It’s time to take a closer look at the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy.
Despite a recent resurgence in popularity, it’s no secret that George Lucas’ Star Wars Prequels struggle in a few areas. The dialogue can be very clunky, the chemistry sometimes forced, and the majority of the sets were computer-generated images, which are now starting to look a little dated. That being said, they certainly weren’t all bad. In fact, there were some major moments in each film that rank up there with some of the best in the franchise! Let’s take a look at the top ten moments from the Prequel Trilogy!
Top Moments From Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)
Introduced as a guerrilla racing league that takes place across the galaxy, Podracing was just downright fun to watch. It was a fantastic element of worldbuilding as well, allowing for the film to showcase Anakin’s (Jake Lloyd) Force reflexes, as well as the seedy underworld of Star Wars gambling.
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Even though it was a crowd-pleaser in Phantom Menace and still is, fans have yet to see the high-stakes race return in live-action in the franchise. Perhaps sometime soon, in one of the many announced Star Wars films?
9. Darth Maul and Qui-Gon Jinn
Phantom Menace really came out swinging when it came to their new characters. While it was great to see legacy characters from the Original Trilogy like Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Yoda (Frank Oz), it was also great to see where they came from, who trained them or befriended them, and who they opposed.
Liam Neeson’s Qui-Gon Jinn was the perfect mentor. It was easy to see where an older Obi-Wan (Alec Guinness) learned his teaching style, and it was heartbreaking to say goodbye to him after his death. He also took part in some of the best action in the film, including an early duel with a mysterious Sith, as well as the Duel of the Fates.
Of course, where would a Star Wars film be without its villain? Darth Maul (Ray Park) served as one of the most mysterious and epic villains in the entire franchise. With only a handful of lines, the character didn’t need to speak to be intimidating; just his appearance was enough! Couple that with his never-before-seen saber staff, and it makes sense why the fanbase brought him back from the dead!
8. The Duel of the Fates
The mind-blowing conclusion to The Phantom Menace was definitely the best part of the film. Due in no small part to stunt coordinator Nick Gillard, audiences saw a Lightsaber fight unlike any they’d ever seen before. The choreography was immaculate, quick, and perfectly paced. There were acrobatics, different fighting styles, and the perfect balance between saber and Force usage.
Then there was the score. John Williams outdid himself in that scene. The music matched the intensity of the scene and really gave a sense of urgency and depth. Audiences knew from the score alone that in that one scene, the fate of the universe hung in the balance. So well done was the score that it can be heard again in other dramatic moments of the prequel trilogy to great effect!
Top Moments From Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002)
7. Jedi In the Arena
Attack of the Clones was definitely a slow burn, but act three kicked things into high gear with more live-action lightsabers in one place than fans had ever seen in a Star Wars film before! Things seemed desperate for Obi-Wan Kenobi (McGregor), Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), and Padme (Natalie Portman) until suddenly, Jedi Master Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) said that epic line, “This party’s over.”
Out of the crowd erupted dozens of green and blue blades, and the audience knew: this battle is well in hand. With the help of the clones, and the arrival of Master Yoda (Oz), the battle was won, the heroes rescued, and the Clone Wars began. It was a sight to behold!
6. Yoda’s Lightsaber Duel
From Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) to Attack of the Clones, fans had only ever seen an elderly decrepit Yoda (Oz). The tiny character hobbled around on a cane when he did walk and was, more often than not, seated. This changed in a big way in Attack of the Clones, when Obi-Wan (McGregor) and Anakin (Christensen) were down for the count.
Trying to escape, Count Dooku (Sir Christopher Lee) was stopped by Yoda (Oz) himself, and after a brief Force battle, the two ignited their lightsabers and had an amazing duel. Yoda (Oz) proved to be much more nimble than initially expected, leaping all around, giving Dooku (Lee) such a run for his money that he only escaped by threatening the lives of the two unconscious Jedi nearby.
5. The Clone Army
Throughout the film, the clone army made from Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison) is teased and shown in bits and pieces, from Kamino to Geonosis. This makes them all the more impressive when, at the end of the film, the entire Grand Army of the Republic is shown on the airfield, loading into ships that look a whole lot like Star Destroyers.
The Republic officials looking on either look wary or proud, but fans felt a chill down their spine. They recognized the armor, and with John Williams’ score underpinning everything, they knew that this was the beginning of Stormtroopers and the Empire. The pieces were in place, and Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) was starting to weave his web to control the entire Galaxy.
Top Moments From Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)
4. General Grievous
Though squandered to some extent, General Grievous (Matthew Wood) was nonetheless a fun villain for Episode III. The Cyborg who made his first appearance in the Tartakovsky Clone Wars series cut an intimidating figure. Towering above his foes, the General of the Droid Army collected lightsabers from defeated Jedi, and not only that, he knew how to use them.
While he did meet an anticlimactic end, fans at least got to see him use all four arms to wield lightsabers from his collection against Obi-Wan (McGregor) before meeting his end. All in all, a short-lived but compelling villain.
One of the most emotional moments in the entire saga, Order-66 saw the end of the Jedi Order at the hands of the Clone Army. Dispersed throughout the Galaxy, the Clones were able to pick off the vast majority of the Jedi Council and entire Jedi Order one by one, effectively ending the Order once and for all. Though there were survivors, more and more as the saga continues, they were forced into hiding for survival.
Order-66 has also seen some of the most dramatic flashbacks in subsequent offerings like Star Wars: Jedi – Fallen Order, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and even The Mandalorian. With teasers showing Jedi in the third season of The Mandalorian, it seems that fans will continue to see Order-66 for a while yet.
2. Obi-Wan Delivers the Twins
Fans always knew that Ben Kenobi (Guinness) had been a friend of Anakin (Christensen), but no one quite knew just how close he was to the Skywalker family until the end of Episode III. Kenobi (McGregor) had been there since the beginning, helped Padme (Portman) when the twins arrived, and fittingly, delivered Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to his aunt and uncle.
The swelling theme, the binary sunset as the outcast Jedi looks on, made for a cinematic masterpiece and one of the best moments in the Prequels, as well as the franchise.
Top Moment of the Entire Prequel Trilogy
1. Anakin vs Obi-Wan
The emotional climax of the entire Prequel Trilogy has to be when Anakin (Christensen), who has become Darth Vader, faces off against his friend, mentor, and brother Obi-Wan Kenobi (McGregor). After years of growth and Kenobi (McGregor) basically adopting Skywalker (Christensen), we see these two that are as close as brothers fight to the death.
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The fight has some of the best choreography, not only in Star Wars but in cinema, incorporating the environment, the Force, melee tactics, and an amazing command of the lightsaber. The fight culminates in an emotional speech from Kenobi (McGregor) as he watches his friend and brother burn on the sands of Mustafar.
What were your favorite parts of the Prequel Trilogy? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments below!