Warning: this post contains spoilers for the Star Wars Rebels episode, “Twin Suns”. Be sure to watch the show before proceeding.
Tonight’s episode of Star Wars Rebels is a game changer. It’s a character driven piece, primarily centered around Maul and his everlasting obsession with Obi-Wan Kenobi. It’s hard not to think of Yoda stating, “Much to learn, you still have” while experiencing this episode, and it is, most certainly, an experience. So much of “Twin Suns” is unexpected but in the best way possible. It’s as beautiful as it is poignant; an episode about new beginnings, prophecies, and closure. While this column will not be a review or overt analysis (I leave that to Aaron Harris’ Rebels Reactions and Craig Dickinson’s Rebels Reconnaissance), it will focus on key moments from each episode of Star Wars Rebels that are ripe for discussion.
Maul’s White Whale Complex
It’s fair to say that Maul (don’t call me Darth) is obsessed with Obi-Wan Kenobi. It is also reasonable to mention that, at some point, we need closure on this, almost as desperately as Maul himself. Ever since his shocking resurrection in Clone Wars, Maul has done everything in his power to eradicate Kenobi from the galaxy. His obsession has taken his toll on his mind, body, and psyche. Sam Witwer’s staggering talents demonstrate this with frightening power and unparalleled rage as he roars “KENOBI!!!” in the first few moments of the episode. The force of nature that is Maul and the voice acting of Witwer have always been the perfect blend. This moment alone, however, is a master class in voice acting unto itself.
Ezra and Chopper
The rebellious duo teams up to head to Tatooine, as Ezra believes Obi-Wan Kenobi is in danger. Despite his best intentions, Ezra can not seem to get out of his own way. He mirrors Luke’s behavior in The Empire Strikes Back, which is engaging. However, it’s Ezra and Chopper’s trek across the sandy planet that is an absolute work of art. The myriad nods to A New Hope are wonderful, calculated, and beautiful (I feel like we got a bit of a “Sunny Day in the Void” here, too), particularly with a key exchange between the two companions. There’s a lot there. Gilroy and Filoni at their finest.
We love Obi-Wan Kenobi here at Coffee With Kenobi, obviously. His character is handled with admiration and reverence in “Twin Suns”, especially with the combined talents of James Arnold Taylor and Stephen Stanton. Both incarnations of the character are given separate identities in the credits, which highlights the differences between Obi-Wan and Ben in a way I had not thought about.
It’s not a cosmetic, superficial difference either: Ben Kenobi really is a different person from Obi-Wan Kenobi, and the way “Twin Suns” presents it has completely changed my line of thinking regarding the Jedi Master. I actually like Kenobi even more after seeing this. And, it must be said: Stephen Stanton’s Ben Kenobi is so good that it’s uncanny. He channels the late Sir Alec Guinness with paradoxical grace and power. Every moment Ben Kenobi appears in this episode is my favorite moment of the character. It’s that compelling.
The entire episode is among the most beautifully produced in Star Wars animation. Actually, everything we love about this series is showcased here. The movement of Ben’s cloak and his gait are mesmerizing, as is the lighting throughout the piece. The presentation of John Williams’ score is also inspired “Twin Suns” is art in its highest form.
The Chosen One and Pathos
The final showdown between Maul and Ben Kenobi will, no doubt, be dissected, debated, and discussed for years to come (it could easily be discussed on an entire podcast). And, it absolutely should. For the record, I thought it was perfect and expertly choreographed. I’ve always appreciated Maul, but he’s never been my favorite. This scene, however, elicited a pathos I did not expect. The characterization of these two titans in “Twin Suns” is about as good as it gets.
The discussion of the chosen one (and a young Luke darting across the Lars homestead-BEAUTIFUL) has reverberated in my mind ever since I saw “Twin Suns”. For me, it changes everything about The Phantom Menace and Return of the Jedi. I can’t stop thinking about it. Nor can I stop thinking about this episode. It’s a masterpiece.