Ahsoka and Darth Maul’s duel for the planet Mandalore on last week’s jaw-dropping Clone Wars wasn’t just perhaps the best ever lightsaber duel on the entire show: it might just be the best ever lightsaber duel in Star Wars, full stop. This behind-the-scenes look offers plenty of evidence as to why because it’s clear Lucasfilm pulled out all the stops for it.
Legendary stuntman Ray Park physically embodied the live-action versions of Maul in The Phantom Menace and for his brief appearance in Solo: A Star Wars Story, although he was dubbed over by Peter Serafinowicz and Clone Wars actor Sam Witwer, respectively. This new featurette taking a deep-dive into what went into the fight is almost as mindblowing as the episode itself because you get to see Park step into the now-metallic shoes of the Dark Side acolyte once more.
Turns out the dude can still twirl a stick around like a double-bladed lightsaber real good.
It’s an absolute delight to see Park take on mocap duties to help inform Maul’s abilities once more—matched up against the equally-admirable-to-watch stunt artist Lauren Mary Kim, who provided mocap for Ahsoka’s balletic, two-weapon fighting style. But as the featurette highlights, mocap wasn’t the only thing that went into making this fight the beautiful spectacle it was: it truly was an amalgam of Kim and Park’s stuntwork, enhanced by Clone Wars animation team to include the Force-driven flips and leaps and stylization that has become the hallmark of the show’s aesthetic, matched by two incredible performances in Sam Witwer and Ashley Eckstein.
This particular dual of the fates may be made interesting by its poetic timing within the minutiae of Clone Wars’ descent into the events of Revenge of the Sith. But it is made truly special by the incredible teamwork that went into just knocking this thing right out of the park.