Wow, this week’s episode of Star Wars Rebels was nothing short of brilliant, and served as the perfect calm before the storm we’re going to see in next week’s 2-part season finale. Now, that may seem a strange thing to say considering that “Twin Suns” finally gives us the showdown between Obi-Wan and Maul that they’ve been teasing since early on in this season. It’s one of the more interesting aspects about the episode is that the fight between the two is not the long drawn out duel people probably expected. Perhaps more important though is that the episode doesn’t lose sight of the story for the sake of the showdown between the longtime foes. This episode is a perfect illustration of the growth that Ezra has undergone in the series.
First things first, we have to talk about that duel. It was insanely quick, almost like a duel on a Western film or more appropriately, the climax of an old school samurai film, where duels were won quickly with few strokes of the blade. Obi-Wan cuts down Maul in just 3 flicks of his own blade and admittedly this initially was puzzling. After stopping to think about it though, it makes sense. Both fighters are older and not quite as spry as they were for their previous bouts, but they’re both very familiar with the others fighting style. It also speaks to Obi-Wan’s growth in the Force to be able to anticipate Maul’s strikes enabling him to end the fight before it really started.
The episode also pays homage to A New Hope in a multitude of ways including the duel itself. For starters, when Ezra and Chopper arrive on Tatooine they are attacked by Tusken Raiders similar to the way Luke and C-3PO were assaulted. Unfortunately for them though, the ambush results in the destruction of the A-Wing Ezra stole away with, effectively leaving them stranded in the desert wastes. Again though, this is similar to the way Artoo and Threepio wander the desert after landing in an escape pod at the beginning of A New Hope. As for the duel, Obi-Wan’s quick blade work is reminiscent of how he deftly removed Ponda Boba’s arm in the cantina. The speedy duel can definitely be viewed as an homage to films like Seven Samurai and The Hidden Fortress, which helped inspire George Lucas to create Star Wars in the first place.
As for Maul, it’s a fitting end for a great character. Fans immediately took to the Sith lord with the double bladed lightsaber when he debuted in The Phantom Menace and a common complaint was that he was killed off too soon. Thankfully, Dave Filoni and the other masterminds behind Star Wars: The Clone Wars found a way to bring the character back as he’d apparently survived his encounter with Obi-Wan on Naboo. In a way, that cheapened Obi-Wan’s victory there having not actually avenged Qui-Gon as he thought he had, so it’s fitting that Obi-Wan is the one to put an end to Maul. While he may be a great villain, the fact is that we’re getting closer in the timeline to A New Hope, so he had to go. Frankly, it’s the same reason that we’re likely to see some of our heroes on the show killed off before all is said and done, and why the characters of Rogue One never made it off of Scarif.
The episode does a great job of handling the duel, but it impressively doesn’t forget it’s purpose either. Ezra feels responsible and takes it upon himself to seek out and warn Obi-Wan, which illustrates his growth of as a character taking responsibility for his actions and aiming to do something about it. More over, his brief encounter with Obi-Wan will surely impact Ezra as the renowned Jedi Master imparts some words of wisdom to the younger Jedi. It will be interesting to see if Ezra takes Obi-Wan’s words to heart or whether they fell on deaf ears.
Lastly, here are a few other noteworthy items from the episode that need mentioning.
- Stephen Stanton did a wonderful job bringing Old Ben to life as he sounds remarkably like Alec Guinness. Likewise, Sam Witwer is always great as Maul.
- With Maul out of the picture, the potential for Ezra to turn to the darkside of the Force seems less likely for the time being. It will be very interesting to see if and how that thread is picked up in the future.
- In a total fan service moment we get to see a silhouette of Luke running into the homestead after being called by Aunt Beru when Obi-Wan goes to check on him near the end of the episode.
While it’s not the best episode of the season, it’s definitely up there with some of them as the execution was outstanding.
GEEK Grade: A
Be sure to check out Rebels Recon for a sneak peek at next week’s season three finale!
The two-part season three finale of Star Wars Rebels will air next Saturday on Disney XD.
Images: Disney XD, Lucasfilm
Written by Dave Filoni & Henry Gilroy
Directed by Dave Filoni