by Dave Wolverton
Buy Episode I: Darth Maul Journal at Amazon.com
Episode One Journal – Darth Maul is exactly that: the “diary” of Darth Maul, dealing mostly with the events of “Star Wars – Episode One: The Phantom Menace”. Darth Maul records his take on all of the happenings in TPM, and along the way, we also get a little bit of background on Maul, and a little bit of information on his relationship with Darth Sidious, and on Maul’s Sith training. There are also a couple of incidents not included in TPM that are recounted by Maul in his chronicle, that in addition to providing a few extra action sequences, give some explanation for the seemingly perplexing lag-time between the Sith Lords becoming aware of Queen Amidala’s escape from Naboo, the point at which Maul lands on Tatooine, and the point at which Maul meets up with Qui-Gon and Anakin. The concluding entry in the journal is scribed by Darth Sidious…for reasons fairly obvious to anyone who has seen TPM.
MY WORDS OF WISDOM
Episode One Journal – Darth Maul is a quick, fun read. Just as with the other “journal” books (there are several from the classic trilogy, and also others from TPM), it is really nifty to see the familiar plot elements of the films re-envisioned through one character’s perspective. It deepens the story, enriches our appreciation of the whole. It is especially gratifying to see TPM specifically through Darth Maul’s eyes. Firstly, since he is a Sith-of-so-very-little-words in the movie, this puts more flesh on his immensely intriguing bones. It’s nice to see him as more than merely Darth Sidious’ mute puppet. And secondarily, Maul’s outlook is understandably different from the story as told by the Jedi and their allies. As the ghost of Obi-Wan once opined, it all does depend entirely on your point of view! While the tale that is TPM unfolds in Maul’s diary, we also get a sense of the philosophy of the Sith, and of what being raised to be an agent of the Darkside entails. (In a nutshell, the darkside appears to flow through and be honed by a rather abusive childhood. Cool!)
The interludes in this book not explored in TPM allow for some surprises, but mostly, if you’ve seen the movie, you know the plot of this journal. The pleasure of this little tome comes in hearing Darth Maul’s voice, and with the unexpected dark humor mined from evil and its service. And as with the Jedi Apprentice books where we learn more about the bond between Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi and thus feel the pain of Qui-Gon’s death in TPM all the more, reading of Darth Maul’s sense of his encounter with Qui-Gon on Tatooine, seeing Qui-Gon as Maul sees him and knowing what is to come in their final meeting, that last duel now has the resonance of a confrontation of true enemies, not simply a clash of chance combatants. And the coup de grace of the novelette is the marvelous, creepy, chilling epilogue by Darth Sidious.
Each one of these smaller books adds a layer to the saga. If you enjoy the foreshadowing and the connectivity of the Star Wars mythos, these various journals and young adult novellas are not to be missed.