With decades of movies, books, comics, and games, there are few story possibilities that #StarWars hasn't explored. Conveniently, when Disney purchased Lucasfilm they cast much of the old Expanded Universe into non-canon limbo, so that they would have the freedom to explore any corner of the Star Wars saga that took their fancy — leading to the production of awesome anthology movie Rogue One as well as the animated show Star Wars: Rebels. And yet, pretty much anything that happens in the current Star Wars canon is bound to have an EU counterpart, especially when it comes to popular characters like Maul.
Maul (previously Darth) has been an interesting fixture of #StarWarsRebels Season 2, as he tried to tempt protagonist Ezra Bridger to the dark side, and attempted to destroy the Emperor and Darth Vader. Failing in both these pursuits and desperate for a sense of purpose, Maul's resolve was renewed when he discovered that Obi Wan Kenobi was alive and living on Tattooine.
The episode "Twin Suns" saw these two nemeses finally reunite, and Maul finally met his demise in a brutally brief lightsaber battle with Obi Wan. But before the two clashed blades, Obi Wan dropped a neat little Easter Egg to the Star Wars: Visionaries comic Old Wounds — which just so happens to depict Maul hunting Obi Wan down to Tattooine.
This comic proved very popular among fans, and has heavily influenced many parts of Maul's arc in Star Wars: Rebels and the previous animated show, The Clone Wars. When Maul was first resurrected, his appearance matched how he looked in the Old Wounds comic, with his chicken-like robot legs and overlong head spikes.
It's no surprise then, that Maul's Rebels story would finally end in a parallel to the Old Wounds comic — in both stories, Maul finds Obi Wan on Tattooine and engages in a final battle. But in Old Wounds, Maul's death is far less dramatic, as he is shot by Owen Lars while distracted by his fight with Obi Wan.
The Rebels version of the story, although similar, is far more fitting to Maul's character arc. This episode is even more impressive from a referential standpoint when you realise that not only does the premise mirror Old Wounds, Maul's death poignantly parallels Qui-Gon Jinn's — right down to their last words.
There's almost a sense of redemption in this, as Maul and Obi Wan now share a common enemy — they both hate the Sith for destroying everything they respectively loved. Maul and Obi Wan were bitter enemies in The Clone Wars, as Obi Wan hated Maul for killing Qui-Gon Jinn, and Maul considered Obi Wan his sworn enemy.
Years later, it's fascinating to see a more peaceful Obi Wan guarding Luke on Tattooine. He has truly let go of his desire for vengeance, and has evolved as both a person and a Jedi. Maul, in contrast, is forever trapped in the past, obsessing over what he's lost as his feelings of anger and resentment are all he has left. This was artfully reflected in the tellingly short battle sequence — Maul tried the same move as he used to kill Qui-Gon, but Obi Wan predicted this, and swiftly defeated his foe.
But it was the final moments of this sequence that were the most interesting of all. Instead of casting his old enemy aside in victory, Obi Wan held Maul as he died, in the same way he cradled Qui-Gon. The final conversation between the two was quiet, without anger, as Maul's hope to see the Sith vanquished matched Obi Wan's own. It's ironic, but by killing Maul it seems that Obi Wan really did heal the "old wounds" of the past — and this was definitely a more reverent way to conclude Maul's story than Owen shooting him in the head.
Tell us in the comments: What did you think of Maul's death?
[Header Image Credit: Nolan Woodard]