My Love Hate Relationship With Prequels

In my head I love prequels.

I love the idea of seeing another area of a book or movie that I hadn’t seen outside of the original scope of the story.

I love the idea of getting to know characters better, seeing their circumstances before whatever-it-is-that-happened-happened.

I love the idea of understanding the full scenario that led to the eventual outplay of whatever series/film.

But that’s just it. I love the IDEA of it.

In practicality?…….. Not so much.

Here’s the truth. I tell people that I love prequels but in actuality, I can’t think of a single prequel I’ve actually liked. Book or film.

The monstrosity of Episodes 1-3 of Star Wars? I’m sorry, I just need to throw up because the whole Anakin/Padme was SO LAME AND RUINED THAT ENTIRE SERISE OF MOVIES! I spent most of those three films rolling my eyes.

Lion King 3 (or 1 and a half, whatever) All about Timon and Pumbaa and their run ins with musical numbers from the first film? Sure it was funny, but honestly? Why did they make that movie?

Then there are those ‘Novellas’ that authors often write following a specific character’s point of view or lead up to a work of fiction. Usually these are released on Kindle (which I don’t have) and because they’re so introspective I end up having roughly the same reaction to them as I do to Star Wars Episodes 1 – 3.

Writing a prequel is hard. I’ve been reflecting on this because there have been times I’ve thought ‘Oh yeah, I’d write a prequel on that series’. But then I am usually struck by terror at creating some hideous book and ruining the opinion of readers forever.

When it comes to successful Prequels this is where we are at:

The purpose of prequels isn’t JUST to follow along with and explain the original book/film. I am a huge believer in ‘don’t write it unless you absolutely have to’. If you just write a prequel that lamely tees up events that occur in the main book or film it is going to be a MAJOR yawn-fest. Instead prequels have to function on their own accord. Have their own storylines that expand OUT rather than IN. Less of an author/reader ‘In Joke or Q+A Session’ more of a widening of the world that existing readers know and also stand alone awesomeness

You also may have opinions on prequels or are maybe like me and say you like them but actually in reality… hate them. Feel free to share your thoughts, I’d love to hear them.

All this aside to say if there was one series that I would personally love a prequel to, it is the ‘Ascendance Trilogy’ by Jennifer Nielsen.

This is mostly because Sage/Jaron is the single best literary character I have ever read (and trust me I have read a LOT) and I for one would love to understand a little more about his circumstances prior to the whole False Prince/Runaway King/Shadow Throne thing.


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