I love Maul. However, I feel his "cameo" as a silent adversary in Episode I hurts both him and Dooku as characters. I feel a big problem with Episode II was the sudden introduction of Dooku as the main antagonist. Look at Palpatine, he is introduced as a mild-mannered Senator, than Chancellor, before his true nature is finally revealed. Darth Vader is developed from a boy, to a Jedi and finally to a Sith. Both take three films to develop. Dooku just appears out of nowhere in one film as an old man. He has no backstory; motives, experiences, nothing. This level of detteachment is made even worse by the fact that he commits no hate-mongering crime except to lead a rebellion against a corrupt government. Who is this Count Dooku? Why do we fear and dislike him? I think placing Dooku in TPM achieves a few objectives. First, it makes him a more established character that is known better to the viewer, thus giving his betrayal by Palpatine, and death at Anakin's hand, more weight. Second, it shows his backstory, provides time for an on-screen view on what caused his disillusionment with the Republic and departure from the Jedi order. Finally, it makes the Duel of the Fates even more iconic. Yes, Darth Maul's intimidating presence and appearance gets points in the "mystery warrior" category, however, a Master vs. Apprentice duel, Dooku v Qui-Gon, would have been even bigger and would be in keeping with the iconic duels of the Classic Trilogy. Now there is a big Elephant in the room. It's Darth Maul's predicament at the end of TPM, namely: he's dead. I think Dooku killing Qui-Gon would have given Dooku an act heinous enough to make him more dangerous and hate-worthy in Episode II. The ten years between Episode I and Episode II allow for Dooku to survive an almost certain-death experience and recover. This would make his surprise appearance in Episode II from a "who's he?" to a real surprising "he survived?". In summary, I am arguing that Darth Maul's character however impressive, was not needed and that, Count Dooku should have been used in Phantom Menace instead of Darth Maul. Again, this is not because I do not like Maul, I would have enjoyed if he was the antagonist for The Attack of the Clones, however his limited one-movie role, basically just to kill Qui-Gon, is somewhat useless and wastes valuable time that could be used to develop Dooku's character into an iconic Sith of the Star Wars Saga.