By the time Revenge of the Sith hit theaters in 2005, most Star Wars fans had all but given up on the franchise. After giving the franchise life decades earlier, it looked like George Lucas was going to tear down the foundation as well. Thankfully, Disney and J.J. Abrams (and $4 billion) decided the story shouldn’t end on a sour note.

The Force Awakens was an incredible return to form, restoring our hope in the Star Wars universe. But Disney can’t erase the prequels, which is why we need more fan projects like Darth Maul: Apprentice.

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Published this weekend, Darth Maul: Apprentice has apparently been in the works for two years. Just to put that into perspective, we hadn’t even seen a teaser trailer for The Force Awakens two years ago.

On paper, Darth Maul should have been one of the coolest additions to the Star Wars universe in Episode I. Instead, he ended up falling somewhere between podracing and midi-chlorians on the list of “things we stopped caring about immediately after we left the theater.” He was underutilized and died like a sap.

But we never got to see his backstory. What if his training has been just as intense and meaningful as Luke Skywalker’s, but on the Dark Side of the Force? That’s exactly what T7 Production wanted to explore in their short film:

It might not make up for the prequels, but it’s an incredible exploration of a character that could have been iconic, had Lucas and co. given him a chance. String enough of these fan films together and we may have a new prequel trilogy to enjoy.

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