Star Wars: The Clone Wars‘ epic fight between Ahsoka Tano and Darth Maul contains many familiar sequences. Their combat is very reminiscent of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace‘s Duel of the Fates, especially on Maul’s end. Star Wars is full of incredible lightsaber action scenes on both the big and small screen, becoming a point of anticipation for fans. The Clone Wars‘ final season was no exception, teasing one of the biggest confrontations in the show’s history – Maul vs. Ahsoka. It certainly delivered, deriving much of its choreography form one of the prequel’s most legendary duels.
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In “Part II: The Phantom Apprentice”, the combined Mandalorian and Republic forces successfully liberate Mandalore. The Son of Dathomir ruled over Mandalore with absolute tyranny, leading Bo-Katan Kryze to act against him on behalf of her people. With the bulk of his forces on the run, the last loose end to tie up was apprehending Maul himself. The former Jedi Ahsoka was tasked with this objective and narrowly managed to do so in a remarkable melee featuring a few callbacks to Maul’s first appearance in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.
Before their lightsabers ever clash, Maul prepares for battle similarly to when he faces Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn. He turns slightly to one side, sticking his arm straight out and igniting both ends of his red lightsaber. Once the fight starts, his attack patterns continue to call back to his years as Sidious’ apprentice. He spins his lightsaber with both hands before spinning himself, winding up the back end of his weapon to strike. Throughout the duel, he tends to remain light on his feet, utilizing jumping attacks and dodges. Maul is even seen to perform mid-air acrobatics, not unlike he did against the padawan and master years earlier.
There is a very good reason why the Sith Lord’s movements and combat stylings are so crisp. Though Sam Witwer still voices the character, the original physical actor, Ray Park, was brought in to do motion capture. In doing so, he called back to his first performance as Maul by implementing his strategies from that time.
In addition to the callbacks in Maul’s fighting style, the music, written by composer Kevin Kiner, is also a bit of an homage to the famous John Williams “Duel of the Fates” track from Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon’s duel against Maul in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, with similar choral notes, albeit sharper and more staccato.
Ahsoka vs. Maul will go down as one of the most integral battles in the Star Wars canon. It is one of the final lightsaber duels of the clone war era, as Order 66 is already being set up. Not only was it an entertaining watch but it brought some consistency to Maul’s character. There are shades of the Sith he once was before Kenobi cut him in half, sending his life into a tailspin. It connects the Clone Wars rendition to the version from The Phantom Menace via his style from the now legendary Duel of the Fates.
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