Following Darth Maul’s escape from imprisonment in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” episode “Shades of Reason” (season 5, episode 15), Maul, along with Savage Oppress and Almec then arrive to the throne room where Pre Vizsla is chatting with his fellow Death Watch members and Darth Maul shouts to Pre Vizsla: “I challenge you, one warrior to another. And only the strongest shall rule Mandalore”, to which Pre Vizsla assents: “So be it. Give him his weapon.”
They then engage in a duel, beginning with a light saber fight, Darth Maul using his single-bladed light saber and Pre Vizsla using his dark saber (although technically a dark light saber).
At various points in the fight, Vizsla shoots a blaster or two at Maul, uses a flame thrower, shoots metal-bladed circular stars, hurls a few bombs at Maul, but throughout, Maul is able to handle it all.
At one point, Vizsla then elevates, using his jet pack, although Maul is able to not only jump up to fight him, but then kicks Vizsla back, ending in him landing on his jet pack, breaking it. “Vizsla tried to use all of his technology,” as Eric Geller wrote, “but Maul outmatched him with strength and endurance. When Vizsla’s jetpack short-circuited and he lost the advantage of flight, the sinister Maul whispering effect came back, as if to thematically suggest a turning point in the fight.”
Eventually, Vizsla uses a blaster to shoot Maul’s light saber away from him.
Vizsla then charges the light saber-less Maul, only to be grabbed and have his light saber dislodged from his hand.
They then continue to fight, punching and kicking each other in hand-to-hand combat. Eventually, Maul is able to pummel Vizsla enough and get in a few good kicks to Vizsla that Vizsla is clearly exhausted. As Christian Blauvelt described the fight and this moment, “This was a knock-down drag-out brawl, full of punishing detail. Vizsla flicked his darksaber into the throne room floor to shoot up specks of marble into Maul’s eyes. He shot his mini-missiles at him to make him somersault for cover. He added a couple new scars to Maul’s tattooed face with the Mandalorian equivalent of Chinese stars. He even destroyed the Sith Lord’s lightsaber. And it still didn’t prove to be enough. Finally, it came down to clenched fists: a bare-knuckle brawl.”
Maul then uses the Force to grasp the dark saber for his first time.
While readying the dark saber, Pre Vizsla then issues his final words, perhaps coming to peace with the situation, “Like you said, only the strongest shall rule.”
Maul then quickly decapitates Vizsla and states, “I claim this sword and my rightful place as leader of Death Watch.” This fight was just too much for Vizsla and, as Star Wars Defender wrote, “The fight between Pre Vizsla and Maul proved to be one of the best we have seen so far, and despite the fact that Vizsla is a great warrior and sword fighter, he simply is no match for a Sith Lord.”
However, Bo Katan is greatly upset, and protests, “Never. No outsider will ever rule Mandalore.” Darth Maul then issues a very clear declaration to the Death Watch: “If you’ll not join me, you will all die.”
Bo-Katan to those who would join Maul: “You’re all traitors.” Despite this threat to his power, he issues a bold statement in response to to Bo-Katan: “Unfortunately for you, history will not see it that way.”
Having secured the allegiance of some of the members of Death Watch, Maul then issues his first command to his new soldiers: “Execute them!” While some of the Death Watch members who follow Bo-Katan are able to escape, Maul has clearly secured this important power and soldiers to follow.
What we learned about Darth Maul is that he:
- Is a powerful warrior, able to overcome the fiercest of the Death Watch
- he is – and this is my own interpretation – on the same level of Pre Vizsla and not as intimidating before Death Watch patched him up with more regularly-sized legs; had he still had the mechanical legs, he may have easily won the battle, as he had when he faced off against his brother
- now has the “dark saber”
- now takes over the Death Watch – well, at least a segment of it – with its soldiers now loyal to him