Mace Windu's Lightsaber Duels Analysis Thread

No Caption Provided

Many of our favorite Korun Jedi's duels are mired with circumstance, and as such, some find it difficult to find a placement for Mace Windu, or interpret his duels. In this blog, I seek to explore five of Mace Windu's most famous lightsaber duels, and offer my interpretation of them. So without further ado, please enjoy this blog on the various lightsaber duels Mace Windu has taken part in.

Mace Windu vs Sora Bulq

Gallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4

I've seen many argue that this fight suggests that Mace Windu and Sora Bulq are close as Force wielders or duelists.

First of all, Mace was emotionally unbalanced by Bulq's betrayal, which had him highly distressed.

Mace was highly distressed that his mission involved fighting his old friend and colleague Sora Bulq.

The Official Star Wars Fact File

Secondly, Windu at this point in time had not yet reached his peak as a duelist, as this duel took place before his mission to Haruun Kal, where he learned how to truly wield his own inner darkness:

There was a time when Mace Windu had feared the power of the dark; there was a time when he had feared the darkness in himself. But the Clone Wars had given him a gift of understanding: on a world called Haruun Kal, he had faced his darkness and had learned that the power of darkness is not to be feared.

Revenge of the Sith

With this in mind, the emotional unbalancing demonstrated in the first quote would've compounded the degree to which Windu could draw upon Vaapad, as was demonstrated to an excessive degree in his fight with Depa Billaba in Shatterpoint when he was similarly emotionally unbalanced, though to a greater degree, as I will elaborate on in depth later on in this blog. So suffice it to say between emotional imbalance and being pre-prime, Mace Windu was not at his peak in this fight.

Thirdly, many people point to the length of Windu's duel with Bulq as an indication that they were evenly matched, however Mace's duel with Sora Bulq lasted at the very most the same amount of time as Asajj Ventress's 1v1 with K'kruhk which was happening concurrently to Mace's duel with Bulq, and Ventress, and Ventress had already previously demonstrated that she was far ahead of K'kruhk when she matched and overpowered K'kruhk alongside two other Jedi pretty solidly:

No Caption Provided

And people also suggest there is a telekinetic parity between Sora Bulq and Mace Windu because Sora Bulq managed to land a telekinetic blow on Mace, however a close examination of the scan reveals that Mace was not on solid footing at the time, as he seems to be leaping backwards with at least one of his feet blatantly not touching the ground.

No Caption Provided

With Mace not on solid footing, most of his weight already backwards, his momentum backwards as he seems to be leaping backwards, and the fact that Sora Bulq's push blasting away the surface of the ground would remove any possibility of physical contact between Mace's feet and the ground, Mace was in a very bad position to defend against such a blow.

In any case, sometimes in duels, less powerful characters have gotten lucky and landed telekinetic pushes on their more powerful opponents prior to their more powerful opponents completely dominating them at the end of the duel, even without any disadvantageous positioning like Windu was in when Bulq pushed him, such as when Barriss Force pushed Anakin prior to Anakin telekinetically subduing her by grabbing her in the Force and pinning her against a tree with such dominance she was unable to free herself, or Shaak Ti pushing Galen to the ground prior to Galen unleashing an omnidirectional telekinetic attack while he was weakened that severely wounded Shaak Ti. The very same holds true for Mace and Bulq, as Mace ultimately ended the duel by nonchalantly landing a Force push on Sora that knocked him out cold, while Sora Bulq was standing in a defensive posture in a perfect position to counter such an attack.

No Caption Provided

Ultimately, I believe this Force push reveals much more than just Mace's telekinetic superiority however. As soon as Mace sensed the trouble the other Jedi were in against Ventress, he immediately ended his fight with Bulq without any apparent strain, going so far as to say that he didn't even consider their duel the real battle, and his position on this matter is further reaffirmed by two additional sources:

Mace Windu and Bulq battled, but their personal showdown was cut short. Windu was more concerned with stopping the mysterious Ventress, so he knocked Bulq unconscious to pursue the dark side warrior.

