1. Darth Maul - as the red and black faced Sith Lord apprentice, DM will be to TPM what Darth Vader was to Star Wars. He wields an ultra cool double-sided lightsabre and just looks plain cool. As the main bad guy for the first prequel, DM will probably be the # 1 fan favorite. DM is the best bad guy seen on screen since Boba Fett fell into the old Sarlacc pit.
2. Jar Jar Binks - as the first fully CG (computer generated) character that can act in a feature length film, fans will love this character from the start. Jar Jar will be a breathtaking and humorous character that will be an action-figure favorite. Digital animation is going to change the very nature of filmmaking.
3. Qui-Gon Jinn - as the venerable Jedi Knight of TPM, many fans will relish this character who "discovers" Anakin on Tatooine and, hence, Qui-Gon is the one who is really responsible for the collapse of the Old Republic and the demise of the Jedi Knights. They all should have left Anakin on Tatooine if they knew what was good for them. Liam Neeson's performance is Oscar worthy.
4. Obi-Wan Kenobi - we finally get to see what Ben was doing in his younger days. As a reckless and cocky Jedi warrior, fans are going to love Obi-Wan's fierce lightsabre duel with Darth Maul. Ewan McGregor brings a confidence to this role, which would make Alec Guiness proud.
5. Queen Amidala (Padme) - as the headstrong and beautiful ruler of a peaceful world, boys and girls from around the world are going to worship Natalie Portman's character. She proves to be an ample warrior as well as a great dignitary. As the future wife of Anakin Skywalker and mother to Luke and Leia, fans are sure to be delighted with this character.
This represents only the tip of the iceberg concerning the marvelous new character that will inhabit the Phantom Menace!