207/366 – Prequel Pickiness

Qui-Gon-Jinn_d89416e8I’m not a terribly big fan of prequels in general. That seems like an odd sort of opinion given the fact that there are plenty of TV shows, games, and movies out there that have had a way of dipping into the prequel pool and have been pretty successful with it, but I definitely have my reasons for it.

The primary one is that many prequels feel like, to me, a dipping back into the well of an IP or a movie/TV world that has been partially or totally exhausted. While there might be some good reason for doing so, on the whole, I don’t really think prequels get created unless there’s a notion that people would enjoy watching them. That implies that there’s a level of interest in supplementing what would be the “present day” story and characters with a feature or series that explores what happened before that. They’re very rarely entities unto their own creation, tied inexorably to the “main” plot of events that occurred in its far-flung future, and thus have a dependence on making certain significant “past” events meet that standard. I think it’s fair to say on that front, there’s mixed results.

The other reason is more personal, and it’s just that I think prequels are obviously very focused on the past, on what happened before that was nonetheless historic but still of old. I like to have my consumption of stories to have a beginning, middle, and end  (or if not an end, a moving forward into the future). To go back to what happened to view some of the context of what drew me to the main story just feels like it’s backwards to me – not to mention, in part, predictable (i.e. knowing that in the future, characters or events transpire). It makes the “past” story one that at least in part, people know about – but this may be me valuing the surprise of plot twists, unexpected events, or other such bits and pieces that make a story not feel like I know what’s going to happen ahead of time. Prequels seem to fly in the face of that.

Don’t get me wrong – there are some very solid prequel-based TV shows, games, and movies out there, and a good argument for having them. I also can’t really argue with the number of people that are invested in finding out what happened to get them to a certain point in the main story. I guess for me it just boils down to wanting to fill out an IP or a good story with something that is fresh and new, not “fresh” and “new” in the sense that it pulls from a past we hadn’t glimpsed directly. Like I said, I can’t really argue with their success, but I can at least feel like the failures could have been avoided.

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