Qui-Gon’s funeral on Naboo is one of those important, fascinating yet kind of overlooked scenes in the saga.
The major players in the prequel trilogy are assembled in a tiny room as they watch Qui-Gon’s body burn on a funeral pyre. The fire provides the only light in the room as they stand grim-faced, John Williams’s funereal score emphasizing the solemnity of the scene. (For you trivia buffs, the lyrics are in Sanskrit, as are the lyrics to “Duel of the Fates.”) Anakin asks Obi-Wan what’s to become of him, and Obi-Wan reveals to the lad that the Council has agreed to let Anakin be trained. (You’d think they’d bother to tell Anakin sooner.) It’s interesting to note that in many scenes crucial to Anakin’s fate or to Vader’s, there’s fire present. This is one of them. Anakin is officially taking his first steps forward on the Jedi path.
Yoda and Mace Windu mull over Maul; here is where we hear the Sith Rule of Two for the first time. There is only a master and an apprentice. Just after Mace Windu ponders aloud whether Maul was the master or the apprentice, the camera focuses on Chancellor Palpatine. There he is, right under everyone’s nose! Is it possible he overheard the chatty Jedi?
I always felt like this scene also foretells the fates of everyone in the room. Only Yoda dies of old age; everyone else dies tragically or violently. Nobody lives past ROTJ. Curiously enough it is the death of Qui-Gon that sets those events in motion.