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Dave Filoni beautifully explains why Duel of the Fates is Star Wars’ most important scene

May 10th, 2020 by Marc Comments

While Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was met with differing opinions, there’s one thing that most, if not all, fans agree on and that’s just how stunning the final battle between Darth Maul (Ray Park), Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Qui-Gon Jinn is.

The battle was the first time we have ever really seen how Jedi and Sith at their peak fought – full of quick actions, deadly manoeuvres and topped off with fancy back flips and acrobatics.

It’s fast and furious and it shows just how powerful the Force is when mastered.

But, not only is it beautiful and exciting to watch, but it’s the lynchpin that determines the outcome of the entire Skywalker saga and it perfectly encapsulates why John Williams’ gorgeous score is entitled Duel of the Fates.

Clone Wars and Rebels showrunner – and the man who has rightfully earned his seat at the Star Wars table at Lcuasfilm/Disney more than most – Dave Filoni, on the new Disney+ series Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian which chronicles the creation of  the first live-action Star War series, The Mandalorian, discusses the battle from episode I and describes why it one of, if not the, most important scenes in the whole saga.

And he does so in a way that few, if any, could describe more beautifully:

“In Phantom Menace, you’re watching these two Jedi in their prime fight this evil villain, Maul couldn’t be more obviously the villain. He’s designed to look evil, and he is evil, and he expresses that from his face, all the way out to the type of lightsaber he fights with. What’s at stake is really how Anakin is going to turn out.

“Because Qui-Gon is different than the rest of the Jedi, and you get that in the movie. Qui-Gon is fighting because he knows he’s the father that Anakin needs, because Qui-Gon hasn’t given up on the fact that the Jedi are supposed to actually care, and love, and that that’s not a bad thing.

“The rest of the Jedi are so detached, and they’ve become so political, that they’ve really lost their way. Yoda starts to see that in the second film, but Qui-Gon is ahead of them all and that’s why he’s not part of the council.

“So he’s fighting for Anakin, and that’s why it’s the Duel of the Fates. It’s the fate of this child. And depending on how this fight goes, his life is going to be dramatically different. So Qui-Gon loses, of course, so the father figure [is gone]. Because he knew what it meant to take this kid away from his mother when he had an attachment, and he’s left with Obi-Wan.

“Obi-Wan trains Anakin, at first, out of a promise he makes to Qui-Gon, not because he cares about him. He’s a brother to Anakin, eventually, but he’s not a father figure. That’s a failing for Anakin. He doesn’t have the family that he needs. He loses his mother in the next film. He fails the promise to his mother, ‘I will come back and save you.’

“So he’s left completely vulnerable, and Star Wars is ultimately about family.

“So that moment in that movie, that I think a lot of people diminish into just this cool lightsaber fight, is everything that the entire three films of the prequels hangs on. It’s that one particular fight. And Maul serves his purpose, and at that point died — before George made me bring him back. But he died, and that’s showing you, again, how the Emperor is completely self-serving. He’s just a tool. He’s using people and now he’s going to use this child. That follows all the way through to the line, which terrified me as a kid, when the Emperor tells Luke, ‘You, like your father, are now mine.

“I believe Luke would turn to the Dark Side in Return of the Jedi. I believe that was on the table, I believe he would kill the Emperor. The only thing that’s going to save him is not his connection to the Force, it’s not the powers he’s learned, it’s not all these things that are an advantage to him. That’s gotten him to the table.

“But what saves Luke is his ability to look at all that, and look at his father, and say, ‘No. I’m going to throw away this weapon. I’m not going to do that. I’m going to let that go and be selfless.’ And he says, ‘I am a Jedi like my father before me.’ But what he’s really saying, and why I connect so powerfully to him, is ‘I love my father and there is nothing you can do that’s going to change that. The Emperor can’t understand that connection. ‘Why wouldn’t you take someone offering you the power of the galaxy? Why won’t you take this?’ And Anakin, then in that moment, has to decide to be the father that he’s never had. He has to give up all of the power in the galaxy and save his son.

“That’s the selfless act that he does in return for his son and that’s what saves him. So the son saves the father and the father saves the son and it works out perfectly. And I draw that line all the way from Phantom Menace to Return of the Jedi. That’s the story of Star Wars.”

Phew.

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to watch the Star Wars saga in the same way again.

What do you all think? Let me know…

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Marc is a self-confessed nerd. Ever since seeing Star Wars for the first time around 1979 he’s been an unapologetic fan of the Wars and still believes, with Clone Wars and now Underworld, we are yet to see the best Star Wars. He’s a dad of two who now doesn’t have the time (or money) to collect the amount of toys, comics, movies and books he once did, much to the relief of his long-suffering wife. In the real world he’s a graphic designer. He started Following the Nerd because he was tired of searching a million sites every day for all the best news that he loves and decided to create one place where you can go to get the whole lot. Secretly he longs to be sitting in the cockpit of his YT-1300 Corellian Transport ship with his co-pilot Chewie, roaming the universe, waiting for his next big adventure, but feels just at home watching cartoons with his kids….