Star Wars Rebels is preparing to tie off a major continuity knot with a final showdown between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Maul, though it’s worth wondering how else a fan-favorite like Maul could have impacted the Star Wars we know. Case in point, showrunners reveal the Season 2 fight that might have seen Vader cutting down Maul, and why said foe endured.

You’re warned of full Star Wars Rebels spoilers from here on out, but anyone familiar with the series was anxious to see Season 2's showdown between Darth Vader and former padawan Ahsoka, likely moreso than the return of Darth Maul. The discarded Phantom Menace baddie has set a great deal of Season 3 in motion, though as supervising director Dave Filoni tells io9, we very nearly saw Maul’s end in the prior finale:

So originally in that episode you were gonna get Vader fighting Maul, Vader would have killed Maul, and then fought Ahsoka … It just became unwieldy. There were too many storylines, and there isn’t enough emotional material between Vader and Maul. It’s more of a fan fiction fun thought that they fought. The emotional drama was really between Vader and Ahsoka. So we decided to let Maul live.

That isn’t dissimilar from what Filoni told IGN at Star Wars Celebration last year:

This is a little bit inside, but Maul wasn’t meant to survive the Malachor episode. There was a lot of thought given to taking him out there because a lot of the Malachor arc, originally, was more about Vader confronting Maul and it was going to be a story about that. It became clear to me as the emotional story developed and we worked on it more that that was just going to be wrong, that if anything happened to Maul it needed to have its proper time and its proper space. That’s how he kind of got a pass and survived to this season.

You learned more about the character and more things developed. His relationship with Ezra in last season’s finale was planned but also surprising because Sam [Witwer] is so good at being that coercive person and then Taylor [Gray] fed off of it … [Maul taking on Vader] sounds like a great idea and then you start to develop it and you worry it’s a little more fan service-y. If it makes sense, it would happen but I’d say it’s a little unlikely.

In the meantime, Season 3 continues this Saturday with “Twin Suns,” the teaser for which you can find below. Will Darth Maul finally meet a worthy end?

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