Lack of Dialogue During Lightsaber Battles
There’s plenty of frustrating moments to choose from in The Phantom Menace. George Lucas’ return to Star Wars was highly anticipated, and while it had its moments, it ultimately failed to come close to living up to those high expectations.
It’s easy to choose Jar Jar to be the most frustrating part, or Jake Lloyd’s poor acting, or even just the odd pacing of the film. The part that really bothered me after the first viewing and continues to irk me on repeat viewings, is the fact there’s no dialogue during the lightsaber battles.
In every lightsaber fight before and after this in Star Wars, the combatants always talk smack to each other as they are crossing Kyber blades. To have the amazing “Duel of the Fates” take place with no words whatsoever is very odd. What makes it even weirder is that Maul turns out to be quite a vocal character in The Clone Wars series, and would surely have spoken to Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon during this epic fight.
The lack of dialogue during the actual fight is kind of understandable. These three are going 100 miles per hour and jumping up corridors and are likely low on breath, but they don’t even talk prior to the rumble. When Maul cuts off the Nubian group lead by Qui-Gon, they don’t even talk to each other. Even a simple line like, “Your path ends here,” would’ve sufficed. Instead, Maul just ignites his lightsaber as do the Jedi and they begin fighting.
The most baffling part where there are no words exchanged is when Obi-Wan is hanging on for dear life on the side of the shaft. Maul is looking down on him and this would’ve been a perfect time for him to taunt the young Padawan. He could’ve boasted about killing his master and that he was next, or he could’ve said something about how the Sith are back and the Jedi will fall.
Instead, he just swings his lightsaber causing sparks to fall on Obi-Wan, potentially singing a few eyebrows.
The Phantom Menace has a lot of issues, and while this isn’t the biggest of the film’s problems, it’s the moment I find the most frustrating. Every other lightsaber battle in the saga has dialogue and this would’ve been an easy opportunity to continue that trend. It also would’ve been a great chance to flesh out Darth Maul’s character but the lack of speaking makes him more of a weapon than anything else.