Lightsaber duels are what sets apart the Star Wars franchise from everything else that’s out there. Dazzling, elegant, and always a display of athleticism and finesse, these duels are usually a highlight of any Star Wars film and series.
What sets the prequel era duels apart is the emotional weight they carried. Many of these duels had life-changing consequences for the characters involved, and their effects were often of galactic proportions.
Here are three of the best and most emotional duels of the prequel era:
3. Anakin v. Obi-Wan (Episode III: Revenge of the Sith)
This is the one a majority of fans rank as the greatest Star Wars duel ever, whether in live-action or animation. The emotional weight it carries will probably never be matched by another duel.
After becoming Darth Sidious’s apprentice and slaughtering younglings at the Jedi Temple, Anakin faces off against his former master and best friend, Obi-Wan Kenobi, on Mustafar. Amidst the fiery infernos, the two battle each other in a fast-paced, intense, and well-choreographed duel that is one for the ages.
Their styles are almost identical and it seems nearly impossible that either of them can lose, until of course, Anakin’s hubris gets the better of him, along with the high ground! The end result is tragic for both of them. Anakin loses all his limbs, and Obi-Wan loses his brother and best friend to the dark side.
2. Duel of the Fates (Episode I- The Phantom Menace)
The title of the music John Williams composed for this duel quite literally describes its significance. This duel happened near the end of Episode I between Darth Maul and Qui Gon Jinn, along with his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi. Darth Maul bests Qui Gon in the duel using his iconic double-bladed lightsaber. Qui Gon’s death had a rippling effect on the galaxy as a whole, since his passing meant the responsibility of training Anakin would now fall onto his young and inexperienced Padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi.
The loss weighed heavily on both Kenobi and Anakin, and people have always wondered if Anakin’s fate would have been different if Qui Gon had lived. Intricately choreographed, the head-to-head match-up between Maul and an angry Obi-Wan might even be better than every duel in Star Wars canon.
1. Ahsoka v. Maul (The Clone Wars Season 7)
This duel happens near the end of the entire series and it is a powerful moment considering what’s happening in the rest of the galaxy at the time. Maul and Ahsoka’s confrontation takes place at the Sundari palace on Mandalore.
Maul tries to explain to Ahsoka that Sidious plans on making Anakin his next apprentice, but Ahsoka is clearly in denial. Maul wants Ahsoka to join him so they can defeat Sidious together, but Ahsoka refuses.
They end up dueling both inside and outside the palace, which leads to Maul eventually being captured. The dramatic tension is high in this one!
Which of these Star Wars prequel-era duels is your favorite?