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Top 10 Annoying Things About Prequels

VO: MW WRITTEN BY: Garrett Alden
Written by Garrett Alden Movie prequels can sometimes complete and round out a story, but more often than not they are plagued several flaws! WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Worst Things About Prequels! Watch to find out what we put on the top spot on our list! Watch on WatchMojo: WatchMojo.com Big thanks to governmentfree for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Annoying+Things+About+Prequels
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Transcript
Going back to the beginning can be a pain. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Annoying Things About Prequels.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the aspects of film and TV prequels that some find irritating.

#10: Pointless Fan Service


Fan service, for those unfamiliar with the term, is the depiction of references that fans of the material recognize. Everybody loves fan service when it’s from their own fandom, right? It’s like the creators are giving you a nudge and a wink, sharing a joke that only a certain percentage of the audience will get. Prequels often feature call-forwards to the original material, which, while great for those in the know, can feel a bit alienating for those who either haven’t seen the source material, or don’t know it as well. We’ve all been left out of an in-joke before, and that rarely feels good.


#9: It Looks Newer Than the Original


The fact that prequels are made after the original story inevitably means that the creators are going to have access to technology and film techniques that are more impressive than when the original was made. Even so, in some cases, especially in the sci-fi genre, prequels set years before the stories that spawned them often look inexplicably more technologically advanced. Seeing a civilization regress backwards makes sense in the context of some stories, but not in most, and anything that causes the audience to suspend their disbelief that much more should be avoided.


#8: Every Backstory is a Tragic Backstory


Prequels are an opportunity to show the origins of beloved characters from the original story. Unfortunately, most of their backstories feature a lot of tragedy and misfortune. While this does help create good drama, when every character has a tragic past, prequels can take on a somewhat homogenous feeling, which can numb the audiences’ enthusiasm for the stories themselves. We know things usually get worse before they get better, but it’s nice to see the that sometimes the opposite can be true too.


#7: Where Were You When We Needed You?


Despite taking place earlier in the fictional timelines of their predecessors, prequels often introduce new characters of their own. However, unfortunately for both us, and the heroes themselves, these new characters, even if they survive, often disappear from the narrative in the original story. Their strength, skills, or knowledge would probably have been invaluable in the original, but they naturally can’t be there due to the fact that they hadn’t been invented yet. This naturally causes a few problems as far as the plot goes, but we’ll go into that later.


#6: They Don’t Progress the Original Story


No matter how good or welcome prequels are, they will always have a weakness that sequels do not – they are unable to progress the story the audience originally became invested in. While prequels can expand upon the universe of the story and add further depth to beloved characters, they still usually fail to provide a sense of forward momentum to the narrative. Now, this may seem to be an inescapable, fundamental aspect of prequels, but what annoys us doesn’t always have to be logical or fair. Besides, on rare occasions, some prequels do manage to set things up for further sequels.


#5: They’re Made to Cash In

A common criticism of most movies nowadays is that they’re only made to make money, with big franchises seen as the main offenders. Prequels are often perceived as being less risky than sequels, since they offer guidelines for the creators to tell a story; lines to color inside of, as it were. However, by this same token, minimal effort is often put into them, which only enhances audience perceptions that the movies only exist to make easy money. Although there are plenty of exceptions, there are enough examples of cash grab prequels that we understand why their overall reputation has suffered.


#4: You Already Know Which Characters Will Survive


It can be difficult to get invested in new characters in prequels since one of two things is going to happen: they’re going to die, or they’re not going to appear in the original. In addition, the younger versions of the characters from the source material obviously can’t die in a prequel, so much of the danger that they get into can fall flat for some viewers. Basically, knowledge of the original story removes some of the tension and inherent drama of a prequel’s plot, although people that are introduced to the prequels first may still be able to experience it.


#3: Needless Origin Stories


Some prequels are necessary to flesh out an underdeveloped character, or are at least interesting enough that they’re worth watching on their own. But many prequels out there depict the origins of characters that few people, if anyone, needed or even wanted to know more about. Besides reminding audiences that they’re essentially cash grabs, these sorts of prequels usually only serve to tarnish the memory of the original story and characters by trying, and failing, to add backstory to a character that didn’t need one in the first place.


#2: You Know How It Ends


Similar to knowing who lives and who dies, the very fact that we’ve seen the originals often removes our ability to be surprised by any plot developments in prequels. We know the state of affairs in the source material, so prequel plots are often quite easy to predict. While it can be fun seeing how all the puzzle pieces add up to the picture we’re familiar with, it is removes the number of possibilities for the story, and viewers like to be kept guessing, most of the time.


#1: New Information Causes Plot Holes


Prequels are a good way to flesh out characters and the worlds they inhabit. However, sometimes newly revealed information or a character’s actions conflict with those that were presented in the original story, creating a plot hole. Logical inconsistencies are common in nearly every story in all media, but in prequels especially they can feel very annoying. After all, the creators should know what came next in the story, right? Because of their nature in telling stories within a previously established scope, there’s an expectation that prequels should be less prone to plot holes, yet sadly, this is not the case.
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