8 things that were always good in the Star Wars prequel trilogy

From Maul to Palpatine, here are eight things that were always good about the much-criticized films in the Star Wars prequel trilogy.

The perception of the Star Wars prequels has improved over the years, but these elements of the trilogy have always been good. The first Star Wars film in 16 years, Star Wars Episode I - The Phantom Menace promises to tell Darth Vader's origin story while showing the Jedi in his prime. However, despite some familiar locations like Tatooine, The Phantom Menace and the prequels as a whole look and feel very different from the original trilogy. This initial shock adds to the film's flaws, eclipsing all the great things the prequels brought to Star Wars.

Darth Vader's origin story is The Phantom Menace's best hope, and it only really happened in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith III. This may help explain why Revenge of the Sith is widely considered the best of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, but that doesn't mean The Phantom Menace and Star Wars: Part II -Attack of the Clones doesn't contribute much to the saga. Some of the best qualities of the prequels come from The Phantom Menace, especially the dark side.

Darth Maul

Creating a new Star Wars villain after Darth Vader and The Emperor seemed like an impossible task, especially since Vader became not only a villain, but a pop culture icon as well. From Vader's appearance to the character's name itself, Lucas has developed something that's hard to replicate. Surprisingly, The Phantom Menace nailed the "new Darth Vader" - Darth Maul. Now, instead of "Darth" being the name Obi-Wan suggested for Darth Vader in A New Hope, "Darth" is a title used by the Sith. The Emperor returns to his prime as The Phantom Menace, with Palpatine's apprentice Maul becoming the film's main villain.

While no Star Wars villain seems to be as impressive as Darth Vader, Moore is arguably as visually influential as his predecessor - if not more so. A demon-horned alien warrior who wields a double-bladed red lightsaber and hunts down Jedi is perfect for Star Wars' "First Sith"—neither Vader nor the Empire has ever been dubbed on the big screen. for the Sith - and set the stage for a string of other great prequel-era villains. While Maul didn't have enough time to shine in The Phantom Menace, due to The Clone Wars.

John Williams' Scores

John Williams' incredible score is one of the reasons the first Star Wars film was so successful, and the Star Wars prequels are no exception. After composing iconic themes for the original Star Wars and its two sequels, Williams could easily recycle them when scoring The Phantom Menace and the rest of the prequel trilogy. However, while the prequel soundtrack has obvious ties to the original films, Williams has penned a vocabulary of several new themes that are just as compelling as those in the original trilogy. Compared to the experience provided by the film's jaw-dropping final lightsaber fight, "Fate Fight" makes The Phantom Menace's problems seem trivial.

Attack of the Clones' "Across the Stars" sets the tone for the second episode's love story, promoting Anakin and Padmé's relationship almost better than the visuals themselves. "Battle of Heroes" could have been a bland adaptation of "Battle of Fate," but it brought something unique to the prequel trilogy, making Anakin and Obi-Wan's battle in Revenge of the Sith more miserable. Similar to how Lucas approached the Star Wars prequels, Williams' score The movies are inventive, fresh, and not limited to what's already worked for the franchise.


The Pod racing sequence in The Phantom Menace may not have been what one would expect from Star Wars' return to Tatooine, but its legacy remains an important part of the series to this day. While the X-wing combat of the original trilogy was primarily a recreation of World War II aerial combat, the pod racers of the Phantom Menace gave Star Wars something unique in terms of starship action. Between the creative pod design and the highly entertaining Mos Espa track, Anakin's pod race sets The Phantom Menace apart from previous Star Wars films. Additionally, the pod racing sequence led to Star Wars Episode I: Racers, one of the funniest Star Wars games ever made.

The Lightsaber Battles

When it comes to lightsaber combat, the Star Wars prequels greatly surpass the original trilogy. In fact, the prequel's lightsaber fights are arguably the best in the entire Star Wars saga, even considering the duels of the Star Wars sequels that benefited from improved props and more advanced visuals. While the original trilogy could only reference the heights of the "Before the Empire" Jedi, the prequels A chance to show the Jedi Knight in its heyday. From the moment Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi ignite their lightsabers inside the Trade Federation's command ship, it's clear why Lucas wanted to make a prequel after the original.

Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan Kenobi

Disney+'s Obi-Wan Kenobi may have made people appreciate Hayden Christensen's Anakin Skywalker better, but Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan Kenobi has been the highlight of the Star Wars prequels. Unlike Anakin's character, who Lucas wanted to portray as a young, reckless Jedi who would one day become Darth Vader because of a defining flaw, Obi-Wan was written to be the perfect Jedi from the start. This allows McGregor to channel all his charisma, strength and humor into a role masterfully crafted for the first time by Sir Alec Guinness. In addition to Obi-Wan's "powerful", McGregor also shines in Obi-Wan's emotional drama, helping to raise the bar for the "Star Wars" prequels.

The Worldbuilding

By the end of The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars had introduced the Jedi, the Empire, the Force, Force Ghosts, and many other concepts. Still, the Star Wars prequels prove that the Star Wars lore has room to expand. Although the Star Wars Expanded Universe contributed A lot makes the franchise feel richer, and the prequels nail it on a larger scale. Whether it's divisive concepts like midi-chlorians or terms like Sith and Padawan that are now forever a part of Star Wars, the worldbuilding of the prequels changed the galaxy forever. Lucas isn't afraid to invent, and it's a bet that pays off in the long run.

The Planets

The original "Star Wars" film had an estimated budget of $11 million and was convincingly set in a galaxy far, far away. As competition in the sci-fi blockbuster genre intensifies, Lucas' prequel trilogy has had to step up when it comes to creating alien worlds. It's impossible to replicate the sense of wonder that the original Star Wars trilogy had with anything but desert landscapes or beautiful forests, but luckily, the prequels are going for something entirely different. From Naboo and its underwater society to the lava hells of Mustafar, the prequel trilogy introduced countless new worlds that were key contributors to Lucas's excellent world-building.

While most of the new planets were created with CGI and lacked a more realistic feel, their visual effects worked within the unknown confines of the Star Wars galaxy. Planets like Coruscant and Kamino feel bigger More inventive than anything in the original trilogy, it helps spread the word that Star Wars takes place in a different galaxy. That's something the Star Wars sequels failed to replicate, as its most important locations, like Jakku and Starkiller Base, didn't bring anything new to the table. Even The Mandalorian and other live-action Star Wars shows have struggled to create unique new locations, which makes the prequel's feat all the more impressive.

Ian McDiarmid’s Palpatine

While the Emperor is obviously not a new character, Ian McDiarmid as the friendly Senator Palpatine was crafted for the Star Wars prequels. The prequel trilogy reinvented the Emperor, showing how Darth Sidious could rise to power while also plotting the demise of the Jedi and the Republic. Palpatine gave McDiarmid more possibilities than the Emperor, a villain who carefully manipulated everyone around him. From the blockade of Naboo by the Trade Union to the fall of Anakin to the dark side, every major event in the prequels of Star Wars was planned by Palpatine. Sidious is now seen as Star Wars' greatest villain as a result of the prequels.

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