The Star Wars prequels have a pretty rough reputation. Among the generation that grew up in love with Star Wars thanks to the original trilogy, there's a large feeling that the prequels have a lot of problems. That's not to say that they are entirely without redeeming qualities. There are elements of the prequels that many would say are still good, whether that's a particular performance, or an individual scene. While many would seem to have few good things to say about Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, most would have to admit that the final lightsaber battle in the movie is an epic sequence.
There are a number of reasons to love the lightsaber battle between Darth Maul and the Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi. It's an incredibly well choreographed fight sequence, many would say it's the best sword fight of any Star Wars movie ever. In addition, with "Duel of the Fates," it has one of the most iconic pieces of music in a franchise that has one of the best scores ever written. Even Star Wars: The Clone Wars creator, and walking Star Wars encyclopedia, Dave Filoni loves the scene, but for a very different reason.
In the second episode of Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian, the new look at the making of the first season of the first live-action Star Wars series, Dave Filoni explains that the reason he loves the scene isn't because of what it shows, but because of what it represents. According to Filoni...
While most of us get lost in the fight scene itself, which, it can't be argued, is amazing, what Dave Filoni sees are the stakes. The Star Wars prequels are about the fall of Anakin Skywalker, and that fall begins, according to Filoni, with the death of Qui-Gon Jinn. If Qui-Gon had won the fight, he could have raised Anakin differently, not quite in the same way as other young Jedi, which Filoni says, Qui-Gon already knows is flawed. If he'd been able to do so perhaps everything comes in the next two films could have been avoided. But with his death, Anakin's fate is sealed. Filoni goes on...
When Qui-Gon dies, Anakin's training falls to Obi-Wan, and while Obi-Wan and Anakin become brothers, what Skywalker needed growing up was a father. As with the Darth Vader/Obi-Wan battle in the original film, the emotion in the scene comes from realizing how much is lost when the Jedi falls.
Dave Filoni's take on the Phantom Menace battle isn't necessarily shocking or odd. It's all quite accurate when he explains it, but it's certainly not the first thing most fans consider when thinking about what is objectively the best part of Star Wars: Phantom Menace.
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