My preparations for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 3D

Star Wars Episode I in 3D comes out on February 10 which is a week from today.  Being a Star Wars guy, I’m really excited to see the movie again on the big screen.

Episode I 3D

I was just the other day reading my 10th anniversary review of Star Wars: Episode I.  Hard to believe that was nearly 3 years ago.  While I think the movie runs a little long, there are scenes and moments in it that are awesome.  Darth Maul, obviously, is a BAD ASS.  Darth Sidious/Palpatine is great.  Qui Gon Jinn is awesome.  Ewan as Obi-Wan, podracing, the final 3-way lightsaber battle and John Williams’ score (and most notably Duel of the Fates).  All awesome.  Not awesome?  Jake Lloyd.  This kid has been vilified for this movie, and I feel bad for him.  I do.  But his performance is terrible.  And Jar Jar.  What can you say about f**king Jar Jar other than he sucks ass?

Regardless, I am excited to see this again in theaters and in 3D.  Plus I’m almost positive they’ve replaced that fugly looking Yoda puppet with full CGI.  I saw clips of the scenes at that Star Wars Concert that toured the country two years ago.  That is exciting.

So, in preparation, I’ve been reading up on some of the Episode I ancillary material to round out my experience with this movie.  I know Episode I has been a bit maligned, but honestly, I think it’s better than Episode II: Attack of the Clones which is mostly terrible (except for, again, the final 3-way lightsaber battle).

Here are some of the things I’ve been reading to enhance my readiness for Episode I in 3D.

Darth Plagueis
Star Wars: Darth Plagueis by James Luceno – This book was released in January.  I borrowed it from my friend Dr Mike and read it this past week.  I just finished it on Tuesday.  It’s amazing.  Epic and sprawling, the plot of this book spans many years beginning 30+ years before The Phantom Menace and ending just after the events of the movie.  It’s a “behind the scenes” book.  The book is obstensibly about Darth Plagueis (Palpatine’s Sith Master), but it’s every bit Palpatine/Darth Sideous’ book as well.  You see Plagueis come up as an apprentice, kill his master, obtain Palpatine as an apprentice, then begin the Grand Plan to bring down the Republic and decimate the Jedi Order.  This book is mostly, like I said, behind the scenes, but it’s amazing how it tries to reconcile plot lines from the movies, TV shows, comics and other novels.  Truly worth the read.  This book makes the convoluted Trade Federation subplot in Episode I almost make sense.  I have a feeling this book is going on my year end “best books” list and it’s only February.

SW Ep1 Journal
Star Wars Episode I Journal: Darth Maul by Jude Watson – This came out the year after Episode I. It was during the early days when we knew nothing about Darth Maul. This was the first time he was revealed to be a Zabrak from Iridonia.  I loved Maul so back in the day I bought up everything I could about him.  This is a light, fluff read.  Less than 100 pages.  It’s essentially written as Maul’s journal during the events of The Phantom Menace.  It’s a behind the scenes book similar to Plagueis but you don’t get as much information.  It’s mainly Maul waiting around to do stuff.  Cool but a bit light in detail.

SW Darth Maul
Star Wars: Darth Maul – This was a comic series from 2000.  It’s a fantastic story that takes place a few months before The Phantom Menace.  It depicts Maul’s first real assignment from Darth Sidious.  Essentially Darth Maul vs Black Sun.  And it’s awesome.

Maul Shadow Hunter
Star Wars: Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter – This was released in 2001. It was the first standalone full length novel for Maul (and still the only). It’s a pretty good story. Maul is only part of the story, the other part is about a smuggler guy named Lorn.  It takes place right after the above graphic novel.  Maul is used and characterized well which makes it a fun read.  It’s got a cool ending and this story is touched upon by the Darth Plagueis book. In the new 2011 printing of this book, there are two short stories. One is Darth Maul: Sabateur and the other is Darth Maul: Restraint.  I’ve read Sabateur and it’s only okay.  Restraint is actually brand new and only available in the new printing of this book.  Unlike Sabateur, you can’t buy it separately on your Nook.  So, that means I have to go to Barnes & Noble with my Nook and use the 1 hour I can read anything for free to finish it.  I’m not buying another copy of this book.

SW Cloak of Deception
Star Wars: Cloak of Deception by James Luceno – This was the official “prequel” to The Phantom Menace. It’s honestly not that good. Mostly political maneuvering. You see how Chancellor Valorum got to where he is by the beginning of the movie. However, Darth Plagueis again gives a lot more back story and touches on this book which makes it a bit more interesting after you’ve read it.

SW Ep1
Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace – And lastly, we come to the novelization of the movie.  I’ve read this exactly twice.  Once when the hardback was released right before the movie in early May 1999.  The second time was when the paperback was released in 2000 or 2001.  I’m holding off on reading this again until the movie comes out.  So I’ll be reading it after Feb 10.   I remember it being pretty good.  Brooks was able to add several scenes to expand on the action in the movie.   I’m actually really looking forward to delving back into this book.

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8 Responses to “My preparations for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 3D”

  1. Couldn’t agree more. I am going t be reading the same books in prep. 35 pages into my second reading of plagueis. Now I have to decide if I am in the “go the first weekend to savor the experience” camp or the curmudgeonly “I hate crowds, I want to wait a week or 2 so I dont have to mix with the hoi polloi” camp. Thoughts?

    • I can loan you the Darth Maul journal. It’s actually better than I made it out to be. Plus it’s like 97 pages. You can read that in a couple hours.

      I was having the same thoughts about when to see Ep 1. I was thinking the week after opening. I don’t know if I want to wait 2 weeks, 1 should suffice. But I’m happy going whenever. I’m just jazzed to see it.

  2. Pax, during one of our Star Wars conversations you’re going to have to explain the general infatuation with Darth Maul to me. To me, it is even more baffling than the love for Boba Fett.

    Maul essentially does nothing throughout most of the movie and then gets killed relatively easily in a not-so-epic lightsaber fight. I see how he could have been a cool character (3 cheers for Ray Park), but that didn’t happen.

    • Jeeg, I think that’s a great question. I don’t want to reply in this long rambling comment, so I may make it the subject of a post. I have a few posts coming up pertaining to Episode I since it comes out on Friday. I may include the topic you ask about as a quick editorial.

  3. I’ll hold off if you’d like, CT. My editorial probably wouldn’t post for a few weeks. I won’t really see Ep1 3D until the weekend of 2/17.

  4. Darth Maul is coming back in the Clone Wars tv series. His brother, Savage Opress, has already showed up.

  5. It’s an awesome post designed for all the internet people; they will get advantage from it I am sure.

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