The Star Wars prequels have had their fair share of criticism over the years. However, despite this, the prequel trilogy does have its moments. While they may not be as entertaining or thought-provoking as the original films, each of the films contain some great scenes and imagery. In fact, there are probably a ton of things you never noticed in the Star Wars prequels (even if you have your own Star Wars fan theories).
The best parts of films like The Phantom Menace are not the action sequences, but the little hints that subtly suggest the things to come. The often clumsy dialogue in Attack of the Clones contains clues about the future of the characters, and Revenge of the Sith has some of the best hidden foreshadowing in Star Wars, with characters used extremely effectively as symbolism. The truth is, there are myriad amazing moments of foreshadowing in the Star Wars prequels, and they'll make you appreciate those films at least a bit more. Plus, with even more Star Wars sequels and installments coming out, maybe reading up on foreshadowing here can help you catch little hints and Easter eggs throughout new Star Wars films.
The prequel trilogy showed audiences some of Darth Sidious's other apprentices and trainees, besides Darth Vader. Each of the three movies has a particular focus on a specific antagonist: The Phantom Menace has Darth Maul, Attack of the Clones features Count Dooku, and Revenge of the Sith focuses on General Grievous.
These three characters perfectly foreshadowed the man Anakin Skywalker would become as Darth Vader. Darth Maul is a manifestation of evil and hatred, the forces that drive Anakin to the dark side. Meanwhile, Count Dooku is known for his split from the Jedi Order, symbolizing Anakin’s fall from his friends and mentors.
The final piece comes with Grievous, who hints at the final melding of man and machine that corrupts Anakin after his battle with Obi-Wan Kenobi.
In the scene pictured above, Anakin and Obi-Wan talk before going their separate ways. Kenobi eventually ends the conversation by saying, “Goodbye, old friend.” This symbolically predicts this exchange will be the last time the two men will meet as friends. Anakin is gone the next time they come together, replaced by Darth Vader.
You might have easily missed the visual foreshadowing of Anakin standing in the dark shadows, while his mentor is bathed in bright light, a representation of their respective paths.
While it can be argued the different beasts who attack each of the three main protagonists in Clone Wars metaphorically represent the struggles each character is set to go through, there is a far subtler image that forecasts the upcoming struggle of Anakin.
The Jedi Knight is chained up in between Padme and Obi-Wan on Geonosis, as the group faces imminent execution. This signifies the internal conflict Anakin will face, as he is caught in the middle of his love for Padme and his devotion to the Jedi. It manages to successfully show that he will have to choose between the two in the next movie.
In Attack Of The Clones, we can clearly see that Anakin's shadow on the wall of the moisture farmhouse is reminiscent of Darth Vader's striking silhouette (you can check it out in the image above). This same method was also used in the promotion of The Phantom Menace, which showed a much younger Anakin casting a long, Vader-esque shadow against the wall of a hut.
Later, again in Attack of the Clones, we see Anakin outlined against the dual sunset of Tatooine, and he looks astoundingly similar to Darth Vader. If you have good eyes, and a lightning-fast pause reflex, it's plain to see that Anakin had Vader living in his shadow for a long time.