Maul’s Overconfidence is his Nearly Fatal Flaw in ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars,’ According to Dave Filoni
One of the funniest lines Obi-Wan Kenobi said this season had to do with his longtime nemesis, Maul: “I killed Maul once. Best to capture him; he doesn’t seem to stay dead.” While funny, it is also entirely true. Maul is not only a fighter but a survivor, lasting more than a decade without the bottom part of his body. Sure, he went mad and was only saved by his brother, Savage Opress, but again, he also made it through that. However, Maul has a flaw that aids in his losses; his intense overconfidence. [Spoiler alert: Spoilers ahead for Season 7 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars].
Maul is more experienced than Ahsoka, but his character flaw makes him lose the duel
Even though Ahsoka nearly joins Maul in an alliance to defeat Darth Sidious, she fights him instead to save Anakin from whatever Maul wants to do to him. Maul saw Anakin’s turn to the Dark Side, but Ahsoka doesn’t believe his vision. Regardless, they fight and it’s one of the best things to come out of the series.
But there is a moment after Ahsoka kicks Maul out of the Mandalorian Throne room window, where she takes several big breaths. In the most recent “Clone Wars Download” episode, supervising director and executive producer Dave Filoni explains why she takes that moment to recenter herself.
“When Ahsoka pauses and struggles at the break in the fight, it was really meant to portray the toll it took on her to compete against Maul,” Filoni said. “I knew Maul had to lose this fight, but I didn’t wanna make it easy. I wanted it to take a lot of Ahsoka to compete at his level. He is the stronger sword-fighter, but he is very overconfident.”
This checks out for when he fought Obi-Wan, too. Maul had just killed Qui-Gon Jinn, a formidable Jedi. Then he had to face Kenobi, who was only a Padawan at the time and during peacetime, no less. But Kenobi’s focus, quick-thinking, and the emotional edge did aid in nearly killing Maul. And, as Filoni stated, Maul’s cocky mindset helped Obi-Wan too.
“Part of Maul’s character is he underestimates his opponent and he fails time and again to overcome this flaw,” Filoni continued. “Still, it should be difficult for Ahsoka, and it should take all of her focus and the ability to control her fear to allow her to defeat Maul in the end.”
Maul and Ahsoka have similar life experiences, though
Ahsoka is also a Padawan like Kenobi was, but she also served as a Commander in a war for years. She was a worthy opponent and won because Maul overlooked her strengths. But despite their duel and the fact that he lost, there is still so much they have in common, too.
“I just think of it as Maul has fallen out of the Sith way of doing things, and she has fallen out of the Jedi way of doing things,” Filoni told Vanity Fair in April. “There’s a parallel there.”
Just like Maul isn’t making his plans based on Sidious or the Sith, Ahsoka is doing what she believes is right based on her own morals. She isn’t doing this as a Jedi and it’s all a part of her continued journey on her own path outside of the Jedi.
“What’s important about her character is that she can make a different choice,” Filoni said, according to Vanity Fair. “When we wrote the story about her walking away from the Order, it was about her being pulled in one direction, and then the other, and becoming frustrated. We were trying to look at young people and say, ‘There are [predetermined] ways that you can go, but you can also take all this information and make a choice for yourself.’”
In the end, Maul is a survivor; it’s what he does best
Maul did lose the duel to Ahsoka, who took his lightsaber by surprise when she lost hers. As he was captured, he was screaming out of his mind, obviously scared about the impending doom coming with Order 66.
But despite that, when Ahsoka was attacked by her clone troopers, she let him out as a diversion. Even though he had no lightsaber, he easily went through the clones on the ship and destroyed the hyperdrive system. Then he went and stole the shuttle Ahsoka and Rex were going to use to escape. He later shows up in Star Wars Rebels with yet another plan to gain some type of power or upper hand in the galaxy.
So even after all he’s been through, he’s still fighting and surviving. We do see his death eventually, but Obi-Wan’s words still ring true for most of his life. That man doesn’t stay dead.