Star Wars: Don’t Be a Prequel Menace

Hello there, it’s May the Fourth and HCPL bloggers Anjela and Laura are celebrating the 25th anniversary of Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

The Phantom Menace is the lowest-rated Star Wars film and it received much criticism when it was first released, but now it’s getting the appreciation it deserves. Albeit from fans like us.

The film introduced fans to characters like young Anakin Skywalker, Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn, Queen Amidala, Mace Windu, Darth Maul, and yes, even Jar Jar Binks. George Lucas used the prequels to further explore the lore and politics of Star Wars, but the world was not ready for heavy galactic politics or Jar Jar Binks.

One thing that’s got much love in the prequels is all the memorable (meme-able) quotes, so we decided to pick our favorite quotes and recommend books based on them!

“You were right about one thing, Master. The negotiations were short.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi

Anjela: Before Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi were the team we see them in the film, they had their learning curves. Read Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray to learn more about their early days.

Laura: Awww, young Obi-Wan Kenobi! Be still my heart! For more young Kenobi read Padawan by Kiersten White.

“Are you an angel?” - Anakin Skywalker to Padme Amidala.

Laura: I admit to being so freaked out by the age gap between Anakin and Padmé, that I didn’t watch the other two movies for YEARS.

Anjela: I’m glad you got over your prequel avoidance, and now you are reading the prequels to the prequels – The High Republic series, which begins with Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule. Also, Laura, the age difference between Han and Leia is much more significant than Anakin and Padmé. While ten-year-old Anakin has a crush on 14-year-old Padmé sees him as a “funny little boy”. 

Laura: In addition, Anjela, I completely agree now that the 4-year age gap isn’t significant, but Han and Leia’s age gap never stood out to me because they were both adults when they met. Plus, I was indoctrinated in that relationship from a young age, so Leia seemed just as old as Han to 6-year-old Laura!

“I will not condone a course of action that will lead us to war." - Padmé Amidala

Laura: Read Queen’s Peril by E.K. Johnston to learn more about Padmé and her handmaidens during the events of Phantom Menace

Anjela: What’s Star Wars without the wars? Is that Star Trek?

“Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” – Yoda

Laura: Anakin comes to embody this quote, but if you want another example, read about the evolution of Marda Ro and the Path of the Open Hand in The High Republic: Path of Deceit by Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland. Some might say they’re a cult.

Anjela: If the Jedi Council scenes intrigued you, read The Living Force by John Jackson Miller. In this story set one year before The Phantom Menace, the entire Jedi leadership confronts a crisis.

“At last, we will reveal ourselves to the Jedi. At last, we will have revenge.” - Darth Maul

Anjela: Spoiler alert: the revenge takes place in Episode III. But how cool was Darth Maul? His whole aesthetic screamed SITH LORD. And his double-blade lightsaber made for an epic duel between Maul and Kenobi. Not to mention that John Williams absolutely delivered with his score "Duel of the Fates” (listen on Freegal). For more Darth Maul, check out the Legends book Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter by Michael Reaves.

Laura: For more stories of Darth Maul and his obsession with revenge (especially on Obi-Wan Kenobi), check out The Clone Wars: Stories of Light and Dark. Two of the short stories in this anthology are adaptations of Maul-centric Clone Wars episodes. Rebecca Roanhorse’s story “Dark Vengeance” is a novelization of “Brother” and “Revenge” from season 4 while Greg van Eekhout’s “Kenobi’s Shadow” is a novelization of “The Lawless” from season 5. 

“My parts are showing? Oh, my goodness oh!” - C-3PO

Anjela: In Phantom Menace we learn that Anakin Skywalker, a slave on the desert planet of Tatooine, built a protocol droid to help his mother. It’s the thought that counts, right? If you are a maker like Anakin, checkout Star Wars Everyday by Ashley Eckstein for ideas on crafts, recipes and games taught to you by former Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano herself.

Laura: Fans can make and build their own Star Wars crafts with Star Wars Maker Lab by Liz Lee Heinecke. Budding Imperial scientists can enhance their skills with these experiments, and they’ll soon be giving Galen Erso a run for his money.

Despite the odds, Star Wars projects have continued, with new eras being explored. The upcoming Disney+ show The Acolyte will be set during the end of the High Republic era. It’s basically a prequel to the prequels, but a sequel to the High Republic books. What we have discovered is that no matter when or where in the galaxy the story is set, we love all things Star Wars. Happy May the Fourth!

Looking to celebrate May the Fourth with HCPL? Click here to find out what Star Wars fun is happening at a branch near you. 

These are the items you are looking for. 

Master & Apprentice

Star Wars

Light of the Jedi

Star Wars

Star Wars

Path of Deceit

Darth Maul

Star Wars, the Clone Wars

Star Wars Everyday

Star Wars Maker Lab

Star Wars