Picture this: you’re sitting on the couch while a show you’ve already seen three or four times plays on Netflix browsing your favorite social media site. Suddenly, you see it: a GIF of General Grievous edited into The Rise of Skywalker running after the lightsaber Ben just threw away. It’s hilarious and now all you want to do is watch Revenge of the Sith. But it wasn’t so long ago when all Star Wars fans wanted to do was NOT watch one of the Prequel Trilogy films. So, what happened? One word: memes.
With regards to the Prequel films, you likely fall into one of several categories of fans – most of which involve explaining your complicated relationship with the movies. There are some of us who have loved them since day one while simultaneously understanding their flaws. But those flaws have become fodder for internet culture and treasure for meme makers.
Memes have a way of drawing us together in strange ways that can only be explained by the fact that it’s 2020 and our culture continues to find new avenues to divide us. But memes can be a reprieve from an otherwise boring or insufferable timeline. They’ve come a long way over the years, from Bad Luck Brian to literally any and everything that could be seen or said. Remember the Area 51 raid? How amazing was that time with its hilarious content and endless stream of jokes? Like most truths, memes simplify a message in a funny way that makes you rethink how you originally viewed a subject. And in doing so, the subject becomes more endearing. Well, in the same way the Area 51 raid temporarily brought people of opposing political or cultural viewpoints together, Prequel memes have brought the movies and the haters together in newfound harmony.
Over the years, many things have contributed to the ease of Prequel hate. From The Clone Wars to a disappointing Sequel Trilogy to just the simple passing of time, fans have come around to these movies for different reasons. I believe one of those factors is memes. Afterall, it’s all fun and games until somebody makes fun of something you like. Only fans are allowed to do that!
The sting some fans (not this writer, I should note) felt after seeing Episodes I-III for the first time has waned over time. Again, there are several reasons for this, but how can you ignore the impact of laughing at “high ground,” “do it,” “hello there,” Jar-Jar, and sand memes? We know these films aren’t perfect, but after all this time we see how amazing (for its time) the special effects were, how complex Anakin’s relationship with loss and loneliness was, and how corrupt the Jedi had truly become. Why can’t one of the reasons fans have relaxed on Prequel hate be memes?
So, the next time you’re scrolling and see a meme featuring not just the men, but also the women and the children too, stop and think about how you feel. You laugh because you get it and because it’s from the movies and the universe you love. That original disdain you might have felt? Gone it is, consumed by Darth Memes.