Star Wars Rebels creator Dave Filoni has discussed how Obi-Wan could be the only character to kill Darth Maul. The show began as an episodic kids cartoon about a small rag-tag rebel crew who were helping those being crushed by the heel of the Empire. Originally set five years before the events of A New Hope, every season it inches closer to the Battle of Yavin.
Indeed, over the past three years it has become pretty clear that this show is more important to the Star Wars mythos than anyone first suspected. Showrunner and co-creator Dave Filoni has used Rebels as a pseudo-sequel to Star Wars: The Clone Wars and has been filling the gaps in about how the Rebellion came together. Maul had been revealed to have survived the events of The Phantom Menace in the earlier show, returning in Rebels Season 2 before making a fateful last appearance this year.
During Star Wars Celebration Orlando, Filoni explained why Maul’s final battle had to be with Obi-Wan. Here’s what he said during the Star Wars Rebels panel:
It was something we’d discussed ever since Maul came back. It’s not just about bringing Maul back but you also look at how it affects the character of Obi-Wan. And Obi-Wan had always been seen as this Jedi that took out this Sith Lord before the Clone Wars – it was kind of a validating thing for him and in a way when we were on the Clone Wars we were like it’s kind of sad because he loses that mantle and then we started to go down the list of what’s going to happen to Maul at the end and then you’re like ‘I don’t know if I feel right about anybody else taking him out except Obi-Wan.’ So what became clear was that it’s a character arc for Maul and a character arc for Obi-Wan.
Filoni went on to explain how Obi-Wan’s confrontation with Maul illustrates how he succeeds where Anakin failed; where Anakin allowed his passions and selfishness overcome him, Obi-Wan has become selfless because he understands the greater power of giving selflessly. The whole arc has vastly changed Maul’s place in the canon, with Rebels making him much more important that just a Sith Apprentice.
While he ultimately had a thematically strong recurring storyline in Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels, that almost didn’t happen. The original plan for the character was for him to appear in the Season 2 finale before ultimately losing his life at the hands of Darth Vader. That’s not the only other near-flirtation with death for Maul either; in an old comic he fought Kenobi and was beaten by Owen Lars.
Having him face off against Obi-Wan one final time was a far more dramatic exit for the character and one that really resonated with the show’s audience. With only a single season left to air and a several major plot threads that need to be wrapped up, it seems the battle with Maul was just the appetizer for the main course.
Star Wars Rebels season 4 premieres this fall on Disney XD.