In the Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace movie there is an episode, where Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Jinn encounter Darth Maul. Darth Maul came out to them alone, drew a weapon and than froze - it was a clear invite to a duel. And the Jedi, without signs of doubt, immediately started hacking at him as mad TOGETHER.

Well, I would not be surprised if two Sith had attacked a lone Jedi, because they are bad guys. But seeing such questionable behaviour from Jedi is strange for me, because it seems to contradict the general knightly and moral attitude of Jedi.

Why did Obi Wan and Qui-Gon Jinn do this? How does attacking with superior numbers in a duel relate to the Jedi code?

  • 8
    Jedi kill. As long as they do it without emotion, it's perfectly alright to cheat, use superior numbers etc. The Jedi just follow the will of the Force (or they say they do at least - they are a fairly hypocritic bunch after all - it's a kind of For the Greater Good thing, I guess).
    – BMWurm
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 8:06
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    I didn't downvote it, but if you want to improve the question I'd reword it just ask neutrally why the two Jedi fought Maul and if it is within the Jedi Code to do so. What made the Sith the antagonists wasn't that they didn't fight fair, it was how they perceived and used the Force, and their motivations for doing so, cruelty, power, lust, greed, anger et cetera
    – Phyneas
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 9:05
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    The Jedi were foolish and disregarded that jedi are bound by a similar rule to Conservation of Ninjutsu. A lone jedi is a force that can shape the destinies of planets. A crowd become simple mooks to be caught by stray blaster fire. The effectiveness of a group of jedi is inversely proportional to the number of jedi in the room at the time.
    – Murphy
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 14:49
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    How is one-on-one automatically "fair"? What if Maul is consistently 1.5 times as good in a fight as either Kenobi or Jinn alone? Should Maul have asked one of the Jedi to hop on one leg or something?
    – Muqo
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 3:28
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    Clearly, 2-1 was a fair fight, considering the outcome of the whole thing. Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 19:46

5 Answers 5


Jedi are good guys, but that doesn't mean they will choose to give an advantage to their enemies.

As Obi-Wan Kenobi tells us in ANH, the Jedi are "guardians of peace and justice" in the Republic. If Darth Maul threatens peace and justice (as he clearly does), the duty of the Jedi is to take him down in the most efficient fashion possible.

The Jedi are not going to go after Maul one at a time in the name of fair play, any more than the police will do so when confronting a suspected criminal.

For example, consider the moment in Episode II when Mace Windu tells Dooku, "This party's over." Before doing so, he sneaks up behind Jango Fett and suddenly holds a lightsaber to his throat. That does not give Jango a sporting chance, but it resolves the situation with minimum risk and force (or so Mace thinks).

Taking another example from Episode II, Obi-Wan and Anakin briefly attack Count Dooku together. Obi-Wan clearly has no intention of giving Dooku the "fair chance" of a one-on-one duel:

OBI-WAN (to ANAKIN): I can't take Dooku alone! I need you! If we catch him, we can end this war right now! We have a job to do!

The priority of the Jedi is to preserve peace, not to treat a deadly battle like some sort of game where they are obliged to be fair to their opponents.

  • If it was a police operation, they had to offer him to surrender and explain their agenda, like "surrender in the name of Peace and Justice or be destroyed!". Windu did that, for example, when he came to Palpatine to arrest him.
    – Gill Bates
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 21:52
  • "Why didn't they talk to Darth Maul?" is a good question in its own right, and addressed here. The fact remains that, having decided to fight Maul, the Jedi were not necessarily obliged to fight him fairly. (See the edit to my answer concerning Mace Windu.) Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 8:15
  • In "the party is over" episode, Windu had taken a combatant as a hostage to get an advantage in negotiations, while, behind enemy lines, conducting part of the operation to rescue his friends, that already had been captured by the enemy. And he lately had a fair duel with Jango and killed him in it.
    – Gill Bates
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 7:53
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    @GillBates: You seem to be convinced that "fighting fair one-on-one duels" is part of the Jedi code, and for some reason takes priority over things like "preserving peace and justice". But as all the answers so far are telling you, the films really don't support this view. Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 9:01
  • Edit: Added another example. In Ep2, Obi-Wan makes it very clear that fair play is not his priority. Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 9:49

