Like a moment out of “Legends,” Darth Maul finally caught up with Obi-Wan Kenobi in the sands of Tatooine — and it goes down about how you’d expect, only not quite …
Look, we’re not exactly spoiling anything here. You know Obi-Wan doesn’t die in the Tatooine desert while Luke is a child, and you know Darth Maul isn’t anywhere to be seen in the era of the Original Trilogy.
All of this has played out before, in Dark Horse Comics’ “Old Wounds” storyline, but it has been brought out of the former Expanded Universe, now rebranded as Legends, and made canonical Star Wars lore once and for all. And it means a lot more with Maul’s many machinations from Clone Wars and Rebels now in the background.
In “Twin Suns” — today’s much-hyped episode of Star Wars Rebels in which Maul finally tracks down an older Kenobi — the former Sith Lord, driven by visions enabled by uniting the Jedi and Sith holocrons that have faded in and out of the series’ narrative, uses his once would-be apprentice Ezra Bridger to draw out his quarry.
Most of this episode is a disappointment, and what happens is pretty predictable but for one glorious moment, and fortunately that happens to be the big one.
When he feels the call of Maul, whom he knows is close to tracking down Kenobi (a Jedi general of the Clone Wars he knows only from the famous “stay away” warning he transmitted as the Jedi purge began, a replay of which opened Rebels’ first season), Ezra shirks his duties in the run-up to his Rebel cell’s planned attack on his homeworld, Lothal. So, it’s off to Tatooine for Ezra and Chopper.
Ezra finds himself in over his head, naturally, and Obi-Wan — now very much the desert hermit we will later see in Episode IV — A New Hope — comes to the rescue. That’s when Maul reveals himself and the action really begins, but not before he surmises that Kenobi is on Tatooine to protect something (“or someone”), thus sealing his fate.
For such a long-awaited moment, the actual duel is stunningly brief — basically, Kenobi finishes off Maul with a few quick strokes of his lightsaber. After all their epic battles, like twin suns orbiting their destiny and burning with determination and rage, it’s a quiet twist that could only have played out off of the big screen, as it’s definitely not blockbuster material — but it’s nevertheless satisfying storytelling. Obi-Wan may be old now, but he’s still a Jedi Master.
With his dying breath, the defeated onetime warlord — actually cradled in his vanquisher’s arms — seeks, and receives, confirmation of his suspicions: The Chosen One shall avenge him.
We’ve seen one Skywalker twin in Rebels already — Princess Leia — and Luke does make an appearance here, even if it’s a much smaller one. Keep in mind that they’re essentially the same age as Ezra, who was born as the Republic died and the Empire rose. The moment is not really surprising, any more than the similar final shots of Episode III — Revenge of the Sith were, but it’s a sweet nod to the movie that started it all and a reminder of where the circle begins and ends.
Along those lines, this could easily have served as a season finale, or even the series finale (Rebels, after all, didn’t get renewed for a fourth season until recently). But there is still “Zero Hour” to come this season, the two-part final episode of Season 3, which sees another Legends import, Grand Admiral Thrawn, closing a circle of his own in a long game the master strategist has been playing with his Rebel opponents. There are a few other familiar faces returning, too:
To win the rebellion, Ezra and the Ghost Crew must band together, resist, and stand their ground! Catch the Epic 1-hour event Saturday, March 25 anywhere you watch Disney XD.
Images courtesy of Lucasfilm