It began on a backwater planet with twin suns, and it was there that the decades-long duel between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Maul finally ended in Star Wars: Rebels Season 3. (I slapped a spoiler warning on this and I meant it, so don’t come crying to me if you’re not up-to-date.)
Whether you’re a prequel lover or hater, pretty much all Star Wars fans were in agreement that Darth Maul was a fantastic character and that we didn’t get enough of him. Fortunately, Dave Filoni resurrected the character in Star Wars: Clone Wars and Maul had a story arc that stretched out nearly 30 years, fleshing him out and giving us more of what we wished we had seen on the big screen. By the time Rebels Season 3 rolls around, Maul is no longer the viciously ambitious Sith warrior from The Phantom Menace. He’s been reduced to an aging trickster with a singular focus: kill the man who blames for the ruination of his life. Obi-Wan and Maul had several vicious duels to follow-up TPM’s epic encounter, but this final duel was a nod to samurai duels and Kurosawa.
The single stroke that ends Maul’s life (the biggest death of any character allowed in the animated realm) is a conscious choice to return to the characters first encounter. Maul goes for Obi-Wan with the same move that he used to kill his master, Qui-Gon Jinn, and Obi-Wan counters. That’s it. Two opponents who know each other so well at this point that the real fight took place before anyone moved an inch. And, in the end, two men whose lives turned out to be bitter shadows of what they hoped they would be ended their rivalry where they first met: in the shadow of twin suns.