In the first episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars‘ “Siege of Mandalore” arc, we saw a ton of great moments. From the final meeting of Ahsoka Tano with Anakin before he falls to the dark side, to a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shot of Padawan Caleb Dume (a.k.a. Kanan Jarrus from Star Wars Rebels). But the second episode, this week’s “The Phantom Apprentice,” takes the cake. The entire episode feels like a battle of wills (whills?) between Ahsoka and Darth Maul. It ends with a tremendous lightsaber battle and Maul screaming “you’re all going to die!” Keen-eyed viewers will also have spotted a couple of exciting cameos. Here’s why they’re important.
At about the middle of the episode, just after Bo-Katan avoids a crushing death under a falling lift, we see Mandalorian warrior Gar Saxon enter a room where Maul is having a hologram meeting with the other three members of the Shadow Collective. The Shadow Collective is, of course, Maul’s first criminal organization bringing together the galaxy’s major underworld groups. Though there are five major syndicates, Maul is speaking to three. The one in the middle is someone we’ve just recently seen; Marg Krim, the leader of the Pykes, was the adversary of Ahsoka and the Martez sisters concerning a shipment of spice. The other two are more interesting.
The hologram to Maul’s left is Ziton Moj. The member of the lizard-like Falleen species, Moj is the head of the Black Sun criminal organization. Based on Mustafar, the Black Sun eventually joined with Maul’s Shadow Collective and in a coup, Moj murdered the group’s original leader and took over. In the earlier canon novel Dark Disciple, Moj will propose a merger with the Pyke Syndicate that will ultimately result in a war between the two factions. Bad luck there.
We should note, fans of the old Star Wars Legends continuity might think Ziton Moj is the Falleen prince Xizor, most notable in the book and video game Shadows of the Empire. This piece of then-canon storytelling bridged the gap between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. However, like just everything prior to Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm, Shadows of the Empire is not longer considered canon. However however, Xizor was recently re-introduced into canon in, of all things, the Galaxy’s Edge cookbook.
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But, finally, the person to Maul’s right. Yes, people who’ve seen Solo: A Star Wars Story should recognize that blonde fella. It’s Dryden Vos, a leader in the Crimson Dawn criminal outfit (Crimson Dawn appears to be the next iteration of the Shadow Collective). Paul Bettany plays the villain in the movie. We already know his outcome and who takes his place in Crimson Dawn. (It’s Qi’ra.) This is Dryden’s first appearance in The Clone Wars, or really any other piece of on-screen media aside from Solo.
This is the end of the Clone Wars, after all. We know what we’re seeing in the cartoon is concurrent to the events of Revenge of the Sith. It’s only about ten years after Sith to the events of Solo, so at least Dryden Vos has a nice long tenure as aboss. Again, tough breaks.
But now what we don’t know going into next week’s episode and the finale is how it’ll all shake out. How does Maul (presumably) escape? Where does Ahsoka go once Order 66 begins? Get your caps on, friends! We’ll find out in a week.
Featured Image: Lucasfilm