It's conventional wisdom among most old "Star Wars" fans that George Lucas should have quit while he was ahead.
"Star Wars," "Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi" were everything we needed, while the prequel trilogy was obviously a childhood-ruining space abomination.
Or was it?
Turns out, the younger generation of fans doesn't see it that way at all — last year's poll on the best "Star Wars" movie ever turned up surprising results.
We asked our resident Fanboy to explain Millennials' loyalty to "Phantom Menace," etc. So he wrote us a short one-act play.
EXT. THE INKY BLACKNESS OF SPACE. NIGHT. (OR MAYBE IT'S DAY, IT'S HARD TO TELL IN THE INKY BLACKNESS OF SPACE.)
Yellow lettering approaches us on a slant. It reads.
Planet Fanboy: Episode VI – Rerelease of the Prequels. It is a time of great confusion for adult nerds. 'Star Wars' films are in theaters, and in 3-D to boot, and this should be a cause for celebration. But adult nerds just can't bring themselves to get excited about 'Episode I – The Phantom Menace.' Because it does, by all rights, blow star destroyer sized chunks.
Rising among them, however, are a new class of nerds. They call themselves 'Millennials," only the size of R2 Units when the movie came out. And they love the damn thing. An intrepid reporter, Hoffman the Gutt, travels to the planet of NeedKashyyk to learn more.
INT. MAS ICEE CANTINA, CYBERCAFE AND LAUNDROMAT. DAY.
Hoffman the Gutt enters holding his note pad and a pen.
Bartender (pointing to pad and pen): You'll have to leave those outside, we don't serve their kind. This is a paperless cantina.
HtG: My apologies. I was hoping I could speak to someone who was born in the very early 1990s.
Bartender: Those two in the corner may be able to help you out. Though stay away from the Wookiee – he just got back from Bonnaroo and he's exhausted.
HtG (approaching two millennials, one awake, one hairy and dozing off): Hello.
Millennial (looking at his phone): Mmf.
HtG: I hope I'm not interrupting you while you are sexting. Are you sexting right now?
Just then a bunch of kids skate into the Cantina and immediately post negative reviews of the place on Yelp.
HtG: Listen, I don't want to interrupt your game of Fruit Ninja but I really need some information. Do you actually...like... "The Phantom Menace?"
Hairy Millennial: Of course we do.
HtG: You don't find the acting atrocious? Jar-Jar Binks to be annoying? The trade union storyline confusing and uninteresting? You don't find the notion of midi-chlorians to negate the inherent mystical quality of the Force, or for Watto to –
Millennial: Watto's awesome.
Millennial: Watto's cool, dude. What's your problem? I saw that movie when I was seven. It was awesome.
Hairy Millennial: Darth Maul scene nearly made me crap myself.
Millennial: I remember lying and saying I watched the whole thing, but I had to cover my eyes the first time.
Hairy Millennial: Weak!
Just then a group of kids in hoodies enter the Cantina and invent a new social networking platform.
HtG: Wait, time-out. So, you recognize, at least, that the movie is a stinker, but you just like it because you are nostalgic for it?
Millennial: What, and you don't do that with your movies? How old are you?
HtG: Well, I really don't see how that's exactly relevant...
Millennial: You came in here with paper, so that means when you were seven you were watching stuff like, I dunno, "Krull."
Hairy Millennial: "Krull" is awesome, dude.
Millennial: "Krull" IS awesome, but here's my point...
Just then five people eavesdropping BitTorrent "Krull."
Millennial (cont): Have you watched "Krull" lately? Slow and boring. Have you watched the Podrace lately? Still kicks ass.
HtG: But... but the acting. J-J-Jake Lloyd!
Hairy Millennial: No offense to the man, but you didn't exactly see Mark Hamill have much of a post-Skywalker career, didja? And there are moments as dopey as bad as "oops" or "yippie" in Episode IV. The "we did it" embrace between Chewie and Leia?
HtG: But... I love that moment.
Millennial: Sure you do, man. And I love it, too. Only I also have room in my heart for the corny stuff in "The Phantom Menace." See, it's important to remember that – Oh, dude! She replied!
The Millennial shows his phone to the Hairy Millennial.
Hairy Millennial: GTFO, dude. That's insaaaaaaane!
HtG: Did...is...is that... is that a (whispering) sext?
Millennial and Hairy Millennial laugh.
HtG: I need to know! Is that a sext?!? Did you just get a sext?!! Tell me! Tell me!!
Just then a vortex opens up in the center of the Mas Icee Cantina and Hoffman the Gutt is sucked back through space and time to the mid-1980s.
INT. YE OLDE VIDEO HUTT. DAY.
Hoffman the Gutt is back in the video store of his youth, about to make a purchase of "Star Wars" on VHS for an obscene amount of money. And old man approaches.
Old Man: Hey there, squirt. Buying "Star Wars" I see. Let me ask you a question. . .don't you ever feel that all those newfangled special effects get in the way of a good story? Ya ever watch any of these Buster Crabbe shorts like "Buck Rogers" or "Flash Gordon?" Lemme show you some over here.
Note: Five years from now George Lucas will alter this so the Old Man character is actually completely digital.
Also check out: 9 Parts of "The Phantom Menace" That Are Actually Cool
Come back every Thursday for more intergalactic musings on Planet Fanboy and follow its fearless leader Jordan Hoffman on Twitter!