INTERVIEW: Bradley Weatherholt – Director of Star Wars Documentary The Prequels Strike Back

The Star Wars Prequels. Love them, or (in most cases) loath them, they’re here to stay. But maybe they’re not as terrible as they appear. Maybe, as Bradley Weatherholt explores with his new documentary (Indiegogo here) The Prequels Strike Back, there may be more to the Prequels than we think…

AP2HYC: Firstly, the question that needs to be asked? Why do the Star Wars Prequels suck so badly? I mean from the perspectives of both fans and general moviegoers?

Weatherholt: Well, they’re definitely unpopular in many corners of the internet, to put it lightly. Our agenda with the film isn’t to claim that the prequels suck or that they are awesome. We’ll feature people who have various perspectives on the prequels. If anything, we want to make a great documentary that uses Star Wars as a launching pad for bigger questions of cinema, mythology, etc. The prequels, believe it or not, are actually an interesting springboard for those ideas.

AP2HYC: Many people often say that George Lucas having complete creative control lead to the Prequel Trilogy to be terrible, do you agree?

Weatherholt: No. I don’t agree. However, I do think there is something romantic about an artist constrained by a budget and the technology of their time. Some really great pictures get made this way. The Original Trilogy belong to this group.

AP2HYC: Will all the attention that Star Wars is getting at the moment help your documentary? What made you want to examine the Prequels in a different light?

Weatherholt: Definitely. We likely wouldn’t be able to make this documentary unless the new films were coming out. It’s more relevant now than ever.

AP2HYC: Can you talk about the new theories that you will present? And you have quite an impressive lineup of interviewees don’t you?

Weatherholt: We had more or less dismissed the prequels until we stumbled upon Mike Klimo’s Ring Theory. It served as a gateway to other ideas around the prequels. Over time, we started to explore different ideas and we were surprised by how fun and interesting the quest was.

The spotlight theory is Klimo’s Ring Theory. It’s a really in-depth, academic analysis of the entire Star Wars saga. It essentially argues that Lucas employed an ancient literary technique to structure the series. It’s really compelling. We’ll also showcase other ideas, including Lancashire’s political commentary, Bob Clark’s Oedipal notes on Anakin, as well as much more.

We have many great scholars in line for the project, and the list keeps expanding.We’re very lucky, but I also think it’s a testament to just how popular and evocative Star Wars is.

AP2HYC: What do you think of the new Star Wars movies? Do you think your theories will also apply to them?

Weatherholt: Great question. It’s really hard to say. Most of the documentary’s third act will be spent exploring that idea. We’ll have to look at many different cinematic theories to come to terms with it, particularly ideas of the post-structuralists. Can the audience add meaning outside of authorial intent? It’s fun stuff, and we’ll explore it and much more.

About the author

David Gelmini