– Spoiler Review –
For the past 18 years, Maul has been a surprisingly consistent thorn in several heroes sides, despite being cut in half by a young Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Phantom Menance. The two battled during the Clone Wars after Maul was resurrected, but they both found themselves on much different destinies after the war ended. While Maul appeared at the end of last season, Star Wars Rebels first starting laying hints at the beginning of this season that these two might meet again and suddenly the possibility of a rematch went from Infinities to canon. In “Twin Suns,” there’s a lot of history to live up to by finally pitting these two behemoths against each other again and of course the big question is: does it live up to all the expectations and history? Does Maul survive, somehow, again? The answer to the first question is holy-Force-words-fail-me yes, while the second…read on to find out.
As much as I always want this show to keep its focus on its main characters, because in the end that’s what this show is really about, the Space Family aboard the Ghost, I won’t lie I was disappointed at first that we did spend so much time with them, mainly Ezra. By the time the episode was over, I felt like “Twin Suns” spent the right amount of time with both the main characters and the Obi-Wan v Maul showdown we’ve been heading towards since the beginning of the season. In fact, I actually liked the stuff with Ezra, even if it pales in comparison to everything that follows once Obi-Wan finally appears, because in the end it puts Ezra on a course to fix the problem so many fans have had with him throughout the series and especially this season: thinking he has to fix everything on his own/so easily tricked in his quest to do good. The entire episode highlights this weakness to good effect, as previous episodes made it hard on viewers to keep dealing with his poor decision making process while this episode heaps the side effects on him, stranding him in the desert due to his failure to heed his Space Mom Hera’s warnings and forcing him to see Chopper nearly perish for his bad decisions. When Obi-Wan rescues Ezra, he imparts some truly wise words only a Master like he could, reminding Ezra his place is with his family and that he shouldn’t keep running off at the first sound of something he wants to be true. This meeting will forever (I most certainly hope) alter Ezra, preventing him from running head-strong into things without heeding or following the advice of his familial support group first, a complete turn-around from where he was in the beginning of the season, so hell-bent was he on preventing harm to befall his friends ever again. I think now he should realize that being with them, and not running off without them, will be the most efficient way to ensure their safety from now on. Thank you, Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Before I go in-depth on Obi-Wan Kenobi in “Twin Suns,” I’ve got to give a big shout out to Stephen Stanton (having previously voiced AP-5 and Grand Moff Tarkin on the show), who absolutely killed it as Old Ben. It was practically chilling, echoing Alec Guinness so perfectly I could’ve sworn at times they manipulated old dialogue to provide new lines for the episode. But no, this was Stanton and it was an absolutely fantastic performance that enhanced the entire episode. Old Ben drops some big, important advice on young Ezra Bridger (um, how does he know Ezra’s name?!?) as I mentioned above and it all certainly sounded a lot like stuff the Obi-Wan first met in A New Hope would say, aloof and still roguish in some aspects, vague but pointed enough for the listener to come to their own realizations, and wiser than anyone truly realizes. There’s even some echoes of his words about seeing things from a certain point of view, as he imparts on Ezra that the holocrons have only allowed the young Jedi to see what he wanted, which is rarely going to be the actual truth of the matter. I don’t know how much he knows about Ezra, but it is clear he only intends to teach that little bit of advice, as he seems to truly know Ezra’s path and destiny are far from his and sends the young one on his way once he’s taught him all he needed to in order to help him back towards said path. It’s interesting when Obi-Wan says Maul has simply thrown everything off and Ezra was never supposed to be on Tatooine, seeming to imply he does know to some extent what is next for Ezra, possibly learned from communication with Qui-Gon or in his efforts to learn the ability to retain his identity when he becomes one with the cosmic Force. He’s also been aware of Maul’s resurgence, but obviously living out on Tatooine has given the Jedi Master plenty of time to plan and prepare himself for such a confrontation, if ever he has to engage in it and boy, was he ready. The duel here lasts as long as it should, as Obi-Wan is an unparalleled Jedi Master who has been honing his skills for decades now, not sitting idly in the sands as Maul suggests in his taunts. It’s a beautiful, expectation fulfilling moment, and should go down as a truly unforgettable cinematic moment in Star Wars history.
