- "He was trained in the Jedi arts. My only conclusion can be that it was… a Sith Lord."
- ―Qui-Gon Jinn
A lightsaber duel on Tatooine between Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and Sith apprentice Darth Maul took place on Tatooine in 32 BBY. Maul was sent by his master, Darth Sidious, to retrieve Queen Amidala of Naboo, who managed to escape the Trade Federation's Sith sponsored blockade of her home planet and take temporary refuge on Tatooine under Jinn's protection.
By backtracing transmissions from the Queen's royal starship, Maul successfully tracked the starship and its crew to Tatooine, where he dispatched probe droids to confirm their presence. Maul ambushed Jinn as he prepared to load his new unofficial apprentice, Anakin Skywalker, onto the Queen's starship, which was due to depart for the galactic capital. Jinn managed to hold off Maul long enough for the ship to take off. The sudden appearance of Maul enlightened the Jedi Order to the reemergence of the Sith Order, who were thought destroyed for almost a thousand years.
After the Boonta Eve podrace and the acquisition of the hyperdrive parts for the Queen's starship, Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and young Anakin Skywalker were making their way to the ship. Along the way, they encountered one of Darth Maul's probe droids, which Qui-Gon destroyed. Inspecting it, Qui-Gon realized they were being followed, and they began to hurry for the ship. During their run, they were attacked by three more probe droids, which were equipped with small laser guns, but Qui-Gon quickly destroyed them. Meanwhile, another of the surviving probes notified Maul of the Jedi's presence, and the Sith Lord hurried to intercept. What occurred next was the first recorded encounter between the Jedi Order and the Order of the Sith Lords in over a thousand years.
As Anakin and Qui-Gon ran for the ship, mere yards away, Jinn sensed Darth Maul's approach. Turning around to encourage Anakin to pick up the pace, he saw Maul bearing down on them on his speeder bike. Anakin quickly obeyed Qui-Gon's command to drop, just in time to avoid being skewered by Maul's speeder. As the speeder closed in on Qui-Gon, Maul leapt off the bike at the Jedi, attacking before his feet had even touched the ground. Surprised by the Sith's speed and ferocity, Jinn barely managed to block the attack. As Maul landed, he quickly followed up with an overhand, which Jinn deflected before attacking himself. As Maul blocked Qui-Gon's blow, Jinn ordered Anakin to get onboard the ship and tell them to take off.
As Anakin did so, Qui-Gon attempted to launch his own offensive, but Maul easily brushed off his overhand and unleashed his own frenzy of attacks. Jinn was viciously driven back, barely able to protect himself, as his own style possessed a weak defense, especially against Maul's furious lightsaber technique. Despite his own valiant efforts, Qui-Gon simply could not find an opening.
When Anakin boarded the ship and informed the crew of the situation, they attempted a rescue, flying low towards the fight with the boarding ramp lowered. As Qui-Gon blocked a leaping slash from Maul and countered, he saw the ship approaching. Disengaging from the Sith, Qui-Gon quickly leapt aboard, getting inside just as the hatch closed and the ship accelerated. As the Nubian streaked for the heavens, Maul was left fuming on the desert floor.
Later, Qui-Gon told his apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi, that the mysterious stranger was definitely after the Queen. He also mentioned that the attacker was well trained in the Jedi arts, leading the Jedi Master to believe he was a Sith Lord. Qui-Gon later reported the incident to the Jedi Council, and after the Blockade of Naboo was over they realized that this warrior was no doubt a Sith.
The seeds for the revenge of the Sith were finally laid that day. Darth Maul later avenged his loss at the Duel on Tatooine when he murdered Qui-Gon Jinn in a lightsaber duel on Naboo, which took place during the retaking of Theed Royal Palace. Maul was later defeated by Kenobi and believed to have died in the process, having been sliced in half and falling down a seemingly endless chasm. However, it was his hatred of Kenobi that kept him alive and he somehow escaped Naboo, ending up on Lotho Minor for twelve years until he was found by his brother, the Nightbrother Savage Opress.
Behind the scenes
- "The scene where we first get a confrontation between a Jedi and a Sith― I wanted it to be very abstract, you know, not deal with it. The end of the movie― The climax of the movie is the confrontation between these two characters, so I didn't want to give it away at this point. So I did it with a lot of swirling robes and flashing swords and kicking up a lot of dust but not actually seeing the fight."
- ―George Lucas
This is the first lightsaber duel in the prequel trilogy.
This lightsaber duel was also the first fight showing both the Jedi and Sith in their prime. One of George Lucas's major objectives for the prequel trilogy was to make the lightsaber fights "faster and more intense." This duel was shown early and was made short to give the viewer a small taste of what was to come.
Qui-Gon Jinn's encounter with the probe droid was originally filmed, but it ended up cut for time, which resulted in a slightly disjointed transition showing Anakin and Qui-Gon running back to the ship when they had earlier been seen walking calmly to their destination. This scene was, however, retained in the novelization, as well as included in the DVD version under the name "Farewell to Jira".
- Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds (Mentioned only)
- Darth Plagueis (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace comic
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace novelization (First appearance)
- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace game
- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace junior novelization
- Star Wars Episode I Journal: Anakin Skywalker
- Star Wars Episode I Journal: Queen Amidala
- Star Wars Episode I Journal: Darth Maul
- "End Game" (Mentioned only)
- Episode I: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Appears in flashback(s))
- The Wrath of Darth Maul (Appears in flashback(s))
- Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
- Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 21
- Star Wars: Beware the Sith
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide: Updated and Expanded
- (Indirect mention only)