10 Fan Theories That Prove The 'Star Wars' Prequels Deserve Way More Credit

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Vote up the theories that make the prequels even better.

The Star Wars prequel trilogy have a pretty rocky reputation among fans – some love them flaws and all, and others think they nearly ruined the franchise. For those who might not look fondly on the prequels, there are a number of fan theories collected below that actually make Episode I-III a lot more interesting.

  • 1
    2,102 VOTES

    The Reason The 'High Ground' Ended Anakin And Obi-Wan's Duel

    From Redditor u/SainttecWalker:

    So it gets memed to hell and I promise you Lukas didn't actually think this hard about the script, but there actually is a legitimate foundation for why "The High Ground" would be so important in that moment between those two duelists, allow me to explain.

    To start off, lets cover the circumstances of the duel.

    Obi-Wan is sword-fighting his once-apprentice Anakin Skywalker. Obi-Wan is one of the premier duelists of the Jedi Order, and he taught Anakin just about everything Anakin knows about the art. Interestingly, despite this they still had vastly different takes on Lightsaber Combat. Obi-Wan preferred Form 3, which emphasized deliberate and efficient action, primarily in defense, to lengthen a fight until the opponent made a mistake. Anakin however favored Form 5, which while the lore says it was an evolution of Form 3, it is actually quite more aggressive. Form 5 is characterized by powerful strikes, as well as counter-attacks immediately after successful defense, regardless if an opening is actually perceived. This can tire the user quickly, but also will tire their target faster as they contend with constant counterattacks and "haymaker" type attacks. They begin their duel in a control room on the volcanic lava planet Mustafar, and their duel damages important safety mechanisms that cause the facility they're engaged in to begin melting into the lava below. Eventually, they are dueling simply on scrap metal floating upon a lava river. We see that the river is leading to a lavafall, and so the duel must end here one way or another. Obi-Wan leaps from the raft to an embankment of volcanic gravel and turns back to Anakin, who is now stuck on the aforementioned lava river. Staying here is suicide, going over the Lavafall is death, that is no option. The way behind him is too steep to safely land on, and he's too angry to retreat from this duel in any case. Jumping onto the gravel below Obi-Wan entails high risk, as the lava river continues to rise and if the gravel gives way he will find himself ankle-deep in molten steel and rock. Even if he were to land the jump, the duel would not be over and Anakin would be at a disadvantage: now pressed for time to push Obi-Wan up the slope further so as not to burn in the rising lava. But there is a third option: to jump over Obi-Wan. A once successful tactic that Anakin has heard doubtlessly many times... but we'll talk about that in a moment. As we know, Anakin took this path despite Obi-Wan pleading with him not to and died there on Mustafar, becoming Vader.

    So, why did Anakin think to jump over Obi-Wan? Well to answer that we have to look back at another duel. The first duel between Obi-Wan and the Sith Assassin: Darth Maul. At the end of this duel, Maul has killed Master Qui-Gon Jin and has effectively defeated Obi-Wan. He stands above the then Jedi Padawan, who dangles from a small strut over an endless pit that his weapon had just been discarded into. Maul is overconfident, and lets Obi-Wan marinate in seeming hopelessness but in fact Obi-wan is gathering his strength. Using the force, he leaps out of this hole with a 15 foot vertical and summons his fallen master's lightsaber. In midair, he ignites the green blade and bisects Maul as he lands, defeating the first Sith to be fought in (no exaggeration) one thousand years and casting him into The Pit. Pretty heroic, right? Sounds like the kind of story that literally every Jedi ever would be asking Obi-Wan to tell over and over again, right? Of course, Anakin would be by his side listening with rapt attention for every single retelling... but do you think that's how the story goes in Obi-Wan's head every time he retells it? No, every time Obi-Wan retells that story - with the adrenaline and dopamine having long worn off - now his mind can't help but show him... alternate circumstances. Every time Obi-Wan replays that duel in his mind, he sees a new outcome. This time, Maul doesn't turn around to face him, he simply turns his lightsaber around and impales Obi-Wan on it. The next, Obi-Wan's bisecting attack doesn't land and instead he has to continue the duel having spent all his stamina on that feat of Force conjuration. Of course, as his mastery of Form 3 would grow, his mind would conjure the perfect response to that attack to torment him. An efficient movement which would simply remove the fighting hand and legs of his opponent as they twisted in the air above. Truly this would be the most horrifying alternate outcome of that duel, as there would be no more last-ditch efforts. He would be alive, and completely at the Sith's (lack of) mercy.