Have you ever heard the Tragedy of Darth Maul? Up until this point of his story, one can’t be blamed for not imagining his tale to end in such a way that it could be called a tragedy, but there’s no other way I think about it now after the credits rolled on “Twin Suns.” Since we first met him and in every appearance since, he has been driven by vengeance, revenge, and getting what he believes is his. When he was found on Malachor, those things still pulled at him desperately, but now he was yearning to share it with someone since the two he could’ve since became giant big holes in his life (Mother Talzin and his brother Savage Opress were both killed by Sidious) and he believed he found a new connection in Ezra to some extent. But now that Ezra has spurned him, he has no reservations about using him fully to finally confront one of his remaining enemies, the one he now fears will prevent him his vengeance against Sidious/Palpatine because he’s seen that Obi-Wan is supposed to be linked to the destruction of the Sith. But I feel like his lust for revenge has blinded him to his own pain and desire for release from it, as even though Sith are supposed to be enamored with staying alive/mastery over the mortal realm, he has rushed head first into situations that would put him directly on the path to facing foes that even he has to know he doesn’t truly stand a chance against. Obi-Wan says he hasn’t wanted to fight Maul and the ex-Sith Lord seems to know that, so he prods Obi-Wan to find the thing that’ll force him to face him/force him to possibly end Maul’s life. The moment Maul figures out that Obi-Wan is protecting someone very important, he signs his death warrant and in a few, short, masterful seconds, Obi-Wan carries it out. But what elevates this battle from pure catharsis for both Maul fans and haters and avoids it being called fan-service is how Obi-Wan’s final words to Maul release the tortured soul from the vengeance that has haunted him for so long by giving him a glimpse of hope. It’s a beautiful (tear-inducing even) moment, as Obi-Wan almost seems to regret having to kill Maul, knowing he was only ever a slave to his volatile emotions and the Sith that honed them, so he allows Maul to pass away knowing that vengeance against the Sith, who have destroyed the things they both love most, will come (even if it wasn’t meant to be at either of their hands). It speaks monuments to Obi-Wan’s character/Jedi training that even after what Maul took from him, both Qui-Gon Jinn (though he managed to live on in a way) and Satine (whose death my heart still aches over), he’s willing to give his foe closure. Maul is a victim of the Sith and the dark side and Obi-Wan set him free, thus giving Maul’s story a well-deserved and tragedy-filled ending; I certainly couldn’t have imagined it happening in a better way. Goodbye, Maul…goodbye for good this time.
All of Obi-Wan’s talk here about the truth being what we make it adds an intriguing twist to when he tells Maul that Luke is the Chosen One. From everything he says in A New Hope regarding Vader/Anakin, about him being “…more machine than man…” certainly speaks to Obi-Wan not believing Anakin could actually be the Chosen One, thus making Luke (and/or Leia) the new one by default. Some might take Obi-Wan’s words at face value, seeing this as the Story Group overriding Anakin being the Chosen One, but this a truth from Obi-Wan’s point of view only and as he says here, truths are what we make them and obviously this is the truth he’s chosen to believe. He also says it to simply confirm Maul’s hopes, helping to give the ex-Sith Lord peace, so he could just be simplifying the end of the Sith by way of a Chosen One just for Maul’s final moments. Also, with those comments about Vader to Luke in his hut during ANH, we know Obi-Wan’s a fan of telling things from a different point of view when he doesn’t feel the listener is quite ready for the exact truth. Either way, Anakin still destroys the Sith in Return of the Jedi and fulfills his destiny, even if it comes at the help of Luke, Obi-Wan’s choice for the Chosen One.
Here are a few other things:
- I didn’t see it initially, but my good friend (and contributor to the site) Elliot pointed out that Obi-Wan’s second stance before he and Maul duel is the one Qui-Gon used before his one-on-one duel with Maul in The Phantom Menace! I can now hear Obi-Wan screaming inside his head, “FOR QUI-GON!” He went one step further to say the duel even mirrors Obi-Wan and Maul’s in TPM, especially with the dual blades to Obi-Wan’s face/Obi-Wan slicing them in half…except this time his cut went a little deeper.
- When did it become common knowledge Obi-Wan was on Tatooine? At the end of “Visions and Voices,” the planet Obi-Wan was hiding out on was still up for debate and I wish they included like at least one line of dialogue to reveal when/how they finally deduced his location.
