[SPOILERS for those not caught up on Star Wars Rebels ahead.]
Marketing ahead of the Star Wars Rebels season 3 premiere, 'Steps Into Shadow', positioned
Darth Maul (voiced by Sam Witwer) and Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) as the central threats this season and so far, that has proven to be accurate. Where Thrawn is a master strategist who employs a meticulous and calculated approach to dealing with the Rebellion against the Galactic Empire, Maul is more of a live-wire who now serves only himself and has no clear purpose for his not-so-noble machinations beyond that. It's for related reasons that Maul was presumably so quick to try and make Ezra (Taylor Grey) his apprentice upon their first encounter in the Rebels season 2 finale, as part of a somewhat desperate attempt to provide himself with a renewed purpose for existing.
Ezra has now done just that for Maul - though not in a way that either of them could have predicted. The Rebels season 3 episode 'The Holocrons of Fate' featured Maul and Ezra combining the Jedi and Sith holocrons, causing Maul to experience a vision of twin suns and... someone, whom Maul was both shocked and delighted to discover is still alive. Although Maul took off thereafter without explaining to the show's heroes what he had seen, most fans have reasonably concluded that the "him" that Maul saw was his old nemesis, Obi-Wan Kenobi: now watching over young Luke Skywalker as he grows up, under the cover of Tatooine's twin suns.
It's not clear if this means Obi-Wan Kenobi will be showing up on Star Wars Rebels this season, but it's certainly a much stronger possibility now. Maul himself will be returning to the fold in an upcoming season 3 episode - and Disney XD has released a new promo for Rebels season 3 (see above), further teasing that the former Sith Lord will be back, sooner than later.
This new Rebels promo specifically highlights the differences in philosophies between Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.) and Maul - in terms of their approaches to The Force - as is illustrated by both their actual words and respective lightsabers. While it would be a stretch to say that Maul is as much Ezra's teacher now as Kanan is, Rebels season 3 has now firmly established that Ezra's struggle against the pull of the Dark Side (and how, on some level, Ezra finds Maul's outlook more enticing than Kanan's) is going to be central to his character arc throughout the episodes that lie ahead.
As Rebels moves closer towards the events of both Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope and this December's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in the Star Wars timeline, the questions surrounding Ezra, Kanan and Maul's ultimate destinies will weigh heavier on the animated TV show. Rebels co-creator and showrunner Dave Filoni has said that the TV show could plausibly continue on past the events of both Rogue One and A New Hope, but that doesn't mean that there won't be any major character deaths and/or changes in alignment if/when that happens. Ezra's choices and the influence that Maul has on him, will be all the more intriguing to watch play out over this season, for related reasons.
Star Wars Rebels continues on Saturday, November 5th with 'Imperial Supercommandos' at 8:30PM on Disney XD.
Source: Disney XD