Nothing Would Be Better

Of George Lucas' stated intention to make two more made-for-TV Star Wars films, Tyler Cowen remarks "better than nothing." I'm not so sure. Is what's almost sure to be yet another bad Star Wars movie really "better" than no more Star Wars at all?

How you answer this question, I think, depends on whether bad sequels actually reduce your enjoyment of an excellent original. If they don't - if your love for The Empire Strikes Back is unaffected by your loathing for Attack of the Clones - then "better than nothing" makes sense, because after all there's always the infintesimal chance that Lucas will surprise us and make something halfway decent. But if you're like me and find unhappy memories of, say, Matrix Revolutions creeping in when you're watching the original Matrix, then nothing is better than a something that has a ninety-five percent chance of being God-awful.

This is particularly true, I think, when bad sequels aren't just bad, but deliberately undercut themes and plot points from the earlier films - as the "midichlorians," among other atrocities, did with the mythology of the Force in the original Star Wars movies, or as the whole storyline of Terminator 3 did with the arc of the first two films. A bad sequel that exists more or less in isolation from its predecessors, by contrast - The Godfather Part III springs to mind - is easier to quarantine, and thus less objectionable.