“Twin Suns” Close Read

The best stories encourage exploration. This iconic episode of Star Wars Rebels is no exception. So let’s take some deep dives into Star Wars lore, filmmaking techniques, and literary themes. Welcome to the “Twin Suns” Close Read.

By the Light of Twin Suns

This journey began as a blog post, travelling through the episode scene-by-scene. In 2019, I restructured and rewrote the close read. By bringing topical elements together into their own, new essays, By The Light of Twin Suns became a collection of film analysis, literary criticism, and even a touch of memoir.

If you would prefer to read it in that format, follow the above link to the PDF. If you would prefer to read the close read in its original blog format, please continue on below, and thank you for joining me on this journey!

Additional Note: In the final essay, I tell a story about my heart, likening it to a house I had walled off out of pain and fear. I’ve been on a journey re-exploring this house of mine, and one of the rooms was called “gender.”

Though the story describes a woman with she/her pronouns, I discovered that I am nonbinary transmasculine, pronouns they/he. Additionally, there are things about my journey that I now disagree with my past self on, namely the politics of the church.

It was written when I was still very much in the stage of my deconstruction where I was trying to “rescue” the white American Church from the inside, instead of recognizing it as the corrupt system it is. I still identify as a Christian, because that still describes my beliefs, and I feel that is my responsibility to acknowledge all the baggage that comes with it, including historical and current oppression.

I do not wish to alter my final essay. I do not wish to alter my own history. But since it is such a heavily gendered metaphor and a massive portion of this involves my ever changing relationship to the church, I wanted to make these distinctions clear.

Part 1 – Cold Opening

“Always remember… I am nothing.” All the themes of Maul’s life are coming together in this fateful encounter.

Part 2 – Atollon

Ezra isn’t being stubborn for arrogance’ sake. He’s responding out of an over-inflated sense of responsibility.

Part 3 – Departure and Arrival

Ezra finds himself on a Hero’s Journey, but it’s the wrong one. It’s one where Maul has carefully crafted every detail to fit his own goals.

Part 4 – Tatooine

Maul’s constructed, false Journey for Ezra continues, but Ezra’s experiences start to match someone else. Also: our first interpretation of the suns’ symbolism.

Part 5 – Fireside Chats

Our three leads have finally come together, two legends and one legend-to-be, and it’s all about purpose and relationships.

Part 6 – Overtime: Sudden Death

Kurosawa, camera cheats, and old wounds. How the briefest of lightsaber fights tells a story all on its own.

Part 7 – It All Comes Down To This

Knighthood was bestowed upon Obi-Wan after violently defeating Maul on Naboo. Now immortality is made his by following the example of the pacifist Duchess Satine Kryze.

Part 8 – Sympathy for the Devil

Maul probably wouldn’t be the first choice for a character whose arc demonstrates the power of compassion in Star Wars, but here we are.

Part 9 – Did You Ever Hear the Tragedy of Darth Maul The Lost?

The final shot of Obi-Wan and Maul is an extreme long shot, used to convey the idea of something bigger at work. Which is fitting, because Maul’s story finds redemption three decades on.

Part 10 – Suns and Moons

Ezra’s transformative empathy is key. Luke becomes the Ultimate Jedi. Maul and Obi-Wan are what they both grow beyond.

Part 11 – The Lesson Animation Taught Me
Locked, but Available At End of PDF, for Reasons Listed Above.

A collision of the kindest and the cruelest that Star Wars had to offer. It left me grasping at something inexplicable.

Additional Readings

Eye of the Beholder – In Celebration of Star Wars Fans

There was one element of Star Wars Rebels‘ “Twin Suns” that eluded interpretation. With every ridiculous theory I crafted for the episode’s name, I could not place it. Why were there so many shots of eyes that looked like the suns?

The Best Swords – Elements of Kurosawa’s ‘Sanjuro’ in Ahsoka Tano and Satine Kryze

Whenever Obi-Wan finds himself on Satine’s turf, he’s forced to play by her rules, much in the same way the chamberlain’s wife made Sanjuro play by hers. ..By the time Obi-Wan is forced to kill his old rival, his actions deeply reflect Satine’s. (Formerly posted on Team Ahsoka, but it has since been removed per my request due to the transphobic assault lawsuit around Ahsoka’s live action casting. Will be reposted here eventually.)

Good Science Fiction: An Examination Through the Lens of ODST

Science fiction is best when its story cannot be disconnected from the trappings of the genre. That’s what makes Maul’s story good science fiction.

A Story is Like a Database

Pardon the librarian metaphor…

#SWRepMatters: Mental Health

A conversation-starter regarding the representation of mental disabilities/mental illness in Star WarsContent warning for discussion of suicide