‘Star Wars Rebels’ Boss Explains THAT Ending to the Maul-Kenobi Duel

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Star Wars Rebels finally circled back to give Darth Maul and Obi-Wan Kenobi one last showdown, and … well, if you’ve seen Star Wars, you could probably guess its outcome. Still, Rebels boss Dave Filoni now explains why the rematch went as it did, and how it simultaneously pays tribute to both Seven Samurai and The Phantom Menace.

You’re warned of full spoilers for Saturday’s “Twin Suns” from here on out, but those looking for a prolonged duel on the surface of Tatooine were in for a surprise, as Obi-Wan Kenobi managed to cut down his vengeful opponent in just three strokes. The buildup certainly had fans expecting something longer, but as supervising producer Dave Filoni explained to io9, their duel was more of an emotional one:

The instinct would be, and probably, I admit, the expectation, is for some kind of prolonged lightsaber battle. But I’ve done a lot of prolonged lightsaber battles over the years and I think what’s most important about any kind of confrontation is what’s riding on it. What’s the tension going into it? It starts to matter less and less how you swing a sword or how creatively you do it if there’s not a lot riding on it. […]

It really is to express the difference between the Jedi and the Sith. Which is the Jedi become selfless and the Sith remain selfish. When pressed, because Obi-Wan is protecting someone else in the end, he does fight. But because he is so true and knows who he is in that moment, you can’t defeat that. So Obi-Wan is going to strike down Maul because Maul is such a broken and lost person, which I think is why in the end you see Maul being cradled by Obi-Wan.

This idea is that Obi-Wan is willing to forgive this person who is so cruel and terrible because he feels pity for him. To his dying breath Maul is hoping there will be some revenge exacted upon his enemies. And in my mind, Obi-Wan expresses sadness there because that means that Maul has never grown and will never be released from his suffering. So I felt that moment had to be beyond a lightsaber fight and had to be more an expression of their characters.

Filoni pointed toward Kyuzo, master swordsman of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, as inspiration for Obi-Wan reluctantly accepting (and ending) the duel with knowledge of its quick outcome. As explained in post-show Rebels Recon, the duel also ends with Maul attempting the same hilt bash move that led to Qui-Gon Jinn’s death in The Phantom Menace, though the elder Kenobi anticipates and strikes through it. Cued up below:

The full Rebels Recon episode is worth a watch, also revealing deleted scenes, insight into production and a clip from next week’s “Zero Hour” finale, but was Maul and Kenobi’s final showdown worthy of the buildup? Might we ever see either character again, in some form?

Watch the trailer for Season 3's hour-long closer below, and stay tuned for news of Season 4 and beyond.

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