and younger fans who were first exposed to the prequel trilogy. While some may claim the first three films in the Star Wars chronology were entertaining and quality films, few will deny that it had some serious problems.

A bit too ambitious

The prequel trilogy, which began in theaters in 1999, attempted to set a much more established galactic-political environment than the original trilogy. In the original movies, political strife and cultural implications were vague at best. This, combined with a story that involved many more threads of complex character motivations, created the need for excessive exposition that dragged the story’s pacing down with it.

One issue that consistently comes up with the prequel series is the unbelievable relationships between characters. The dialogue was rendered very flat with the need for constant exposition and familiar name-drops. Directorial choices from George Lucas left the starring romance between Hayden Christensen’s Anakin Skywalker and Natalie Portman’s Padme Amidala feeling entirely unbelievable and more than a little gaggy at times.

One of the great cringe romances of screen


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In many scenes, the two came across as two petulant teenagers with very little chemistry. Many fans have blamed Star Wars creator George Lucas, as the actors have proven that they are capable of much more than fans saw on screen. Portman even won Best Actress at the Oscars for her performance in 2010’s Black Swan.

So infamous is the romance between Anakin and Padme that some bonus content has even brought up new discussions among fans about how fake their love seemed on screen. A new photo from a deleted scene of the two stirred up familiar controversy on Reddit, with some fans saying the deleted scenes offered much more context to their relationship. As usual, other fans were quick to pop up and decry the prequel series’ merit, with one commenting, “This looks like a cringe high school couple photo you’d see in 2012.”

While it’s unlikely that the two sects of the fandom will agree on the Star Wars prequel trilogy quality anytime soon, it does seem nice that everyone got more of what they like from the bonus content on Disney+. Devoted fans of the prequel series get more context and support for relationships that were lacking onscreen, while detractors of the prequels get more cringe to laugh at. All the fans get new material for classic films, and everyone wins.