    He likely never confided in Anakin his fears of that movement's failure. The most he ever said was probably that it was "brash" or "far to risky", but Anakin was all too enraptured by the triumph of Good over Evil to listen.

    So Obi-Wan turned to Anakin and said "It's over, I have the High Ground" because he, just like Anakin now, had once been in a position where success requires a massive vertical leap over your opponent and he knew the risk that move entailed.

    Obi-Wan begged Anakin "Don't try it.", but Anakin misinterpreted that plea. In his hatred and overconfidence, Anakin felt Obi-Wan's fear and thought he had found the situation where he could best his master. He believed he had found a strike that Obi-Wan could not repel and now, of course, his statement about the High Ground was simply a bluff! Unfortunately, Obi-Wan's true fear was that the only way to survive that slope on Mustafar, the only hope for the Republic to live, was to make one of a million past nightmares reality.

    2,102 votes
  • 2
    921 VOTES

    Captain Panaka Was A Double Agent

    From Redditor u/Arc_the_lad:

    We're told again and again that the goal of the invasion is the legalized occupation of Naboo by the Trade Federation. The whole thing turns out to be a giant black eye for the bad guys though. By the end of the invasion, the evil Sith after a millenium in hiding return only to see Darth Maul cut in half by a Jedi padawan on his first mission out while the fearsome droid army of the Trade Federation are defeated by a planet with no military using two Jedi, a handful of volunteer security guards and some Gungan cannon-fodder.

    When you're a Dark Lord of the Sith trying to conquer the galaxy, you can't have just one plan on how to do it. You need contingency plans for when things go off the rails and then contingencies for those contingencies. Captain Panaka was a deep cover asset who, though not a formal part of the plan to invade Naboo, tried his best to ensure the Trade Federation's invasion was a success by subtly working against Queen Amidala and ultimately ended up turning the entire fiasco into a victory for Palpatine.



    Palpatine and Panaka are both from Naboo. In their respective positions as senator and head of security, they would at least be well acquainted with each other professionally. Panaka would also likely also know a great deal about Palpatine's private life and routine when he's on Naboo as part of his job.

    As Palpatine's agent, Panaka knew about the impending invasion, but downplays the possibility of attack when the Trade Federation jams their communication. If Governor Baldie McMullet immediately understood that blocked communications were a precursor to invasion, so would a head of security.

    Panaka tries to use fear to manipulate Amidala into surrender by telling her that there is no way Naboo can defend itself against the droid army.

    When the Jedi rescue them and Qui-Gon asks her to go to Coruscant for her own safety, Panaka tries to keep her on Naboo by assuring them the Trade Federation would not harm Amidala because they needed her to sign the treaty.

    After the ship is damaged, Qui-Gon decides to land on Tatooine because there is no Trade Federation presence there. Panaka objects.

    Once they are on Tatooine, there is no way for Palpatine or the Trade Federation to know where they are, so someone would have to send out a signal to them with their location. There are three people on board that might suss out his intentions to send one: the two Jedi and the Queen. Luckily, Qui-Gon has to leave the ship to get parts while Obi-Wan is preoccupied with repairing it. So what does Panaka do? He pawns the Queen off on Qui-Gon so he'll take her with him into town. With her gone, he's free to signal Palpatine with their location.

    When they finally get to Coruscant and met Chancellor Valorum, he makes a half-hearted, almost dimissive bow (really more of a head nod) to him in stark contrast to the full bow he gives Palpatine later in the movie after he becomes chancellor.

    If there was one time when security should stay by their VIP's side at all times, it would be while on foreign soil. Yet on Coruscant, Panaka ditches Amidala to hang out with Palpatine to do who knows what, but when he returns, he is very excited to announce Palpatine was nominated to succeed Valorum.

    When Amidala decides to return to Naboo, he tries to convince her to stay on Coruscant which is the exact same thing Palpatine now wants.

    Arriving back on Naboo, he tells everyone that security forces and police have started an underground resistance. What does he do next? He announces that he has rounded up as many of its leaders as possible and brought them back with him to the plains which would leave said resistance unorganized and effectively without leadership during their push to take the palace. He then tries to dissuade Amidala from going through with the attack again.

    He literally takes Amidala through a window straight into a trap in the throne room where they are immediately surrounded by droidekas. Had Amidala's decoy not shown up, the Trade Federation could have ended things right there.

    As the movie ends, he leading Gunray away and unlike the weak bow he gave Valorum, he gives his true master Palpatine a deep formal bow.



