One of the biggest bombshells of Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7 was the conversation Ahsoka and Maul had before they dueled. Fans knew the epic lightsaber duel was coming, but what they didn’t know was the fact that Maul offered Ahsoka a way out. And not only that, but Ahsoka very nearly started an alliance with the former Sith Lord.
While it was a lot to take in, Dave Filoni just revealed that they, of course, were both playing to their strengths. And maybe that’s why they both lost in the end.
Maul has always been an opportunist with only his best interests in mind
In an interview with Nerdist on June 10, Filoni — Supervising Director and executive producer for The Clone Wars — shed some light on why Maul tried to appeal to Ahsoka. Did he really mean to start a true alliance with her?
“He’s a person obsessed with power and the only way that he feels secure is to amass more power,” Filoni stated. “He’ll make whatever alliance he needs to [in order] to benefit himself.”
This, of course, checks out. It’s something we see Maul do in Season 4 with Death Watch and it’s also something he does with Ezra in Star Wars Rebels. Between efforts to amass his own crime syndicate or train a new apprentice, he always tried to partner with people whenever he wanted more strength and authority.
Filoni goes on to explain more about the Dark Side, which is all about “the self and doing things to satisfy oneself, to control, to manipulate, to have greater power.” The more power and control you have, the more they can feed off of others by oppressing them.
“And so Maul plays both sides of the coin because he learned well from Sidious, which is, ‘I’m going to tell you certain things that are true, but at the end of the day, I’m going to get what I want because you’re going to be afraid of what I tell you is the truth,’” Filoni said. “And that’s what he’s hoping, that she’ll align with him for the goal of taking out Sidious. I believe that he would work with her to do that, but she can’t trust him at all for what the outcome of that would be—as she well knows.”
On the other side, Ahsoka knows she can’t trust Maul but thinks she can outdo him
That bit was obvious. Ahsoka’s side, though, was a bit more surprising. It didn’t seem like the Ahsoka we knew would even entertain the idea of siding with Maul, because he is so untrustworthy. But she’d just come back onto the Jedi’s side of things. She was desperate to defeat Sidious, probably because she could sense Anakin being in some kind of trouble because of all of it. So before she knew Maul’s vision about Anakin, she agreed to join him. But Filoni shared that she intended to double-cross him. Or if not completely do so, she at least was going to outplay him at his own game.
“She thinks on her side, what’s going to also be a fatal flaw, that, ‘I can play his game but outsmart him,’ which frankly is exactly what the Jedi thought that wound them up in the Clone Wars,” Filoni said.
Filoni did this purposely because he wanted to show that Ahsoka’s developed into this smart, cunning warrior. But “she’s far from perfect.” Ahsoka, even at this point, is one of the most developed characters in all of Star Wars, but she’s still a teen. She makes a miscalculation.
“She has a long way to go to really conquer her own fears and shortcomings, which I think makes her a much more interesting character,” Filoni said.
The Dark Side wins in the end, which doesn’t help Maul or Ahsoka
Going into Season 7, fans knew that Palpatine wins in the end, that Darth Vader’s birth, and the Galactic Empire overturning the Republic Senate. And seeing both Maul and Ahsoka’s sides really put into perspective the hold the Dark Side had on the situation.
“For me, [the Dark Side is] in you and your actions when you’re afraid, and when you do things to service yourself above other people, and when you have a lack of compassion,” Filoni explained. “It’s not something that takes hold of you necessarily and grows inside you, it’s a way of belief and action that you adopt.”
With that said, and with Palpatine clouding the Jedi, it was nearly too easy to manipulate Anakin and turn things in his favor. Regardless of what Maul wanted and what Ahsoka wanted, the Dark Side was going to win.
The Jedi way, essentially, is selflessness. And neither one of them were particularly practicing that at the moment. On one hand, Ahsoka is one of the most selfless people, even more so than most of the Jedi (hence why she left). But in this battle against Maul, there was so much going on that she really just wanted to get that upper hand. An alliance with Maul would have, theoretically, done that even if she wasn’t going to fully trust him.