- Remember how I said this episode highlights the problems with Ezra at this point in his life? Well, add naivety to that list as I’m pretty damn surprised he was unable to put it together that the conveniently left Sith holocron piece was a trap by Maul and not the Tusken Raiders (which was a fun sequence, at least). Does he really think the Tuskens would’ve known to lure him there with a Sith holocron piece?
- While it’s not surprising Bail Organa lied to even Captain Rex about Kenobi’s fate, it was pretty cool to hear him both be so wishful that Kenobi would be alive and sad over what he believes is the truth. Wonder if they’ll tell him now?
- How about that final shot of Luke, just a little blur in the distance, running back to the homestead with Obi-Wan watching over!?!? Phew, what a fantastic closing shot…getting a little teary again just thinking about it. How about we close out with that image below, hey?
- Over on Twitter, Nicole asked the question I hadn’t even considered: why was Kanan not sleeping in his own room? I think we can all figure out why, though…
- This week’s Rebels Recon has some really great talks with Stephen Stanton, Sam Witwer on his time with Maul, less often seen Carrie Beck on how the creative team ended up telling this story, and that there are plenty of deleted scenes out there, somewhere from this episode. And boy, they really want to make sure everyone knows Maul is truly, truly dead this time; No take-backies, I guess. Also, the episode guide, which normally isn’t fully updated until Monday, is already up, revealing the 17-ish Luke seen at the very end was a reuse of a Ezra model, plus other little details.
- Dave Filoni sits down for a really insightful deep-dive into this week’s episode over at io9.
“Twin Suns” lives up to the hype, even if the final moments are oh so brief, making the final rematch of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Maul an unforgettable and masterful moment in Star Wars history and bringing the Tragedy of Darth Maul to a fitting, truly final, close.
+ The Obi-Wan v Maul battle is everything you ever wanted…and then some
+ The Tragedy of Darth Maul comes to fitting, wonderful end
+ Ezra learns a lesson we all hope sticks
+ Stephen Stanton’s Obi-Wan is on point
STAR WARS REBELS REVIEWS:
Season One: Spark of Rebellion | Ep. 2: “Droids In Distress” | Ep.3: “Fighter Flight” | Ep.4: “Rise of the Old Masters” | Ep.5: “Breaking Ranks” | Ep.6: “Out of Darkness” | Ep.7: “Empire Day” | Ep.8: “Gathering Forces” | Ep.9: “Path of the Jedi” | Ep.10: “Idiot’s Array” | Ep.11: “Vision of Hope” | Ep.12: “Call to Action” | Ep.13: “Rebel Resolve” | Ep.14: “Fire Across the Galaxy“
Season Two: The Siege of Lothal | Ep. 2: “The Lost Commanders” | Ep. 3: “Relics of the Old Republic” | Ep. 4: “Always Two There Are” | Ep. 5: “Brothers of the Broken Horn” | Ep. 6: “Wings of the Master” | Ep. 7: “Blood Sisters” | Ep. 8: “Stealth Strike” | Ep. 9: “The Future of the Force” | Ep. 10: “Legacy” | Ep. 11: “A Princess on Lothal” | Ep. 12: “The Protector of Concord Dawn” | Ep. 13: “Legends of the Lasat” | Ep. 14: “The Call” | Ep. 15: “Homecoming” | Ep. 16: “The Honorable Ones” | Ep. 17: “Shroud of Darkness” | Ep. 18: “The Forgotten Droid” | Ep. 19: “The Mystery of Chopper Base” | Ep. 20: “Twilight of the Apprentice“
Season Three: Steps into Shadow | Ep. 2: “Holocrons of Fate” | Ep. 3: “The Antilles Extraction” | Ep. 4: “Hera’s Heroes” | Ep. 5: “The Last Battle” | Ep. 6: “Imperial Supercommandos” | Ep. 7: “Iron Squadron” | Ep. 8: “The Wynkahthu Job” | Ep. 9: “An Inside Man” | Ep. 10: “Visions and Voices” | Ep. 11: “Ghosts of Geonosis” | Ep. 12: “Warhead” | Ep. 13: “Trials of the Darksaber” | Ep. 14: “Legacy of Mandalore” | Ep. 15: “Through Imperial Eyes” | Ep. 16: “Secret Cargo” | Ep. 17: “Double Agent Droid“
A New Dawn (Novel)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (Comic mini-series)
Darth Maul (Comic mini-series)