It could be considered self-preservation for Ahmed to insist that the franchise doesn’t have any weak links, but he does have consistent reasoning. The actor has repeatedly expressed his love of the unique “grittiness” and “edge” to the Rogue One film, and when pressed, confessed he prefers The Empire Strikes Back to the first Star Wars film, because it’s “a little bit darker.” It’s not a crazy idea to think there’s a place for all different kinds of movies in this expansive movie universe.
“If all Star Wars movies were the same, it’d be boring. I hope each new movie adds a new dimension, and I think that’s certainly what Rogue One does.”
While the prequel films were definitely flawed, it’s also fair to say that high expectations can often make fans hypercritical. A decade later, it may be easier to see some of the ways that The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith expanded on the mythology and deepened viewers’ understanding of and connection to the major characters. The good news for Ahmed is that early reviews for Rogue One are mostly positive, so hopefully it won’t take 10 years for it to earn a respected place alongside the most beloved installments in the Star Wars franchise.