After decades of being pissed off at Obi-Wan for chopping off the lower-half of his body on Naboo in The Phantom Menance, the devilish former Sith Lord known as Maul (he dropped the “Darth” ages ago) finally got a chance to enact his revenge. But the results of an epic battle between old lightsaber-spinning adversaries might not have been what fans wanted. What someone might guess would happen between Obi-Wan and Maul, did in fact happen, but it was just a little quicker than expected.
Spoilers ahead for Star Wars Rebels, “Twin Suns.”
Toward the last five minutes of the new episode, old Ben Kenobi tells Ezra Bridger he will “heal this old wound.” This is a reference to Maul still being allowed to walk around, but also to a 2005 non-canon Star Wars comic book story titled “Old Wounds.” In that story, Obi-Wan battled Darth Maul to protect a young Luke Skywalker, and the result was Uncle Owen having to shoot Darth Maul at the last second. The thing is, the old non-canon version of this story was little bit more exciting, if only because it was a little less predictable. Still, the result is the same in “Twin Suns,” Darth Maul finally dies, and the way in which he dies cements Obi-Wan at just being way better at fighting than pretty much anyone.
Most of “Twin Suns” focuses on the somewhat arbitrary idea that Ezra has to go to Tatooine and save Obi-Wan from Darth Maul. All of this is a trap, of course, a way for Maul to lure Obi-Wan out into the open with Ezra as the bait.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, much of Ezra’s search for Obi-Wan and Darth Maul intentionally apes thematic beats from A New Hope. Ezra and Chopper bicker in the desert a little like R2-D2 and C-3PO do in the first film. Ezra’s defeated nonchalance about everything feels very Luke Skywalker. And, just like Luke, Ezra is attacked by Tusken Raiders but saved mysteriously saved by a man in a hood. After Maul kills some Tusken Raiders, the astute fan wonders that between this and Anakin’s psycho crazy murder-spree in Attack of the Clones, that the only natural predator Tusken Raiders have are crazy people with lightsabers.
When Old Ben eventually rescues Ezra from the ravages of just hanging out in a desert, he says with meta-fictional commentary, “You’re in the wrong place Ezra Bridger.” Obi-Wan dialogue here is great and reminds fans just how essential this brand of calm, Jedi wisdom made the original films so charming. “Maul used your desire to do good to deceive you,” Obi-Wan says, foreshadowing advice he would later give to Luke Skywalker. In terms of things fans will love, Obi-Wan’s speeches are probably a little more exciting than the battle itself. When Maul and Obi-Wan fight, their posturing takes up more screentime than the actual fight. Like Obi-Wan’s defeat of Anakin in Revenge of the Sith, the aging Jedi takes out Darth Maul with basically one move. BOOM. Maul dies in a second. It’s pretty awesome if you love Obi-Wan, but brutal if you’ve been hoping Maul would stick around and maybe even turn … good.
As he dies, Maul asks Obi-Wan if he is protecting “the Chosen One,” and Obi-Wan nods. Maul then says “he will avenge us both,” implying he feels that both he and Obi-Wan were equally screwed by the Sith. In a strange way, this gives Darth Maul a touching death, where he doesn’t necessarily hate Obi-Wan per se. Instead, Maul is just a sad crazy person with no purpose.
The episode ends with Obi-Wan watching the Lars family farm from a distance as we hear Aunt Beru call out “Luke, Luke!” A figure is seen running in the sand, but obviously, Luke Skywalker’s face isn’t glimpsed. That’s okay, though: That guy probably dominates enough stories already.
The remaining two episodes of Star Wars Rebels’s Season 3 — “Zero Hour” Parts 1 & 2 — will air on March 25 on Disney XD. The show will return for a fourth season sometime in 2018.