We made it. After all the build up and anticipation, we’ve reached the ultimate duel between Maul and Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars Rebels. Much to the surprise of everyone on the planet, it was the kind of showdown that nobody saw coming.
Spoilers for the episode Twin Suns ahead
If you’ve been following along, then you know where we’re at. Maul didn’t die in The Phantom Menace and he’s effectively dedicated his entire existence to unleashing his revenge against our old friend Obi-Wan Kenobi. Reviving Maul was a fantastic decision on the part of The Clone Wars show runners and he’s developed into the phenomenal character that he had the potential of becoming. So here we go, years of build up all leading to this moment; Maul vs. Obi-Wan Kenobi on the sands of Tatooine.
And it was over in about three seconds.
I honestly don’t know what to feel. Like everyone else, I’ve spent the last couple months imagining an epic showdown between Obi-Wan and Maul mirroring their first duel on Naboo to John Williams’ epic Duel of the Fates. Old man Obi-Wan against the former Sith lord dead set on revenge. The matchup wrote itself, the stage was set. And in a stunning turn of events, we got something totally different.
On the one hand, Obi-Wan striking down Maul in three swings of his lightsaber was pretty badass. Obi-Wan has become so powerful that he only needed to exert a minimal amount of effort to cut down an incredibly powerful dark side force user. Block, block, slice. Game. Set. Match. It’s something we never see in Star Wars. We’ve conditioned to expect these incredibly dramatic duels between major characters and this was totally out of left field; nobody saw it coming.
On the other hand, we all want the flashy duels. I wanted to see Maul releasing all of the anger he’s built up since his first encounter with Obi-Wan and I wanted to hear the sweet, sweet sound of his double-bladed lightsaber twirling. I literally got up out of my chair when Maul activated the second side of his lightsaber and moved into a ready stance, that’s how freakin’ excited I was. Much like last season’s build up to Ahsoka vs. Darth Vader, I was ready to see these two classic powerhouses go toe-to-toe one final time in grand fashion.
Overall, I’m just surprised. Obi-Wan expectedly didn’t really have a huge role in the episode but the duel was completely unexpected. Maul shows up, reveals he knows why Obi-Wan is there, Obi-Wan cuts him down in defense of Luke and see you later. That’s it. It was one of those things that just leaves you feeling empty inside when it’s over.
It was a cool idea to change up the formula on how these duels play out and I don’t totally hate it. In fact, I actually kinda like it. I’m just a little disappointed I didn’t get the fireworks I was looking forward to. Either way, I’m sad to see Maul’s story come to an end because he’s been an excellent character.
Oh, and the obligatory cameo for Luke at the end that calls back to the beginning of A New Hope was pretty neat.