Framing a Lightsaber Battle: A Brief, Close Read of the Cinematography of “Twin Suns”

Three seconds. Star Wars: Rebels told us a story and gave us a twist ending in three seconds primarily through staging and cinematography.

“Twin Suns” spoilers ahead.

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Emotional Attachments: A Character Analysis of Obi-Wan and Maul

A while back there was an analysis on Maul from Tumblr user scribbleymark, about how Maul is a sympathetic villain because he genuinely cares about certain individuals. This analysis has stayed with me throughout my watch of Star Wars: Rebels and influenced my understanding of the duel between Obi-Wan and Maul in the latest episode “Twin Suns.”

Spoilers beneath the cut.

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Sympathetic Villains – Maul, Fisk, and Jul ‘Mdama

Tumblr user scribbleymark wrote a brief analysis on (“formerly Darth, now just“) Maul and how he is somehow able to be a sympathetic character despite doing incredibly horrible deeds.

The key to making Vader and Kylo Ren redeemable is that they eventually or constantly feel guilt or remorse for their wrong-doing; that they know what they’re doing is wrong on an emotional level, and suffer from it internally. This same idea is employed a lot with villains to make the audience like them. Consider all the reluctant, beloved baddies you know of, who do bad things only because there’s no other way! These types usually spend time pining over the pain and loss of life they cause.

Maul has none of those moral dilemmas or guilt. Maul doesn’t feel bad about what he does. Ever. He has no problem using people up and then discarding them, or maiming and murdering them for his own satisfaction. But at the same time, he genuinely cares about his brother. His heart is broken when his mother dies. He’s left emotionally scarred by the fact Sidious quickly replaced him and didn’t even want him back, and that bitterness tracks him for decades after.

Even at the finale of Rebels, Maul lashes out at everyone except Ezra. Why? Because he’s attached to Ezra.

Maul’s emotional attachments are what humanize him to the audience, rather than moral guilt. 

While I do like a good villain-redemption story based on morals, this caught my eye, because there have been times where villains have endeared themselves to me, while still being villains. And I’m the sort of person who likes the goody-two-shoes like Captain America and Superman. Looking back at many of these villains, who I have actually liked and not just enjoyed their monologues, I have liked them because of their emotional attachments to others.

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“These are your first steps.”: Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth in The Force Awakens

Dear stranger to whom I gave a ride home from The Force Awakens, I was delighted that you invoked the Hero’s Journey when sharing your thoughts on the new Star Wars. Part of me wishes that the space between the theater and your house was longer so that we could get farther than simply establishing that we both knew the monomyth. However, one thing that you said stuck with me: that you wished there was more of the Hero’s Journey present in Rey’s story in The Force Awakens, like there was in The Empire Strikes Back for Luke. Yet, no matter how good The Empire Strikes Back is, it only contains a portion of the monomyth which started in A New Hope. Similarly, The Force Awakens gives us the beginning of Rey’s Journey, and in fact, doubles-up on certain steps in the Departure stage of the Classical Monomyth.

[Spoilers under the cut]

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