WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7, streaming now on Disney+
While many criticized 1999’s Star Wars: The Phantom Menace for its flaws, one redeeming aspect is the battle known as the “Duel of the Fates,” with John Williams’s score bringing to life the brawl between Darth Maul (Ray Park), Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) at the end of the film.
Plot wise, it’d put Obi-Wan on the path to becoming Anakin Skywalker’s mentor while also proving to the Jedi that the Sith were back. As epic as that was, The Clone Wars delivers a new take on that fight; however, this one’s better as Maul’s done much more justice in the battle with Ahsoka Tano in “The Phantom Apprentice.” Looking at the feature released by Disney and Lucasfilm, the extensive work being put in by Park as he does mo-cap alongside Lauren Mary Kim as Ahsoka is impressive. She’s every bit as talented as Park, with each fighter pushing the other to the limit, and this creates a powerful dynamic. The result is one of the franchise’s most memorable moments and exhilarating combat sequences
This tops the Phantom Menace because not only does the mo-cap allow a much more fluid fight and have Maul cutting loose even more, the CGI polish levels up the fight to a big spectacle. Fans always wanted to see Maul unleashed, and while Rebels had him in brilliant fights against Palpatine, the one fans wanted with an older Obi-Wan on Tatooine ended too quickly. Audiences wanted a Maul who could prove he was a Sith that could transition from a protege to master someday, and this is what the Ahsoka battle brings to the table. The aesthetic is way better as she throws him out a Mandalore window, and they then go leap from building to building in an exciting chase.
The way they use the Force telekinesis and how they splice in chilling dialogue makes this fight much more intimidating and impactful. Viewers feel like the stakes are higher because they know Maul wants to kill Anakin and let the Jedi and Sith tear each other apart. Meanwhile, Ahsoka wants to save her teacher by killing this horseman of war.
They know the cost of losing, and it’s more personal than the original duel, which lacked dialogue and got grim when Maul killed Qui-Gon. This new fight levels up and has more character to it as they fight for the soul of the galaxy, not just to send word back to the council like George Lucas had in 1999.
Furthermore, fans get the duo balancing on beams hundreds of feet in the air, making a more perilous landscape as opposed to fighting on a wide bridge with energy barriers giving the brawlers breathers in between. Here, the momentum is more relentless as Maul and Ahsoka show amazing athletic ability, fighting with their environment so they don’t fall to their death as if it’s a Mortal Kombat stage.
What makes this even more special is the ending, where Ahsoka takes Maul out and catches him mid-air with the Force before he can escape in a transport or try to commit suicide. She holds him there and achieves what Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, who were more advanced than her, couldn’t do.
Defeating Maul once more shows she’s an underrated Jedi and definitely a hero who deserves much more praise. She takes down an elite assassin by herself while keeping her emotions in check, and in the process, both fighters come off looking like true powerhouses.
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. A new episode arrives each Friday.
KEEP READING: Disney+ Gets a Star Wars Makeover for May the 4th
Star Wars: The Clone Wars just gave fans a Duel of the Fates that actually tops the Darth Maul and Jedi fight from 1999's The Phantom Menace.