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I've noticed that in the duel between the two Jedi vs Maul, Maul at first never seems to advance forward to attack instead defending most of the time by walking backwards until he reaches the reactor room. There he suddenly looks very aggressive and unrelenting in his attacks and kills Qui-Gon quickly and almost does the same for Obi-Wan.

Was Darth Maul's plan to separate them, via the shield, while he picked them off one at time?

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    He appears to be leading the fight in that direction and, given the Siths well documented weakness to bottomless pits (it's amazing Palpatine survived as long as he did given Star Wars Architecture) it's a shockingly poor strategic choice. – BubbleRobble Mar 5 '15 at 15:48
  • @BubbleRobble Of course, in-universe, this is the first example of that weakness. Still, bad move on his part. – KSmarts Mar 5 '15 at 17:05
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    @BubbleRobble I think the only sith that walked away from a fight near a massive pit was Vader. Does that mean that Luke's hand was actually a Sith? – CBredlow Mar 6 '15 at 2:00
  • @CBredlow Well, I'm not feeling sorry for his hand any more during that sequence- it clearly deserved to die! – Mikasa Jun 11 '15 at 19:58
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Taking the official novelisation into account, it certainly seems as if Maul's intention was to draw the Jedi into the Generator Room (the one with the multi-level catwalks). He's had plenty of time to think about where to confront them and it would seem to suit his unorthodox fighting style:

But Qui-Gon recognized that while it might seem as if the Jedi were driving him before them, it was the Sith Lord who was controlling the struggle. Wheeling and spinning, leaping and somersaulting with astonishing ease, their enemy was taking them with him, drawing them on to a place of his own choosing.

...whereas his decision to enter the Melting Room (with its laser-gridded corridor) was actually something of a mistake, driven by his desire to evade Qui Gon after he gained an advantage:

One after the other, the three antagonists passed through the small door into a corridor beyond. They were moving quickly in their frenzied chase and were into the corridor before they realized what it was. Lasers ricocheted off buffer struts, pulsing in long bursts of crisscrossing brilliance that segmented the corridor at five points.

...

Shocked into immobility by the buzz and flash of the lasers, the antagonists froze where they were, casting about for an escape, finding none. Qui-Gon took a quick measure of
their location.

7

Maul became a master of Juyo, Ataru, Jar'Kai, and Teräs Käsi, with training in Niman, and chose to wield a red-bladed saberstaff in combat.

This being said he knew the strengths and weaknesses of his opponents.

He had the Jedi under surveillance and probably had "insider" knowledge from the Emperor about the preferred styles of combat of Qui-Gon and Obi-wan.

That is why he choose to separate them and negate the advantages of Qui-Gons proffered form of combat (Ataru). In so doing Maul could control the fight, have the initiative at all times and come out as the victor in the end. Basic of divide and conquer. Also basic in threat assessment. Qui-Gon is a master, therefore a much bigger threat. That means that he has to die first. Obi-wan is a Padawan, therefore a lesser threat. If not for the arrogance of Maul he could have succeeded.

  • If you want another possible advantage, consider also how narrow the walkway is in the reactor room (can be seen in i.ytimg.com/vi/U4gcqi2ynpg/hqdefault.jpg) and how it would allow him to negate the advantage of superior numbers (the Jedi will get in each others' ways trying to attack him, and the double-bladed staff lets him simultaneously attack and defend in both directions). – FuzzyBoots Mar 5 '15 at 15:41
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If we assume Maul scouted out the reactor area before the fight (he did come from that direction), then leading them to an area he knew and they didn't would give him an advantage.

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