    If Panaka was working for Palpatine, why doesn't he side with Gunray in the throne room once Amidala surrenders? Because he's an undercover agent and undercover agents stay in character until their handler pulls them or issues them new instructions regardless of what's going on at the time.

    Panaka is part of Palpatine's spy network. He had two jobs. First, it was staging for the invasion. He made sure the droid army had absolutely no resistance in taking the capital. His second job was to keep tabs on the Queen. Palpatine being a politician from Naboo, would have known she used a double, so he needed someone to keep track of the real Queen during the invasion.

    At the end of The Phantom Menace, once Nute Gunray has completely bungled the invasion and been apprehended, Panaka receives his new orders from Palpatine. Gunray is in Jedi custody on a planet that is 100% hostile to him. Yet, when Attack of the Clones picks up, he's not only free, but on the ruling council of the Separatists. How is that possible? Because Panaka is the one who led him away into detention and let him escape.

    Through his hard work, Panaka ensures that a failed one-off deal between two politicians turns into a permanent alliance with the war criminal Nute Gunray and his Trade Federation now jointed at the hip with the Sith and dependent on Palpatine for survival. Palpatine uses the Republic to try Gunray four times in absentia to keep him in remembrance of that. For a job well done, Palpatine likely rewarded Panaka and brought him into the fold over in Coruscant which is why he doesn't return for the rest of the trilogy.

    921 votes
  • 3
    892 VOTES

    The Reason Jedi Avoid Commitment

    From Redditor u/PrinceUmbongo:

    I think we've been shown the strength of the Jedi's mind powers throughout all films. It stands to reason that in situations like relationships, whether realizing or not, they will probably be subtly (or not) manipulating the minds of those they are with, basically forcing people to be their companions. An interesting case is Anakin and Padme. Now firstly, she meets him as a kid. Stands to reason that relationship might be a little odd as they get older. Padme is also very against any relationship with Anakin first, but slowly comes around, then comes marriage, and then getting pregnant. At the same time Padme dies, Anakin is at his weakest, so this is the only time she is free from his grasp, and allows herself to die. Remember in the originals Vader can kill someone merely via a screen, I'm sure he has a powerful connection with his wife. To conclude, anakin used his powerful force powers from an early age to weirdly groom padme, make her the object of his obsession and committed many dark acts in her name. Since Palpatine was already familiar with padme, perhaps he also had something to do with placing them along the same path.

    892 votes
  • 4
    705 VOTES

    Anakin Is Drawn To Padme Because She Reminds Him Of His Mother

    From Redditor u/mybustersword:

    Being eight and just leaving his home world and only family he's known, his mother, he meets a woman who looks like her, is caring like her, and is seemingly unimportant to all. He sees his own mother in her. According to Freud, our first example of what our romantic and sexual partners are comes from our relationship with our parents. We form our ideology and compete with our same gendered parents for the opposite affection.

    Later when his own father figure, Obi-Wan, was trying to help the young couple Anakin saw competition and believed Obi-Wan was trying to take the Queen away from him. He saw them, the older two, and believed he has to kill his father figure to have the relationship he desires with his mother.

    705 votes
  • 5
    825 VOTES

    Palpatine Would Have Won Whether Or Not Mace Windu Killed Him

    From Redditor u/driku12:

    This theory is also tied a bit to The Rise of Skywalker. Being that the abbreviation for Revenge of the Sith (RotS) and The Rise of Skywalker (TRoS) are so similar, I will refer to them as Ep 3 and Ep 9 for simplicity.

    So, in Ep 9 we learn that Palpatine's death fetish throughout the Star Wars movies is because if someone strikes him down in anger he will take over their body, and this is the means through which the Sith transfer their power, implying that Palpatine and all the Sith before him are, in a way, the same guy, or at least the knowledge and ability of those guys exponentially builds on themselves.

    In Episode 9, when Rey came before him, he wanted her to do it. Before that, when it looked like Rey wouldn't turn, he had Kylo as a backup. Before that, he engineered the Death Star II situation to try to have Luke do it, and before Darth Vader got burned up in a volcano he was probably planning on having him do it too, but being stuck in a 100 year old body is better than being stuck in a 40 year old crippled body I guess.

