Oh I hate prequels. Not just certain prequels but just about every prequel in existence I have hated and if I do not hate them then I can at least guarantee you that I do not love them or at best my reaction to them is mixed. While some of them have some redeemable qualities to them, for the most part just about every single one of them are trash.
Unlike sequels that attempt to continue the narrative being told, most prequels are the ones winding back the clock and answering the questions “What happened before?” What happened to our favorite characters before they became who they are, before the events leading up to them. Prequels always feel like the go to for when writers know that they have milked just about every sequel they are going to milk and now to try to ‘refresh’ the story wind back the clock and still they end up with turds. I have a lot to talk about so let’s not waste anymore words. This is the Top 4 Reasons Why All Prequels Suck!
4: Except for Hardcore Fans, Most People Just Do Not Care
Usually when a prequel is released it is released after several sequels have come before it and the ‘new fans’ have stopped coming in. For the most part prequels are little tidbits to either A) squeeze a little bit of cash out of hardcore fans who want to know more about the mythos or B) The series has disappeared for a while and they are attempting to ‘reboot’ the series with new fans by inserting a prequel like setting for old fans and attempting to bring in new fans.
Both methods fail. Odds are likely that hardcore fans will leave feeling completely unfulfilled watching a prequel story that really did not need to be told. Perfect example the Star Wars prequels. All three of them are completely picked apart by fans and critics alike, even Revenge of the Sith the best of the series is torn apart because of Darth Vader’s infamous NNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOO which now gets parodied and picked on more times then Wrath of Kahn.
I’m not going to speak for every Star Wars fan out there but for the most part people left theaters again and again with a bitter taste in their mouth and a hate for George Lucas for making Darth FUCKING Vader into a wimpy mamma’s boy and the Clone Wars be nothing more than a bunch of Boba Fett’s dads vs. really annoying and hilarious robots.
3: They are Usually filled with A LOT of Plot Holes and Retcons
If you do create a prequel or an origin story then you are forced to stick to a pretty straight and narrow path that a lot of writers, directors, and creators just do not want to stick to. These people are trying to put their own stamp onto a certain story but are tied down with a lot of red tape of ‘this character would not say this’ or ‘if you do this then it will fuck up everything that the character did and stood for in the first movie/game/whatever’.
If even JUST ONE little detail is out of order then any mild fan of the series will pick up on it and hound your product for it. Which is what usually happens. Comic Books are the biggest culprits of this. Anytime they try to tell an Origin story or a prequel it is always filled with little details about the characters that either are out of character or completely contradict what a character did in a later comic plot line. And if a fan were to pick up on this it is almost always guaranteed that they would reject whatever product you are attempting to produce.
2: Most of the Time They are Stories that have Already Been Told
The best example of this would be the remake of John Carpenter’s The Thing. The Thing is to this day one of my favorite films of all time and in my opinion the greatest horror film of all time. Everything about it is just perfect and I could watch it over and over and over again. That is why the prequel to The Thing is easily one of my most hated films of all time.
In the first film an alien creature finds its way to an American base in Antarctica that made its way there from a Norwegian base. The prequel is about what happened in the Norwegian based that was shown in the first film. What irritates me and others about this little plot point is… WE KNOW WHAT HAPPENED IN THE NORWEGIAN BASE! Believe it or not you do not have to watch every last detail of something to know what happened. John Carpenter does a fantastic job showing what happened at the Norwegian base through imagery of the aftermath. We do not need to see the specifics of this to know that shit went south FAST and it ended with all of the Norwegians being killed.
This prequel just bumbles through the ‘what happened’ scenario filling it with various images that were seen in John Carpenter’s The Thing with no respect for the source material. The Norwegians story was told in the first film. We do not need to see a shot by shot to know that things did not go so well for them.
Believe it or not humans have some pretty damn good imaginations. If you let us use them then you will save your self from a lot of criticism in the future.
1: You Already Know What Happens
The biggest reason, the numero uno reason why all prequels suck. Prequels are usually either origins stories or the what happened before the events of X. They include characters from the universe and shows how they ended up where they were in that particular video game, movie, or whatever. And already your premise is doomed.
I just said it… We already know what happens to these characters. We know who is going to live and who is going to die. There is no suspense, there is no build up, there is no tension because we know how things are going to turn out. Take Resident Evil 0 for instance. The character protagonist Rebecca Chambers, it is ‘in canon’ that she survives the events of Resident Evil 1 so in other words, any time she is in a dangerous situation, any time something might threaten her existence, we KNOW that she isn’t going to die or not a single bad thing is going to happen to her. The same goes for the rest of Bravo Team when their helicopters crashes. We know for a fact that Edward Dewey and Kevin Dooley does not survive to the events of RE1. We know that the rest do so you can discover their bodies in the mansion. So we KNOW that Edward and Kevin are doomed. We know Rebecca is going to live. We did not know what would happen with the Billy character but we know he isn’t in RE1 so he is either going to die or fuck off to God knows where, which he does.
The whole structure of a story is beginning, rising action, climax, falling action, conclusion. The whole point of rising action is to build some kind of tension no matter what story you are going for that builds to the climax. If you KNOW before you watch the film or play the game of crucial points of the rising action then the tension for the most part disappears because of your knowledge.
Basically all prequels come with spoilers built into the story! What is the point of playing them or getting invested into characters that you already know what is going to happen to them? With the exception of wanting to learn more about that character there really is no point.
It is weird that we always give so much hell to sequels for ruining stories but really it is the prequels that are the biggest culprits. They almost always suck and they always completely tear up any parts of the mythos until there is nothing left that can even be enjoyed about them. They are usually a last ditch effort and are hastily put together. If anything it is an idea that just needs to go away and save itself the shame.