As Star Wars: The Clone Wars wraps up, we’re seeing the Siege of Mandalore. Ahsoka travels to Mandalore with Bo-Katan to capture none other than Darth Maul. And that means we get an epic lightsaber duel between Ahsoka and Maul. Like, a film-quality lightsaber duel. To execute this important moment, Lucasfilm used motion capture performances to inform the animation for the first time. That means Ray Park—the actor who played Maul in The Phantom Menace—got to perform as the character once again, while Lauren Mary Kim performed as Ahsoka.
Lucasfilm released a look inside Maul and Ahsoka’s duel in “The Phantom Apprentice” and I’m in awe. It’s absolutely remarkable to watch the duel come together between the performers’ physicality and then the vocal performances by Sam Witwer and Ashley Eckstein. See for yourself:
It could be a coincidence, but I like that Park has red dots on his suit while Kim has blue dots on hers. It matches Maul and Ahsoka.
StarWars.com shared that Park devised a new fighting style for Maul to accommodate the character’s age and metal legs. It’s very obviously Park is performing as Maul; you can see it in the finished Clone Wars duel. And Lauren Mary Kim is no slouch either. She has experience as Elektra’s stunt double in Marvel’s Daredevil among countless other stunt roles. Kim absolutely holds her own against Park.
One especially fascinating tidbit in the video, besides hearing series executive producer Dave Filoni share insight into the highly anticipated Siege of Mandalore, comes from animation supervisor Keith Kellogg. He shares how they took the mocap performance and fit it into The Clone Wars‘ animation style. That means faster lightsaber hits, stronger poses, some nuance. They had to blend two different worlds.
This Clone Wars battle ranks rather high on my list of best lightsaber duels in Star Wars. It’s easily in up there with Maul’s battle with Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Phantom Menace.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars has two more episodes left, airing May 1 and May 4. Watch them on Disney+.
Featured Image: Lucasfilm