Not all "Star Wars" fans were thrilled with the execution of George Lucas' prequel trilogy. While those movies were praised for their special effects and epic battle sequences, they were also criticized for wooden acting and some very underdeveloped characters.
The good news is that the "Star Wars" saga is about more than just movies now. There's an entire universe of animated TV series, novels and comics that expand on the source material. Many characters who weren't given their proper due in the prequels got a second chance at life elsewhere. Here are seven prequel favorites who got better after "Revenge of the Sith" capped off the trilogy. And no, Jar Jar Binks isn't one of them. Meesa sorry.
Darth Maul is truly the Boba Fett of the Prequels. He may have looked cool, but he didn't get a chance to actually do much before dying a grisly death at the end of "The Phantom Menace."
Though as many viewers of "Solo: A Star Wars Story" were surprised to learn, Maul didn't die on Naboo at all. The animated series "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" revealed that Maul's hatred of Obi-Wan Kenobi kept him alive long enough to be reunited with his long-lost brother, Savage Opress, and healed by a sorceress named Mother Talzen. Maul became a recurring antagonist in "The Clone Wars," forming an army of his own and seeking vengeance against both Obi-Wan and Darth Sidious.
Maul's story continued in the followup series "Star Wars Rebels," showing that his feud against Obi-Wan continued until surprisingly close to the events of "A New Hope." "Rebels" capped off Maul's story on a wonderfully emotional note, transforming Maul into one of the more tragic figures in the "Star Wars" mythos.
"Attack of the Clones" introduced Jocasta Nu as the stern librarian in charge of the Jedi archives. She was never given much attention beyond that, and most fans probably assumed she was among the first to die during the Jedi Purge.
As it turns out, Jocasta is far tougher than we ever gave her credit. Marvel's recent "Star Wars: Darth Vader" comic revealed that Jocasta managed to survive the Purge and go underground. She resurfaced only to carry out a dangerous mission to prevent Vader and the Emperor from uncovering secret records indicating the locations of Force-sensitive babies across the galaxy.
That series showed that Jocasta is every bit the badass warrior the rest of the Jedi were, and it also allowed her to play a crucial role in defeating the Empire and ensuring the Jedi would one day return.
In the movies, the Clonetropers were basically just cannon fodder, identical grunts designed to fight a war whose outcome was predetermined. The goal was never to explore the inner lives of clones or how they felt about fighting or dying for the Republic.
That's where shows like "The Clone Wars" and "Rebels" come in. These projects fleshed out the Clonetroopers in a way the movies never could. Fans got a chance to connect with individual soldiers like Captain Rex, Commander Cody, Echo and Fives and experience the war from the ground level. These shows proved that not all clones were blindly loyal to their creators, and some even went rogue and joined the Rebel Alliance.
Emperor Palpatine's mysterious Sith mentor is only ever mentioned in the Prequels. Palpatine offers an intriguing account of the Sith Lord so gifted in the ways of the Dark Side that he could create life. But if you actually want a sense of who Darth Plagueis was, what motivated him and why Palpatine murdered his mentor, you need to read James Luceno's novel "Darth Plagueis." That book offers a full accounting of Plagueis' career as a Sith Lord, while also offering fans a more detailed origin story for Palpatine than they had ever seen before.
Technically, this novel is no longer part of Disney's official "Star Wars" continuity. And with Palpatine apparently making his return in "The Rise of Skywalker," we may get a very different account of his history with Plagueis. Even so, this book helps shed light on one of the most mysterious and compelling figures in the franchise.
The enigmatic bounty hunter Aurra Sing was one of several new characters to catch the eyes of fans when the buildup to "The Phantom Menace" began. Unfortunately, her actual role in the movie amounted to a "blink and you'll miss it" cameo during the podrace sequence.
Fortunately, Aurra took on new life in the Expanded Universe fiction, and she also played a key role in "The Clone Wars." Several episodes of that series show Aurra mentoring a young Boba Fett, showing just how crucial she was in helping the son of the legendary Jango Fett become the most feared bounty hunter in the galaxy. That almost makes up for her off-screen death in "Solo: A Star Wars Story."
Samuel L. Jackson's Mace Windu got a few cool scenes in the Prequel Trilogy, were he beheaded Jango Fett and nearly defeated the mighty Darth Sidious. But the movies never give much sense of who Mace is, where he came from or what makes this particular Jedi Master tick.
That's where the books, comics and novels come in. Mace plays a recurring role in "The Clone Wars" and recently starred in his own Marvel Comics series. But for anyone who truly wants to know more about the character, you'll find no better outlet than Matthew Stover's novel "Star Wars: Shatterpoint." This book chronicles one of Mace's most important missions during the Clone Wars and offers compelling insight into his relationship with the Force.
It's easy to forget just how little Christopher Lee's Count Dooku actually appears in the Prequels. He only shows up in the last act of "Attack of the Clones" and is killed off early into "Revenge of the Sith." Who is this man who once numbered among the greatest Jedi Masters before falling to the Dark Side and helping Palpatine orchestrate the war?
While Dooku's past remains shrouded in mystery even now, he did experience some much-needed growth thanks to "The Clone Wars." The series showed the many encounters Dooku had with the Jedi that we never saw on the big screen. It also greatly expanded on the relationship between Dooku and Palpatine, showing that Dooku had his own Sith apprentices and his own designs for the galaxy. Had Palpatine not brought about Dooku's death, he may have been faced with a worthy challenger to his throne.