Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Darth Maul (The Phantom Menace)
In another instance in which many have found the film to be sub-par, one thing everyone can agree on is how exciting it was to see Darth Maul take on Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon. This duel is the first in the Star Wars franchise in which there are more than two combatants, and it featured the first lightsaber that strayed away from the traditional single blade.
On top of Darth Maul’s famed dual-bladed lightsaber, fans instantly fell in love with just about everything about the new Sith Lord. From his lightsaber to his red and black-colored face, the horns protruding from the top of his skull, his acrobatic and quick moves with his lightsaber, or even the fact that he rarely speaks, Darth Maul quickly became a fan-favorite.
Considering viewers had not seen any lightsaber duels since Luke and Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi in 1983, by the time The Phantom Menace premiered in 1999 fans were eager to see new lightsaber action.
Fortunately, this duel did not disappoint. It is likely most fans would agree the biggest problem with this contest was the fact that it killed Darth Maul, the character who many believed should have remained the villain for the duration of the prequel trilogy rather than just one film.
This duel also featured John Williams famed “Duel of the Fates,” one of my favorite songs from a Star Wars score. This duel may be the best instance in Star Wars in which the music compliments the action in the film nearly-perfectly and enhances the film.