    This explains why, throughout all the movies, Palpatine, despite being in several situations where he could very well be killed, never displays any actual fear at the idea, and even seems to enjoy the prospect. It isn't some weird love of seeing the next generation partake in hatred by striking him down, it's looking forward to inhabiting a new, younger, more powerful body. He wins no matter what, this is all a game to him, of course he is laughing like a maniac. Rey brings the saber back to strike him down, he closes his eyes in euphoria. Kylo points his saber inches from his face, no reaction. Luke swings to kill him, he laughs. In the movies, there is only one exception:

    When Palpatine is cornered on the windowsil of his office by Mace Windu while Anakin looks on, he seems pretty terrified. Windu raises his lightsaber and he's all "No, please, don't!" and whatever, but I always took it as a ploy. Anakin was clearly conflicted, and Palpatine was playing the part of a nice old man to make Anakin have pity on him, though I do believe that Mace won the previous duel fair and square. Palpatine was just playing up the ending.

    Palpatine, though, I doubt was stupid enough to enter into a duel with a Jedi master who even had the possibility of defeating him in any way that would actually matter. You don't execute a gigantic galactic conspiracy like he did by taking stupid risks. That is, of course, assuming that Mace really even COULD defeat Palpatine at all in any meaningful way.

    Meesa propose that Palpatine positioned himself so that, by that point, the Jedi were in a no-win scenario. Knowing what we do now about Palpatine's essence transfer, whether his acting worked on Anakin was irrelevant. Palpatine had two incredibly powerful Jedi before him who were both tainted by the Dark Side, one of which wanted to kill him then and there, the other of which might become his apprentice and strike him down later. Either way, Palpatine gets a new, more powerful body by one of them, sooner or later, striking him down in hatred. As a matter of fact, had Anakin not cut off Mace's hand, Palpatine probably would have won entirely, eventually getting Anakin to be his apprentice anyway and using his younger, more powerful Mace Windu body to kill Yoda, meaning that even if Obi-Wan successfully scarred Vader, making his body not usable by Palpatine, Luke would have less guidance in the future, would probably be turned to the Dark Side, and become Palps's next vessel.

    Tl;dr: We learn in Episode 9 that Palpatine can take over someone's body if they strike him down in hatred. This means that in Episode 3, when Mace Windu goes to fight Palpatine and seemingly only loses because Anakin betrays him, Palpatine had actually already won by the time Mace walked in the door. Even if Anakin didn't betray Mace and become Darth Vader, Palpatine would have just taken over Mace's body and would have continued on, probably more powerful. Palpatine just had to act like he was terrified of Mace to solidify the illusion that either of them could actually beat him in any meaningful manner.

    825 votes
  • 6
    490 VOTES


    From Redditor u/Mr_Billo:

    What do we know about Midichlorians?

    Midichlorians are microscopic, intelligent lifeforms that live within the cells of all living beings. The Force spoke through the midi-chlorians, allowing certain beings to use the Force if they were sensitive enough to its powers. Midi-chlorian counts, used to determine a being's potential in the Force, could be tested by examining a subject's blood. The highest known midi-chlorian count—over 20,000—belonged to Anakin Skywalker, the Chosen One who was believed to have been conceived by the midi-chlorians

    Therefore, those with more of them are more powerful in the Force. But who did we learn about them from?

    We learned about them first from Qui-Gon and his padawan Obi-Wan, and then in their entirety on Coruscant as Qui-Gon and the Qui-Gang left to deal with the goings on over at the Naboo Ranch. But here's the thing, Qui-Gon's rebellious as all shit. He doesn't jive with the orthodox Jedi ways, and constantly rubs against them when he can. He defies a direct order from the Council just for 'cuz.

    So here's my theory: Midichlorians are just the Jedi Atheist way of explaining the Force, whereas most Jedi think of it as a spiritual entity. Qui-Gon isn't the only one to believe in it, though. That's why Anakin brings it up, because he heard Jedi on the council talk about it.

    So why, when you take a blood sample, do you see these midichlorians? Well saddle up, I'll tell you. Because maybe midichlorians are indeed cells that exist in this galaxy (it's a whole new Galaxy, with cells aplenty that we wouldn't recognize on Earth). And maybe they are more prevalent in Jedi. But maybe they just serve a different purpose. Maybe being Force sensitive brings about side effects to an individuals body like having more midichlorians (which for all we know could just be a larger count of an alternative white blood cell trying to fight off whatever is making the individual's body so different from a non-Force user.)

    It would make sense that QGJ would be a believer of a more scientific approach to the Force, what with him being the rebel without a cause steal-yo-gurl type that we've come to know and love. But as for me and my house, I still wish to hold that the Force is actually a big ol' spiritual thing.

    490 votes