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The Nostalgia Is Real for the Prequels Today

Anakin (Hayden Christensen), Padme (Natalie Portman), and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) in 'Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones'

Fans of the Star Wars prequels have been having a joyous time now that the cultural conversation has shifted in their favor. And now, Empire Magazine’s celebration of the 25 years we’ve had with the George Lucas films has us all in our feelings once again.

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As both Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor have since returned to the Star Wars universe, the love has been going around for The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith. Affectionately known as the prequels, they were the Star Wars movies that many millennials loved as children. Because we were kids when the movies were coming out, our love for them was drowned out by the adults who hated them, and it has taken over 20 years for that narrative to change.

Now, Empire Magazine is taking a look into how Christensen, McGregor, and Natalie Portman (along with the rest of the cast) feel now compared to the experience of making the films. With insights from the cast, you can tell how their feelings have shifted throughout the years—like how Portman wasn’t sure about playing Padmé. “I was worried about doing it, that I wouldn’t be able to do anything else after, because the series carries such a mythology in American life. But that was precisely why it was such an incredible opportunity,” she told Empire. “It bridged my career from a child to an adult.”

Our Anakin is back

One of the things about this interview that really has fans buzzing comes from a picture that Christensen took for the article. Standing in all black and the silhouette of Darth Vader looming behind him, the pic instantly reminded fans of a poster for The Phantom Menace that had Jake Lloyd (who played the younger Anakin) standing against a wall on Tatooine with the shadow of Vader behind him.

As part of Christensen’s interview, he talked about a lot of his time with Star Wars but particularly what Order 66 was like to shoot in Revenge of the Sith. “There was a lot of talk about us doing that scene, and I love that George did it. It was a bold move. And it’s shocking. Kids seem to forget about that scene when they meet me! There’s not any fear or intimidation. They’re just excited to meet Anakin”

The end of that quote is very moving to me. I remember a time when Christensen shied away from Star Wars and its fanbase because of the hate. When I got to meet him, it was like a childhood dream coming true. In the piece, Christensen talks about getting to see the rise in love for the prequels that we’ve been experiencing compared to what he went through at the time of their release. “It’s been a remarkable experience. And just a very heartwarming one,” he said. “The journey that I’ve been on with Star Wars over the last 20 plus years … it’s been a wild ride, and where we’re at now is really meaningful to me.”

Christensen went on to talk about how now, it’s been a different experience. “I think that those movies have held up well over time,” he said. “It feels like vindication for the work that we did. Everyone that worked on those movies thought that we were part of something special. We all wanted to do our very best work, and we cared a lot about it. And so to see the response from the fans now, it’s very cool.”

All of this has made the prequel fan in me so incredibly happy.

You can purchase the 25th anniversary special of Empire Magazine on February 15th or you can pre-order it now! Adult me will not cut up the images and put them on my wall like I did as a teenager. Adult me will display the magazine as a coffee table book instead.

(featured image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh.

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