By George Bate
While the new series Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian has provided us with some great behind the scenes looks at The Mandalorian and interesting conversations with the show’s creators, a recent episode of the show featured executive producer, writer, and director Dave Filoni discussing the importance of the Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Maul duel in The Phantom Menace.
Filoni spoke about the stakes of the fight and the implications it has for the entire Skywalker saga:
“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…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.”
Filoni went on to elaborate on how Qui-Gon would have been the father figure Anakin always needed, cognizant of Anakin’s want for attachment and the need to strike a balance between selfisness and selflessness, but that losing this prospective father figure has massive consequences:
“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.”
The theme of family resonates strongly through the Skywalker saga and Filoni believes that the duel in The Phantom Menace directly relates to how this theme is explored in Return of the Jedi:
“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.'”
Conversations like this add so much depth and insight into moments in Star Wars that, on the surface, may just seem like cool scenes or interesting lines. We for one could hear Filoni speak for hours and hours on the deeper meaning of Star Wars. Fingers crossed we get more of these discussions down the line in subsequent episodes of Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian.
Images courtesy of Lucasfilm and Disney+