Next week is Star Wars Rebels' season 2 finale and it's shaping up to be a doozy of an episode. All season long the animated series has been building to this dramatic conclusion, one where Ahsoka will come face to face with her old master and Ezra must resist the temptation of dark side. And those elements alone would make for a great finale, but Rebels is upping the ante.
When Kanan, Ezra, and Ahsoka travel to the planet Malachor to investigate a Sith temple in the hope it holds some key to defeating Darth Vader and the Inquisitors, someone else is already there -- Darth Maul. In the above clip, Maul (in disguise) joins Ezra as they traverse the temple, all the while speaking to Ezra of his hate for the Iquisitors and the Sith. Clearly, Maul still carries a grudge against the Emperor for casting him aside, and though it'd be a real stretch to call Maul a good guy, he and our heroes do have a common enemy in the Empire. Still, forming any alliance with Maul is totally inadvisable, but Ezra doesn't know Maul like we do.
The season 2 trailer for Star Wars Rebels hinted at Ezra's growing awareness of the dark side, but he has yet learn just how powerful it can be. In an interview with EW, exec producer Dave Filoni teases that Maul will be something of a mentor to Ezra in the ways of the dark side, which isn't to suggest he'll be trying to turn Ezra, but Maul will offer a different point of view of The Force:
"Maul could be a fantastic foil for Ezra, a counterpointed dark-side mentor. He’s not necessarily the dark-side Emperor Sith ... He’s this person who has been on the dark-side, that has been thrown out repeatedly from the Emperor’s hierarchy but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a lot of the same tendencies as the Emperor and have the same desire for power. It became a really interesting story to tell, and a challenge, because at face value, Maul isn’t a guy you look at and go, ‘I trust you, devil-looking guy with horns on your head.’ So we had to paint an interesting picture here to get this kid to perhaps believe in him."
That Maul has such a distinct and devilish appearance is probably why he's in disguise during the above clip, but he won't be under that hood the whole episode. EW also shared a couple of images of a more recognizable Maul. Take a look, below:
Bringing back Darth Maul is sure to delight fans who loved when Filoni did the same thing during The Clone Wars, but on Rebels they're taking it even one step further, as Filoni explains:
"The genesis of this idea is actually kind of an interesting one. I had pointed out several times in story meetings that we have an opportunity – if we wanted to – to actually have Darth Vader fight Darth Maul. That was something that [co-producer] Simon Kinberg and I were like, ‘Oooh…’ Then there was the opponent in the story meetings who would say, ‘Well, that’s fan service,’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah – exactly.’ [Laughs] I don’t see the problem with that, but you know we were very careful that we don’t just do things because they’re cool. We want to do things that are story driven."
Now, before we all jump to the conclusion that this finale features Vader and Maul in a Battle of the Darths, Filoni cautions that he doesn't "want to necessarily promise something that doesn’t happen," but he adds that "the Vader/Maul thing is interesting at a fandom level." And he's absolutely right, what fan hasn't thought about pitting the two Sith lords against each other?
Tune in for the Star Wars Rebels season 2 one hour finale, ‘Twilight of the Apprentice’ next Wednesday @9:00pm on Disney XD and find out if these two dark side heavy weights will go toe to toe!