“It’s over Anakin, I have the high ground” (“There’s nothing to do, I dominate you”), ” I am the Senate “(“I'm the Senate”), “Hello there” (” Hi everybody “)… These are not a priori the best known replicas of the universe Star Wars, but for a generation of Internet users raised in episodes I, II and III, released between 1999 and 2005, these are nevertheless the equivalents of ” I am your father “ or from ” May the force be with you “.
Endlessly diverted, associated with quirky situations, these extracts from the second trilogy of George Lucas have invaded the Internet, to the point of becoming one of the pillars of online humor, just like the animated gifs of funny animals or that rage comics in their time.
Reddit's most popular link
If those we call the “Prequel memes” (in reference to the “prelogy”, so called because the story takes place before the original trilogy) are popular on YouTube and other 9gag, it is on the Reddit forum that they are the most shared. This is where the “r / prequelmemes” section appeared three years ago, which today boasts 1.1 million users and 2,000 comments per day. To the point of tailgating the general section devoted to the series (“r / starwars”) and its 1.2 million subscribers. The phenomenon is such that it is a “prequel meme” which today holds the record for the most popular link in the very rich history of Reddit.
How to explain this success, when the sections of Reddit devoted to the diversions of the other trilogies attract between four and nine times less people? And while two of the first three films in this prelogy are generally considered to be the weakest in the saga…
If the first diversions of the prelogy were initially intended to mock these films (like the cry of Darth Vader become the laughingstock of the Net from the early 2000s), they have not become phenomena, explains Matt Schimkowitz, editor for the specialized site Know Your Meme. It will indeed be necessary to wait for 2015, and the annual release of new films produced by Disney, so that the prelogy finds a new breath, and the “prequel memes”, a new meaning.
The original trilogy? “An old house”
We are in December 2016. Rogue one just got out. One year earlier, The force awakens broke all indoor records. This is the moment that a certain TheDStudge has chosen to launch the Reddit section “r / prequelmemes”, which he feeds with the images and gifs of the prelogy that he and his high school friends have collected for weeks. The success was immediate: six months after its creation, it had 250,000 subscribers.
The memes of the prelogy are echoed in “A population aged 13 to 30”, says AdventurousSwine, co-founder of the subreddit with TheDStudge. She grew up with these films and with the animated series The Clone Wars and Rebels. A population coming out of adolescence, or even in it, who wields ironic and self-deprecating humor. Geeks who recognize themselves in this unloved trilogy, criticized by their elders, and gather around common references.
On Twitter, there are French followers of “prequel memes”: between the ages of 24 and 26, those we interview often like the original trilogy, but still prefer the prelogy. Bredan thus praises the political dimension of the work, as well as its decorations, its cast, its music and its duels with lightsaber, much more dynamic than in the originals. Flo defends the love scenes, almost absent from the other films in the saga, while Myriam evokes “A subtlety that the original trilogy did not have”. “I would go so far as to say, she advances, bravely, that the original is an antiquity. “
Despite all this love for the prelogy, the joke could have run out of steam. And in fact, the popularity of “r / prequelmemes” actually seemed to subside after six months. Until the end of 2017 celebrations, the first anniversary of the section, but also, and above all, the release of “Episode VIII”.
A good child war
Because unlike the 2015 and 2016 vintages, cautious films that almost everyone agreed, The Last Jedi Split. Too different? Too slow ? Too “progressive” for some? In any case, it marks the end of the honeymoon between fans of Star Wars and Disney. As well as a new youth for the “prequel memes”, who have become safe haven for twenty year olds already nostalgic for “good old days”.
“Fans who criticize new films present those of the prelogy as examples of” good films Star Wars“, In the same way that some fans brandished the originals against the prelogy, in the early 2000s”, analyzes Matt Schimkowitz, of Know Your Meme.
A conflict which remains however good child: by three times, the section “r / prequelmemes” very officially entered into “war” against its little sister “r / sequelmemes”, the occasion to exchange names of bird and staggered montages strangling the enemy brothers. Above all, the opportunity to realize that the subscribers of the two sections … were often the same.
However, sometimes the memes of the prelogy go beyond Internet forums and social networks. TheDStudge, the founder of “r / prequelmemes”, reports that by convention, fans are now signing sand to Hayden Christensen, the actor playing Anakin Skywalker, in reference to a particularly ridiculous dialogue from “Episode II”.
This summer, actor Ewan McGregor, the darling of “r / prequelmemes”, was even recalled by Disney to don the costume of young Obi-Wan Kenobi, fourteen years after “Episode III”. What if (a little) thanks to “r / prequelmemes”? In any case, AdventurousSwine wants to believe it: “It's really funny. You never thought you would have such an influence. “