People love to rag on the Star Wars prequels, and for good reason. For the total running time among the three movies, about 5% of it is watchable.
But there has always been one element to these movies that was even remotely comparable to the greatness of the original three films. That, of course, is Darth Maul, the greatest badass in the entire universe. That insanely terrifying Satanic face (with that look, though, did he ever even stand a chance to choose the path of the Jedi?), his even more terrifying silence, the way he could take on two Jedi at once. I was 11 years old when The Phantom Menace came out so you can imagine how FREAKING COOL Darth Maul was to me and everyone else I knew. He looked like the ultimate villain.
“This guy is pure evil,” I thought. “I can’t wait to watch him terrorize our heroes throughout the next three movies, just like he should and definitely will!”
But just like that, George Lucas killed Maul off. Yeah, okay, he served his purpose for the good of the journey between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, but his on-screen time was pretty minimal overall, overshadowed heavily by…this:
I understand there are about a billion other things to get mad about with these movies, but, like the criminally underused destroyer droids (even the Jedi had problems with them, so why in the hell weren’t they utilized more?), Darth Maul was one of the few things that just felt legitimately cool. Yoda was completely screwed up in the second film. We all know Jar Jar Binks was an abomination that George Lucas will have to answer for in the afterlife. Hayden Christensen.
And don’t try to talk to me about Darth Maul’s existence in the comics, books, television shows, etc. I don’t care about that “canon” crap, I want to see him in the movies! It’s almost painful how obvious it is that he would have been a tremendous force to be reckoned with throughout the trilogy. And while his death came during an epic scene in an epic sequence that somehow, someway, made The Phantom Menace worth it, his absence was heavily felt during the painful, steaming, you-know-you’ll-be-on-the-toilet-for-twenty-minutes-but-you-forgot-something-to-read turd that was Attack of the Clones.
I don’t think there has ever been a more useless movie in the history of film. Episode II is such boring schlock with the worst acting and writing ever committed to celluloid, and it all takes place against a green screen. All of it. If you try to rewatch it now, your eyes will bleed. I’ve seen Attack of the Clones a bunch of times and I honestly can’t remember one thing about it. Something about computer Yoda magically spinning all over the place?
But oh my God, Darth Maul could have saved it all. I remember seeing Attack of the Clones in theaters thinking that maybe, just maybe, Dart Maul would reveal himself to still be alive, ready to seek his vengeance with a triple-bladed lightsaber or something. Of course he didn’t.
The same goes for Revenge of the Sith, when Darth Maul’s death should have occurred. Or hell, maybe he teams up with Anakin-turned-Vader for a minute before Vader lops off his head as his first order of business. Cool!
And now I’m supposed to just forget the egregious mishandling of Darth Maul (and, let’s not forget, the attempted assassination of Natalie Portman’s career) and pretend like I’m excited for The Force Awakens? I know George Lucas isn’t involved, but I haven’t forgotten – or forgiven – the sins of the past. Not even J.J. Abrams, whose Star Trek movies I thoroughly enjoyed, can redeem the pain and suffering inflicted upon us from those three abominations. You can’t just try to wipe the slate clean, pretending that everything’s okay.
Besides, Disney is going to ruin everything for a new generation anyway in its own special way by releasing 36 different Star Wars movies a year – who’s ready for an Ewok origin story?!