Warning: This recap contains spoilers for the Star Wars Rebels episode “Twin Suns.” Make the jump into hyperspace and away from this page if you haven’t watched the episode yet.
Hype. It’s defined as “extravagant or intensive publicity or promotion” according to Google, and the word one hundred percent applies to the latest episode, “Twin Suns.” The Maul and Obi-Wan Kenobi meeting has been on the table since December, and in the past two weeks, the publicity machine has been turned up to 11. As it should be. This is an event worth pushing. But when Disney XD posts almost the entirety of Maul and Kenobi’s brief encounter on Twitter…well, it doesn’t help anything.
That gripe aside, let’s move on to Maul, formerly of the Darth variety. The character was given new life in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. His abrupt demise on Naboo in The Phantom Menace was rectified, as he regained a bottom half, took control of his life, and pursued the ultimate, painful vengeance upon Obi-Wan Kenobi. As long as we’ve known Maul after Episode I, the driving force behind most of his actions has been about exacting revenge.
We’ve followed his journey for years now, and watched him achieve a few successes but also failures. He thought he could find a path back to the Sith lifestyle, but when Darth Sidious slapped Maul down and killed his brother, he had to let those ambitions go. He felt betrayed. When he made his first appearance in Star Wars Rebels, in the season two finale “Twilight of the Apprentice,” he was almost pitiable.
I’m reviewing Maul’s history to emphasize that after all we’ve been through with him, I believe we need to see his end. I don’t want the mystery of what happened to Maul to linger. I don’t want to have discussions about where Maul could possibly be during the timeline of the original trilogy. His journey needed to come to an end, and what better way than by the hand of his nemesis?
The entire encounter between Maul and Obi-Wan Kenobi was poetic. It’s been almost 30 years since their first duel, and they’ve both changed. Maul went into the face-off full of spit and vinegar believing he would win. He told Ezra he would be seeing him later. But the Obi-Wan he found was different than the Obi-Wan he knew during The Clone Wars.
This Obi-Wan is calmer. He has a purpose, he’s had a ton of time to meditate during his self-imposed exile, and his fixation on Maul has diminished over the years. Whereas Maul has been thinking about Obi-Wan on a regular basis, Obi-Wan is the ex who’s moved on with Maul rarely crossing his mind. I think Maul was disappointed to find a controlled Obi-Wan.
It took Maul realizing Obi-Wan was on Tatooine protecting something for Obi-Wan’s switch to flip. As he activated his lightsaber, he wasn’t enraged. I wouldn’t even call it anger. He just knew he needed to protect Luke. That kickstarted a duel with a whole lot of posing and very little action. Obi-Wan calmly took Maul down with one subtle strike, like he was batting away a mosquito.
Did the Maul fan in me want a longer fight? Absolutely. Would it have served the story? Probably not. It marked the contrast in their styles and beliefs. And Maul’s last words? They were haunting. He believes the Chosen One will “avenge us.”
Stephen Stanton positively nailed Alec Guinness era Obi-Wan. He was a voice match and infused Obi-Wan’s dialogue with wisdom and import. Sam Witwer, who has voiced Maul since The Clone Wars, has added nuance and layer to the character and did so right to the finish line.
Seeing teenage Luke run across the desert and hearing Aunt Beru’s voice was the perfect emotional note to end the episode.
As moving as the duel was, it was only a small portion of the episode. Maybe three or so minutes were devoted to the Obi-Wan and Maul meeting, with the rest of “Twin Suns” following Ezra and Chopper on Tatooine. It’s not terribly surprising because Rebels always tracks at least one member of the Ghost crew throughout an episode. They didn’t break the pattern for Ahsoka vs. Vader, and they didn’t do it here. But boy, the balance could have been better.
Ezra abandoned his team during their final preparations for the attack on Lothal. Given what we’ve seen of him evolving this season, it doesn’t track. If, as Hera says, he cares about Lothal more than anyone, why leave? It was arrogant of him to think he could be of use to Kenobi.
We did travel over Tatooine’s never-ending deserts with Ezra and Chopper, and it gave the animation and lighting team the chance to shine. They found the beauty of the desolate planet and made you feel like you were walking around with C-3PO and R2-D2 in A New Hope. And as much as I’m not thrilled with Ezra’s presence, I will say I buy into the whys and hows of him being around.
He shouldn’t have run into Obi-Wan Kenobi. Ezra shouldn’t have been there. While his time on Tatooine spurred some moments of growth for the youth, I don’t think it’s worth having the majority of the episode focus on him.
When Ezra made it back to Atollon, how were the first words out his mouth not: “Obi-Wan Kenobi is alive!”? If Ezra knows about the Jedi on Tatooine, how does the whole of the Rebellion not know? Maybe something happened off screen between Kenobi and Ezra with Kenobi asking his existence to be kept a secret, but it was a distracting thread to leave dangling.
Now, how about an off the wall theory before we go? Ahsoka’s final moments weren’t clear. I’m of the mind she transcended the limits of death and is now an avatar of the Daughter—the avatar of the light side of the Force who we met on Mortis in The Clone Wars. Maul died–I don’t think there’s any room for interpretation there–but what if he also goes to a place beyond death and becomes an avatar of the Son? If Ahsoka’s to ever reappear in Rebels (and she’s supposed to in some form, according to Dave Filoni), maybe it would be alongside Maul as Daughter and Son?
I’m dying (too soon?) to hear what you thought about this episode. Tell me in the comments or come talk to me on Twitter.
Featured Image: Disney XD