WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7, streaming now on Disney+.
One of Kylo Rey’s biggest moments in the Star Wars franchise came when he mind-probed Poe Dameron in The Force Awakens. We’d seen the Sith and Jedi use the Force before to feel people out, and in the latter’s case, to perform mind tricks, but piercing the mind and pulling information was a pretty cool ability that placed Kylo front and center as Darth Vader’s replacement.
Now, thanks to the latest episode of The Clone Wars, “The Phantom Apprentice,” someone else gets this Kylo Ren moment and this time, it’s a full-fledged Sith in the form of Darth Maul.
We see Maul laying waste to Mandalore as his jet-packing troops battle the Republic’s 501st Legion and the warriors Bo-Katan has brought to liberate the planet. Maul’s puppet leader, Almec, has since been deposed but Maul doesn’t require the Prime Minister anymore. As it stands, Mandalore’s siege is merely a trap to lure someone else in: Anakin Skywalker. He wanted the Jedi and his master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, to come to die so he could move a step closer both their Order and Palpatine down once and for all. But instead, he meets Ahsoka Tano, which leads a curious Maul to kidnap Jesse or CT-5597 to learn more about her.
The ARC Trooper’s lucky because while his squad’s ambushed below the catacombs of Mandalore, Maul’s spares him. Maul takes pride in killing the clones, especially as he knows they’re Palpatine’s puppets, but with Jesse, he knows the older ones have much more susceptible minds. Maul simply wants to extract intel on who Ahsoka is because he can sense she has a major connection to Anakin. He believes she can lure him here but now, Maul establishes a link to her too, understanding she has a bigger role to play.
And so we see him probing Jesse the same way Kylo did Poe. He succeeded there, and as art from the movie showed, what Kylo would do to Chewbacca as well in The Rise of Skywalker. Jesse screams in agony as he’s not as strong as Rey when she resisted in TFA, and later on, in the throne room, Maul releases him back to Ahsoka. She has Rex take him to the med bay because they can tell Jesse’s mind is temporarily broken. He admits he gave up everything but as Maul said when he started shattering his mind, the clone never really stood a chance. Whether he wanted to or not, that information was always going to be Maul’s.
The way he clenched his fist and opened his palm, resulting in Jesse’s visual agony, is a great callback to The Force Awakens. Apart from being a cool Easter egg, it also shows how powerful Maul was and that even Sith apprentices were blessed with sharp gifts and tools of the trade one might have thought Palpatine — or Darth Sidious as he’s referred to here — would have kept secret. Nonetheless, Ahsoka realizes from that interrogation Maul wasn’t just any arbitrary monster, he’s a skilled one and it’s why she clears everyone out to challenge him in a duel. Little does she know he’s sussed out she is someone who’d make a great protege in the war on the Jedi and the Sith, as he’s latched on to the conflict in her. She’s a great hero but Maul now has all the pieces in his own mind over how she can be used for the Dark Side.
Of course, Ahsoka’s decision to fight him comes after she deciphers he’s no better than Sidious and that he wants to kill Anakin as he’s jealous the Chosen One will reportedly be the new Sith apprentice. It’s a lot to reconcile but, at this point, Ahsoka knows Maul has to be killed because all he is hellbent on, as seen with Jesse, is torture, destruction, and power.
Streaming on Disney+, the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars stars Matt Lanter as Anakin Skywalker, Ashley Eckstein as Ahsoka Tano, Dee Bradley Baker as Captain Rex and the clone troopers, James Arnold Taylor as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Katee Sackhoff as Bo-Katan and Sam Witwer as Maul.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars just gave Darth Maul a very cool moment that throws back to Kylo Ren's style of torture from The Force Awakens.