See this post, they were holding Maul off. In addition, Qui-gon already knew that he needed help with Maul as he had faced him and had a hard time with him earlier in the movie. Plus, I don't know of anything in the Jedi Code/history that suggests it is unfair to attack 2-on-1, though when dueling they are generally supposed to do as little harm as possible to win, see here. I would also point out that ever since the Rule of Two, the Jedi have had superior numbers when facing the Sith and there are numerous examples of multiple Jedi taking on one Sith, for instance.


Darth Maul attacked them, not the other way around.

He sought them out, he drew first. The Jedi are under no obligation to step away from a fight someone else starts, regardless of whether they deem it fair.

If you draw a weapon, you are basically agreeing to whatever happens next. If you pick a fight with two guys, you are agreeing to fight them both. Darth Maul set the terms, Obi Wan and Qui-Gon just accepted them.

See also the fight between Mace Windu and Palpatine. Just because one side has more guys doesn't mean that side has an advantage, unfair or otherwise:

  • Maul ignited his lightsaber first, but it's not entirely clear who actually struck first (they seem to jump at each other). In any case, who struck first may be a distinction the OP doesn't care about -- he may only be concerned with Jedi "double teaming" whether the Jedi or Sith struck first, and whether the Jedi or Sith won the fight.
    – Null
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 18:14
  • @Null - If you draw a weapon, you are basically agreeing to whatever happens next. If you pick a fight with two guys, you are agreeing to fight them both. That's my point. Darth Maul set the terms, Obi Wan and Qui-Gon just accepted them.
    – Wad Cheber
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 18:17
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    Now you're assuming the Jedi have common sense. :)
    – Null
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 18:30
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    @Wad Cheber - Generally yes, but it depends; as an example, in TCW Anakin would often send Ahsoka off on her own, like when Ahsoka and Barris worked together during the Second Battle of Geonosis, though he would chastise her when she ran off without his permission. But in this case there is no reason for Qui-gon to send Obi-wan off, as in the answers above, especially as he chose not to.
    – Phyneas
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 0:15
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    @GillBates: No, that's the whole point. A duel has agreed-upon rules: Two gentlemen arrange to meet at dawn, and settle a matter of honour by trying to kill each other with swords/pistols/whatever. The Jedi have no such arrangement with Darth Maul. Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 8:22

Aside from what other posts and comments have stated — that Darth Maul initiated the challenge — he also did wield a double-bladed lightsaber. Its actual efficiency (compared to a single-bladed one) aside, using it probably gave the two Jedi enough reason to both take on Darth Maul.

  • Welcome to SFFSE! Do you have any sources to support your argument? Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 4:56

They had no way of knowing the skill of their attacker and were more concerned with winning then giving him a fair fight.

But you also seem to be forgetting two very important details

  1. Maul obviously wanted to fight both of them given the fact that he didn't try and figure out a way to separate the two of them from each other until the end of the fight.

  2. Maul ignited his SABERSTAFF ,or double bladed lightsaber, before the fight started so they knew that they would probably need two people.

If anything 2-1 was more fair for Maul seeing as when he started fighting Qui-Gon 1-1 he was constricted by the size of his own weapon.

And I Know that this wasn't technically in the question but I'll address it anyway

The reason we almost always see a two on one fight between Jedi and Sith is because most Jedi aren't able to hold of a Sith Lord on their own I mean Sidious killed Three members of the Jedi council (The most powerful of the Jedi) without breaking a sweat. And I personally don't think Sidious was all that great of a Sith. But that is my own personal opinion.

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