Why the Duel Between Maul and Kenobi Made Perfect Sense
I dislike the prequels.
Maybe dislike is too nice of a word, but let’s go with it.
However, since I do not want to write the millionth article on why the prequels suck. I’ll talk about a reason people dislike the prequels that I find unfair.
That reason is character consistency.
A great example of this is shown in the newest Star Wars Rebels episode, Twin Suns, with its duel between Obi-Wan and Maul.
People were upset that it wasn’t a longer, more drawn out fight like in the prequels, Clone Wars, and even Rebels with Kannan, Ezra and Ahsoka Tano.
I would like to explain why the fight made logical sense to Obi-Wan’s character as it evolved from the prequels to the Obi-Wan of the original trilogy.
In the original trilogy, Yoda famously says “war does not make one great.” He seems to have conveniently forgotten the times he hopped around like a monkey on crack fighting lightsaber duels with Sith and droids alike.
The same is true of Obi-Wan. In A New Hope, he suggests that “there are alternatives to fighting,” when they are captured by the Death Star, while in the prequels instead of thinking of a strategy, he jumps into the middle of a droid army to fight General Grievous.
These character inconsistencies could quite easily be explained if we understood one important factor: the prequels happen before the original trilogy.
Okay, that sounded a little condescending, but let me explain.
What I mean is, we like to view the characters of the original trilogy as if they were in a bubble, believing they always were the way they appear in those films.
But what if that weren’t true? What if we view the prequels as a tale about how the Jedi lost their way and became changed by the clone wars, then this character inconsistency turns into character development.
In Attack of the Clones, Mace Windu says: “The Jedi are not an army.” But this is exactly what they become, both in the movies and the TV shows. They are even given official army ranks like General and Commander.
This is an obvious corruption of the Jedi.
One can also look at Obi-Wan’s infamous line in Revenge of the Sith “Only a Sith deals in absolutes.” Which is an absolute. Strangely, Obi-Wan does not see the hypocrisy of his words.
Simply put, after Order 66 and the extermination of the Jedi, Yoda and Obi-Wan were forced to reexamine their past actions, realizing where they went wrong, letting their aggression and warlike nature take over.
In Revenge of the Sith, Anakin yells, “From my point of view the Jedi are evil.” Obi-wan originally rejects this idea, but then in Empire Strikes Back, he tells Luke, “what I told you was true from a certain point of view.”
He let’s go of thinking in absolutes as he once did.
This is why it’s so important to Obi-Wan and Yoda that Luke doesn’t face Darth Vader in combat. Not because they’re afraid he’ll lose, but because he’ll go down the same path they went.
Finally, this gives more meaning to the Return of the Jedi. When Luke refuses to fight Vader, he is realizing that he cannot continue the violence that Obi-Wan and Yoda were a part of.
Those three force ghosts at the end represent the old Jedi, who were soldiers and resorted to violence. Luke represents the new Jedi who explore every opportunity for peace before resorting to violence.
Obi-Wan as opposed to Kanaan, Ezra and even Ahsoka Tano, has come to the realization that aggression in fighting is not the answer.
In order for the normal backflipping style of fighting to work, you need both parties to participate. When Obi-Wan plays it purely defensively, not moving an inch, it leaves the aggressive Darth Maul at a disadvantage and exposed.
This new defensive style makes sense once you realize that the backflipping General Kenobi of the Clone Wars is gone, instead what we see is the beginning of the monk from A New Hope, someone who only fights when absolutely necessary.