As excited I was to be at the first midnight screening of “Star Wars Episode One : The Phantom Menace” in 1999, I’ll never forget the sweaty influx of emotions that washed over me as I walked back to the car afterwards. I had just seen a new “Star Wars” movie – the first one in a theatre since 1983’s “Return of the Jedi”, unless you count the re-issued Special Edition versions of the original trilogy in the late ’90s – but felt more like I’d attended a birthday party that, from the outset looked like it would be a blast but on closer inspection realized I’d rocked up to something that had no punch, pop or sustainability. It was, for all intents and purposes, just an OK movie.
Thinking back, the whole marketing campaign leading up to “The Phantom Menace” was more exciting than the movie. That first trailer… those TV spots… the Pepsi cans with Queen Amilda’s face on the side… the slap bands… the endless commercials for toys… the few, brief clips that were teased on sites like Aint it Cool. That got me a lot wetter than the film did.
“The Phantom Menace” is coming back to cinemas in 3D and I so want to feel the excitement and get into the whole Star Wars frenzy that will likely relaunch as a result of the re-release, but I just can’t. I hate that the passion for the saga has kinda gone. Heck, I didn’t even bother buying the Saga on Blu-ray. For me, that’s big.
When I think of “Phantom Menace” I think of whiny little Anakin (Jake Lloyd), the never-ending pod-racing sequence (yawn) and Darth Maul, the highly underused villain. He was inarguably the coolest thing about that first prequel flick; with his double-edged lightsaber, devilish looking face, and awesome combat movements he was the one you wanted to see more of – not whiny Anakin. Sadly, George Lucas decided to kill Maul at the end of the film – and rather unspectacularly at that. If they’d kept him around for the trilogy would they have been better films? No, probably not, but atleast we’d have one cool-ass character to remember when we think back of the disappointing prequels as opposed to the crappy happy meal toys that came out around the same time.
Good news is, in addition to the 3D Phantom Menace trailer, whose trailer will be previewed on print’s of FOX’s “Three Musketeers 3D from next week“, Maul is being resurrected for the small-screen “Clone Wars” series!
“He is such a dynamic and exciting character,” Dave Filoni, supervising director for ”Clone Wars” told USA Today. “He made such a huge impression in that first film that when you go back and look at the prequels, you forget he’s not in all three.”
So how does Maul come back from the dead? No idea, but Filoni says it was all George Lucas’s idea :
Filoni was as surprised as anyone during a Clone Wars story meeting when Star Wars creator George Lucas asked Filoni to figure out a way to bring Darth Maul back. He had introduced a similar warrior, the powerhouse Savage Opress, in the third season of Clone Wars because of the lack of a Maul-type antagonist.
Opress plays a major role in the return of his “long-lost brother,” Filoni says, and fans can expect Darth Maul to reignite his rivalry with Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Jedi Knight who cut him in half.
Filoni expects a strong reaction from fans, but he promises he didn’t bring back Darth Maul for a short-lived stunt.
“There’s a lot of ground that has not been covered as far as Darth Maul is concerned, so there’s a lot of room to grow with him,” Filoni says. “It’s all balanced with, ‘Boy, we’ve gotta make this really good because this is a really big deal.'”
Filoni told EW that, “I found it funny in The Phantom Menace when Darth Maul got cut in half…I thought George was definitively saying to the fans, ‘There’s no way this character is coming back. This is not a Boba Fett/Sarlacc Pit situation where, because of fan love, Boba gets out of that thing any number of ways.’ Fast-forward ten-years, and I’m the one to bring Maul back.”
First issue at hand is, of course, “…how does he survive getting cut in half?” says Filoni. “Plus, he fell! And also, don’t forget Obi-Wan Kenobi is still around, so I’m sure Maul wouldn’t be very happy with him.”
Oh, wanna see a video teaser of the newly resurrected Darth Maul?
So what do you think? Excited to see Darth Maul return? Yay? Nay? Think they should reintroduce any other characters from the films?