After 25 Years, I Finally Understand The Real Reason Darth Maul Lost In The Phantom Menace


The Acolyte has added lots of context to the Star Wars saga, including revealing to me a reason why Darth Maul was defeated in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. The Acolyte is set during the High Republic era, 100 years before the first chronological Star Wars movie. As such, it offers a lot of details that inform the story of Lucas’ prequel trilogy, from exploring the slow decline of the Jedi Order to the infiltration of the Sith in the galaxy at large.

Thanks to The Acolyte episode 5’s story, even more context has been added now that Qimir has been revealed as the Sith villain. Aside from the brutal character deaths and some of the best lightsaber fights in Star Wars, The Acolyte episode 5 impressed me with its handling of Qimir. While I will be the first to admit the predictability of the reveal, Manny Jacinto’s menacing performance and Qimir’s writing were chilling. However, one aspect of Qimir’s character that stood out was his lightsaber, which provided another reason why Maul lost the Duel of the Fates in The Phantom Menace.

The Acolyte Just Showed The Best Way To Use A “Trick” Lightsaber

Qimir’s Usage Of A Hidden Lightsaber Proves Perfect For A Sith

Undoubtedly what I was most shocked about in the latest Disney+ installment was The Acolyte episode 5’s Jedi deaths. While I, like many others, was expecting the unnamed Jedi to be killed off unceremoniously, I was not expecting the same for main characters like Yord Fandar and Jecki Lon. However, by the time of The Acolyte episode 5’s ending, I was suitably taken aback by their deaths, with Qimir snapping Yord’s neck standing out as one of the more intimately brutal murders in all of Star Wars.

That said, it was Jecki’s death that added context to the Sith, both Qimir and the tactics of the Order as a whole. In the midst of the battle between Jecki and Qimir, the latter was overpowered when his mask was shattered. As Jecki rushed in to end the fight, Qimir sneakily but swiftly split off a part of his lightsaber to create a small light-dagger in his off-hand. Blocking Jecki’s attack with his main weapon, the smaller laser sword was used to puncture the Padawan’s chest three times, marking the end for the lovable character from The Acolyte’s ensemble cast.

While Qimir’s usage of the lightsaber was incredibly harrowing for The Acolyte’s heroes, it presents the perfect way to use a trick lightsaber. Throughout Star Wars, several different types of lightsabers have been utilized, but never before have they been kept secret like this. The decision to conceal his smaller lightsaber in his hilt until the opportune moment was genius from Qimir, and enabled him to essentially win a fight in which he was being overpowered. More so than being smart tactically, it perfectly embodies the Sith, with concealment and secrecy tricking the Jedi to their death.

Darth Maul Would’ve Won If He Hadn’t Wanted To Show Off

Maul Could Have Learned From Qimir’s Trickery

Concerning how all of this ties to Darth Maul and The Phantom Menace, Qimir’s trickery is something he could have benefitted from. Maul’s appearance in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace was exciting for myraid reasons. Standing above all was the reveal of a double-bladed lightsaber for the first time in a Star Wars movie, which is responsible for many, myself included, falling in love with the franchise. Maul’s reveal in The Phantom Menace is similar to Qimir’s in that one blade ignites first, before the second. However, Maul’s reveal lacks finesse and stealth, which ultimately leads to his downfall.

If he had been wiser about his choice of weaponry, he would have had a distinct advantage over Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi which may have resulted in a different outcome…

Maul’s choice to reveal both sides of his lightsaber at the beginning of the Duel of the Fates showed his trump card too early. Maul’s ego, pride, and cockiness saw him strike a power move from the off, attempting to assert his dominance over the Jedi. That said, if he had been wiser about his choice of weaponry, he would have had a distinct advantage over Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, which may have resulted in a different outcome than being killed by the latter.

Maul could have kept his second blade a secret, simply fighting off the Jedi with one blade for the first half of the fight. Maul is undoubtedly skilled enough to do so, and the large hilt could still have added a sense of differentiation to the fight choreography by having him fight two-handed, essentially as a greatsword. Then, at the end of the fight, he could have ignited the second blade and taken the Jedi by surprise, resulting in a quick defeat for the two like Qimir did with Jecki in The Acolyte 100 years earlier.