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In The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi engage in a two-on-one battle against Darth Maul. Together, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan seem evenly matched against Darth Maul, with both sides getting in an occasional punch or kick against the other party.

Darth Maul gains the upper hand by temporarily knocking Obi-Wan out of the fight, causing him to fall several levels beneath himself and Qui-Gon. Then Darth Maul begins to fight in a more defensive manner, giving ground and luring Qui-Gon away from Obi-Wan and towards the laser-walls.

It was pretty clear that Darth Maul outclassed both of the Jedi and intended to kill them separately, presumably because it would be easier. Qui-Gon seemed happy to oblige Darth Maul's wishes and followed him to his death.

Qui-Gon already knew from his encounter with Darth Maul on Tatooine that he was not a match against him one-on-one. Why didn't Qui-Gon stand his ground and wait for Obi-Wan to rejoin him?

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19  
Becasue Lucas is a crappy storyteller. – Jakob Jan 23 '14 at 9:03
1  
Darth Maul did not easily defeat Qui-Gon. The Jedi Master gave him trouble and the expression on Maul's face clearly revealed this. – user18984 Mar 15 '15 at 9:59
    
Because he's a schmuck – Valorum Feb 28 at 16:41
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You wait four years and then a canon quote comes along... – Valorum Feb 28 at 16:56
up vote 18 down vote accepted

Qui-Gon couldn't stay back because the point of his and Obi-Wan's encounter with Darth Maul was to keep Maul occupied so he could not help defend the Viceroy. Similarly, Maul didn't leave when he had Qui-Gon trapped, because he saw his role as taking the two Jedi out of the battle.

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11  
I thought Maul couldn't leave that chamber because there was no other way out. – Bobby Apr 14 '12 at 20:26
    
@Bobby You're correct. This answer is mistaken (though technically there was another way out; down the shaft. Maul somehow survived that fall to live on as a cyborg). – TylerH May 17 at 14:05

I think it all came down to "lightsaber styles". Qui-Gon was a master of Ataru: it's supposedly a very offensive-minded and acrobatic fighting style.

Wookieepedia has a description on it:

Form IV, also called Ataru, is the most acrobatic Form, filled with numerous elaborate moves, and relies heavily upon a Jedi's ability to run, jump, and spin using the Force.

Therefore, the writers may have demonstrated Qui-Gon to be less proficient in defensive strategies, since his style of choice is an aggressive one. Also, the narrow bridges they were fighting on hindered his acrobatic Ataru style against Maul. I'm guessing that he tried doing his best by doing what he does best. It is Maul.

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1  
Pretty sure I have read it favours open or wide spaces, in the ray-shield tunnel area plus the room with the pit, it was less spacious, which worked against Qui-gons form. – Jared Nov 22 '12 at 23:38

I think it's for the story line. Qui-gon had to die so he could teach Obi-wan the secret to living as a spirit. You had to die in battle for this to occur. That is why Obi-wan let Vader strike him down without resistance. He even indicated:

"If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine".

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4  
If death in battle is a condition on being able to live as a spirit, how does this explain Yoda (who died in bed) at the and of Return of the Jedi? – bazz Jun 23 '13 at 12:21
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@bazz oda was a force ghost the entire time. He was just so freaking powerful that he was able to still use the force to impact the physical world (making luke "feel" his weight while carrying him, lifting the x-wing, etc) – acolyte Jul 17 '13 at 20:49
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@acolyte I've never heard that fan theory before. Now try to explain how artoo can suddenly fly... – Valorum Jan 28 '14 at 19:50
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@Richard he always "could". But keep in mind that R2 is, as of episode 4 a very old droid who has been through a lot of stuff. Perhaps the rockets have broken over the years and were removed at some point. – acolyte Jan 28 '14 at 23:24
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Maybe they were made of purest Retconium – Valorum Jan 29 '14 at 0:07

By the time it became apparent that Obi-Wan couldn't catch up in time, Maul and Qui-Gon were separated by just one forcefield. Had Qui-Gon not pushed forward into the vent shaft area, he, Maul AND Obi-Wan would probably have ended up trapped within a single cell of that forcefield array.

The question really is, why didn't Obi-Wan use the super-speed he and Qui-Gon displayed at the beginning of the movie when outmatched by the Droid Destroyers? He would have gotten into the shaft with time to spare, and been able to keep Maul from focusing solely on Qui-Gon.

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Here is why Obi-Wan couldn't use super-speed: youtu.be/t3dI-ghYimg – Treborcram Nov 21 '12 at 19:14
    

According to the film's official novelisation, Qui-Gon felt that Maul (who'd just fallen heavily onto his back from a height) was likely weakened and decided to press this advantage without waiting for Obi-Wan to catch up. Maul, however seems to have been made of sterner stuff.

"The force of the fall or perhaps the unexpectedness of it left him visibly stunned, and Qui-Gon leapt down after him, sensing a chance to put an end to things. But the Sith Lord struggled back to his feet quickly and raced away, taking the battle in a new direction."

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Hard to make the connection between this momentary thought and an entirely new setting in the battle field... you'd think a 60-year-old Jedi Master would have the battle presence to exercise caution when the 20-something Zabrak Sith holding his own against two of you switches to the defensive when 1-on-1 (where he would have an advantage) and lures you into a new area where you're physically cut off from your partner. Then again, this is Lucas... – TylerH May 17 at 14:13

In my humble opinion, Maul was trying to take them apart one at a time. The two on one fighting was at first a disadvantage to Maul, that's why he led them to those narrow passages. He was trying to keep them at the length of his lightsabers. And of course, that blow that knocked Obb-wan away, resulted in Qui-gon getting more aggressive. And I think he was trying to draw them apart. Those force fields were a pretty good idea there. Then inside that room, Maul had more room o use his full fighting capability without having to watch his back. You know how that ended for Qui-Gon as Maul was faster, and and even managed to get under Qui-gon's attack. Of course when Obi-wan got back into the fray, he matched Maul's speed, and he used the same pattern of attack multiple times. So Obi-wan used that to cut the lightsaber in half, making Maul have to adapt. That's just my opinion.

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Qui Gon sacrificed himself so Anakin could be trained, He knew the only way Yoda would accept this would be if it was his last wish.

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Try to recover your account, if you really are Julk. Otherwise you could just be some anonymous user trying to spam. – Jonah Apr 19 at 7:22

Qui-gon threw the fight, he knew Obi-wan was okay with living in his shadow, he knew the only way Obi-wan would become a master is if he wasn't around

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And what are you basing this on? Nothing in the movie or the novelization support this. – phantom42 Jan 23 '14 at 14:21

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