(Disclaimer: Spoilers for Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Episode 19, 'Twin Suns'. Continue at your own risk!)
Star Wars Rebels has been a key addition to the newly minted Star Wars canon, and is beautifully bridging the gap between Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: A New Hope. Rebels also ties back to Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and has deepened some of its lore that was once (more or less) self-contained. Not only has Rebels shown us the fate of Mandalore following Clone Wars, but the show has also continued the story of the fan-favorite character Darth Maul.
Darth Maul’s mission on Star Wars Rebels has been to find Obi-Wan Kenobi, and finally exact his revenge. Because we know Obi Wan does not meet his end at the hands of Darth Maul, it seemed unlikely that Maul would find Kenobi — or if he did, he wouldn't follow through with his revenge plot. In a recent episode of Star Wars Rebels, we finally learned how the Darth Maul and Obi Wan Kenobi rivalry ended, and it’s a huge moment in #StarWars canon.
Darth Maul Vs. Obi Wan Kenobi: Final Round
Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Episode 19, titled 'Twin Suns', brought us one of the most hyped moments in the show's history. We finally got to see Darth Maul go toe-to-toe with Obi-Wan Kenobi for the first time since The Clone Wars. The lead up to this moment was intense, and the payoff was everything we could have hoped for.
The fight comes at the end of the episode, after Maul manipulates Ezra into revealing Obi-Wan’s location. Maul approaches Obi-Wan and Ezra, and Obi Wan sends Ezra away to rendezvous with the Ghost crew. Why does Obi-Wan send Ezra away? Because shit is about to go down.
Maul and Obi-Wan exchange words first, which prove to be vitally important. During this conversation, Maul deduces that Obi-Wan is on Tatootine because he is protecting someone. After a bit of posturing, the two ignite their lightsabers, and strike their battle poses. Obi-Wan assumes his classic pose for a second, but then he switches to the stance used by Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace — which is a beautiful nod to his fallen master.
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The two lock eyes for a few beats, and then Darth Maul charges using the same acrobatic style he used in The Phantom Menace. Obi-Wan blocks Maul’s frantic high and low strikes before he delivers one devastating blow to Maul, splitting his Dualsaber in half, and mortally wounding him. Obi Wan shows the compassion of a true Jedi, and comforts Maul as he lay dying. In his last moments, Maul asks Obi Wan if he’s protecting the “chosen one”. Obi-Wan tells Maul that he is, and Maul replies: “Then he will avenge us all”.
'Rebels' Producer Dave Filoni Speaks On 'Twin Suns'
The death of Darth Maul is a huge moment in Star Wars canon, and wouldn’t have happened without the man who brought Maul back from the dead: Star Wars Rebels Executive Producer Dave Filoni. io9 / Gizmodo caught up with Mr. Filoni, and asked him about Darth Maul, and about the inevitability of his death on Rebels:
“If there’s a character like Maul running around during one of the old films, he’s such a big-time player you think there would have been an echo of that somewhere, so it was just the right time to tell the story and bring that thread to an end.”
Filoni was then asked about the length of Kenobi and Maul's final confrontation, and he explained why they decided to make the fight so short:
"[..] the expectation is for some kind of prolonged lightsaber battle. But I’ve done a lot of prolonged lightsaber battles over the years and I think what’s most important about any kind of confrontation is what’s riding on it. What’s the tension going into it?"
Filoni also explains the significance of Obi-Wan's fighting position, the manner in which Maul attacked him, and the finality of Maul's death:
Maul tries to get Obi-Wan with a very similar move as he gets Qui-Gon. [...] So I had Maul try to do the same thing to Obi-Wan but again, to show growth, Obi-Wan is ready for that and slices it right in half. That slicing of the lightsaber hilt is to represent Maul being sliced.
The fight was quick, but the emotion it carried was significant. this was due in large part to how the characters behaved during Maul's final moments, and how it defined both characters in very significant ways:
“It really is to express the difference between the Jedi and the Sith. So Obi-Wan is going to strike down Maul because Maul is such a broken and lost person, which I think is why in the end you see Maul being cradled by Obi-Wan. This idea is that Obi-Wan is willing to forgive this person who is so cruel and terrible because he feels pity for him. To his dying breath Maul is hoping there will be some revenge exacted upon his enemies. And in my mind, Obi-Wan expresses sadness there because that means that Maul has never grown and will never be released from his suffering.
A Perfect End To An Epic Rivalry
The final battle between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Maul is a huge moment in Star Wars canon. It marked the end of a decade-spanning rivalry between two beloved characters in the Star Wars universe, but it did so in a way that brought honor to both characters. Although the fight was short, it was everything I could have hoped for as a Star Wars fan.
Darth Maul met his death with honor, and Obi-Wan was there to comfort him in his final moments. It was a beautiful ending, that showed us everything we need to know about these two characters. They were mortal enemies, but they also had a great deal of respect for one another. Maul was not angry in his death; instead, he seemed relieved and comforted by Obi Wan’s presence.
This conclusion also served as the end of a chapter in Star Wars history, and with Maul’s final words, he gave us a preview of what’s to come. Not too long after these events, Obi-Wan will meet his end, and his sacrifice will inspire Luke to save the universe. Rebels confronted this inevitability head-on, and modeled an ending to the Obi-Wan/Maul story that fit perfectly into this continuity.
Obi-Wan’s time in solitude made him the man he was in A New Hope, and we saw that maturity and grace on Rebels. Maul’s arc fit his character perfectly, and answers fan’s questions about why he wasn’t mentioned in the later canon.
When it comes down to it, this was an amazing episode, and the best possible ending to an amazing rivalry. Hopefully Rebels can continue to bring us amazing stories inside the Star Wars universe. You can catch Star Wars Rebels Saturdays 8:30 PM/ET on Disney XD.
Sound off! What did you think about the Obi Wan Kenobi vs. Darth Maul showdown? Let your voice be heard in the comments section below!