*Spoiler Alert! I talk about Darth Maul’s fate towards the end!  So be warned, any young kiddos or anyone else that has not seen the movie!*

Okay.  So he’s covered in tattoos.  But so is international superstar athlete, David Beckham.  Rrrrrrrrrrr.  Yeah, this Sith Lord spends a good chunk of time cloaked in black.  It’s one of my favorite colors.  Creepy horns sprout from his crown.  And his eyes are like a demon whacked out on meth.  Yet, he is waaaaaaaayyy better than Count Dorko.

Darth Maul is the best thing going for Star Wars, the Phantom Menace.  He gave us a glimpse that the Sith are more than wrinkled, demented men and asthmatic cyborgs.  Masterfully portrayed by martial arts expert, Ray Park, Darth Maul skillfully jumped, kicked, and flipped his way around Tatooine and Naboo.  And he had the most excellent light saber of the saga.  When seeing the first Phantom preview at the movies, the entire audience voiced their awe when Maul stepped into defense mode and ignited not one, but two glowing blades from his saber.  He whirled them with the ease throughout the fight scene that would earn an MTV Movie Award.  When seeing the light saber in action in 3-D, I’m pretty sure I ducked at least once.

Pssst.  Spoiler.  While the rest of the audience cheered when Obi Wan sliced Darth Marl in half, I exclaimed: “What?!  Nooooooo!”  and clapped only half heartedly just to fit into the crowd.  Then I frowned and crossed my arms tightly.  That’s almost always the way; my favorite character usually bites it in movies.  Yet Maul’s death served greater purposes.  It proved, first of all, that you don’t mess with Obi Wan Kenobi.  Defeating the first Sith discovered in a “millenia” greatly helped Obi Wan shed his Padawan learner braid and paved his way to becoming a Jedi Master.  It launched Obi Wan’s reputation that catapulted him to the rank of General Kenobi in the Clone Wars.

And most importantly, Maul’s demise left an opening for a “stronger and more powerful” apprentice to Darth Sidious.

Darth Maul deserves his post as the prominent figure in the Phantom Menace poster.  Amidst peaceful Zen-like Jedis, a clumsy Gungan, and an oddly dressed queen with apparently no personality, he brings much needed balance and kick-ass to the movie.