From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A prequel is a work that supplements a previously completed one, and has an earlier time setting
. The widely recognized term was a 20th-century neologism, and a portmanteau from pre- (Latin for "before") and sequel (a supplementing work with a setting later than its predecessor's, from the Latin sequella, thing that follows). The prequel forms part of the "back-story".
Though the word "Prequel" is of recent origin, works fitting this concept existed long before. By the theories accepted by many historians about authorship of the Book of Ruth in the Bible, it was written as a kind of prequel - i.e., an account of the ancestors of King David written when an extensive literature on King David himself was already in existence.
The Cypria, presupposing hearers' acquaintance with the events of the Homeric epic, confined itself to what preceded the Iliad, and thus formed a kind of introduction.
According to OED the word prequel first appeared in print in 1958 in an article by Anthony Boucher in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. It appears to have first come into general use in the early 1970s, in which its first known, traceable use is in the original press pack for The Godfather Part II,
 where it is used to describe the sections of the film which take place before the events of The Godfather, which intercuts the further story of the Corleone mafia family under the leadership of Michael Corleone with the story of his father Vito Corleone in his youth.
According to the Internet Movie Database, an early prequel in film was Another Part of the Forest (1948).
Some prequels of the 1970s were The Nightcomers (1972), prequeling Henry James's novel The Turn of the Screw, and the 1979 film Butch and Sundance: The Early Days, which was a prequel to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Francis Ford Coppola credited George Lucas with devising the term, which Lucas and Steven Spielberg later used to describe their joint project Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (which also occurred before the events of the first Indiana Jones film) during publicity for its release.
Lucas's own Star Wars prequel trilogy greatly popularized the term in American culture