Prequels give important context to TV and films

Austin J. Yerington, Columnist

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“Prequel” — it can be a cash grab, or it can be a dive into the backstory of a popular main character, never spoke about before. But looking through the bad examples and rage-filled internet commenting fans, the style of storytelling can give viewers a chance to see another side of the fictional world. A world that will now become deeper and more revealing now that we have more fictional historical context.

“Breaking Bad” is one of the most popular TV stories of all time. I myself consider it to be one of my favorite stories I have ever seen. With that being said, when they announced a “Breaking Bad” prequel series following the rise of shady Albuquerque lawyer Saul Goodman, I was less than pleased. “Better Call Saul” seemed needless. Why would I care about watching hours about this side character’s backstory? I only wanted more Walter and Jesse. But a funny thing happened. It was good. I liked it. Critics liked it. Fans liked it. Suddenly, my favorite show had become that much better because now, I saw what led Saul Goodman and Mike Ehrmantraut to their connection with the meth cook.

But the wall of worthy prequels doesn’t end there. <i>Red Dead Redemption 2</i> is a more recent  example of taking a beloved story from a video game and showing the world before that tale. The <i>Godfather Part II</i> is the original prequel (though it’‘s also a sequel) done right, with a story following the rise of the infamous mob boss, Vito Corleone. This shows the human journey of a boy from Sicily working his way up the crime food chain in New York City.

Writing about a world that already exists in the minds of many is easy. There are many terrible fan-fiction stories on the internet about “Star Trek,” <i>Star Wars</i>, and countless more. But when a show wants to tell a story about this world, one that will show something that wasn’t in the original material, is the core of a prequel. The dream is to make this jump in time feel so natural it’s hard to ever imagine the full story without it.

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