Databank: Sora Bulq
The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia

To me, the fact that Mace ended the fight as soon as he deemed it necessary and the apparent lack of strain with which he did so suggests he could've quite possibly ended their fight at any point if he chose, and likely refrained from doing so for information, as Bulq spent the entire first part of their duel monologuing about his fall to the dark side and alliance with Dooku as well as what he had planned, and spent the second part of the duel explaining the role Ventress had to play and what exactly she was up to at the present time.

So between Mace being pre-prime, emotionally unbalanced, almost certainly not going all-out, the length of their fight lasting around as long as the mismatched duel between Ventress and K'kruhk, and Bulq only landing a lucky telekinetic push when Mace was in a bad position to receive it prior to Mace dominating Sora with telekinesis while Sora was in a defensive posture, I really don't see any way in which this fight can be used to argue Sora Bulq's parity with Mace Windu as a duelist, Force user, or all-out combatant, and the implication I take from the evidence is that Mace is pretty considerably above Bulq.

Mace Windu vs Asajj Ventress

Gallery image 1Gallery image 2

In this fight, Mace attacked Asajj, flipped over one of her strikes, talked down to her, forced her to a hand and knee, then she admitted she wasn't a match for him and jumped off of a cliff to escape him.

And of course as in the Sora Bulq fight, Mace was emotionally unbalanced by Bulq's betrayal, which had him highly distressed.

Mace was highly distressed that his mission involved fighting his old friend and colleague Sora Bulq.

The Official Star Wars Fact File

And Windu at this point in time had not yet reached his peak as a duelist, as this duel took place before his mission to Haruun Kal, where he learned how to truly wield his own inner darkness:

There was a time when Mace Windu had feared the power of the dark; there was a time when he had feared the darkness in himself. But the Clone Wars had given him a gift of understanding: on a world called Haruun Kal, he had faced his darkness and had learned that the power of darkness is not to be feared.

Revenge of the Sith

With this in mind, the emotional unbalancing demonstrated in the first quote would've compounded the degree to which Windu could draw upon Vaapad, as was demonstrated to an excessive degree in his fight with Depa Billaba in Shatterpoint when he was similarly emotionally unbalanced, though to a greater degree, as I will elaborate on in depth later on in this blog. So suffice it to say between emotional imbalance and being pre-prime, Mace Windu was not at his peak in this mission.

Everything points to Windu being her rather vast superior, save for this single quote:

Mace Windu had to use all his skills to defeat the dark side fighter Asajj Ventress.

The Official Star Wars Fact File 108

So many people take this quote to mean that Windu had to go all-out to earn a victory over Ventress and suggest that the match-up was close, however I believe this to be an instance where the quote in question is completely and utterly inaccurate and contradicted by the source material, and by the rest of the established mythos.

Quotes should not be discounted lightly, and its a slippery slope to discount them lightly as anyone could discount any quote on the basis of personal preference, however I do believe there is enough evidence against the notion of Ventress matching him so evenly for it to be discounted.

The source material alone already discredits the notion of Mace going all-out, as the dialogue in the fight reveals that Mace was only fighting to capture, not to kill at this point, and therefore wouldn't be using the full extent of his combative ability. The notion of Windu going all-out is further discredited by his fear of his own inner darkness as of this point restricting him from going all-out in lightsaber combat. Secondly, the fact that Mace defeated her so quickly and solidly to the point where she admitted she couldn't match him and jumped off a cliff to escape him despite having suffered no blow injury or disarmament suggests that Mace had more than a little room to spare in regards to how hard he actually needed to exert himself to achieve victory over her.

Her admission of inferiority to Mace and retreat after such a brief engagement in and of itself is a very significant proof of how far beyond Ventress Mace is, given how extremely arrogant she is. The most notable example of this is Ventress's consistent arrogant belief that she can best Dooku in one on one combat despite having been absolutely demolished by him several times, such as when she challenged him on Ratatack after he oneshotted her with lightning, and when she engaged him in 1v1 combat after both the 2v1 with her and Savage where Dooku had her completely outclassed as well as the 3v1 with the nightsisters aid while Dooku was hindered where he still bested her. Other examples of her arrogance are her belief she could take on Grievous on Trenchant station even after Grievous immediately pierced her guard and smacked her across the room with an electrostaff while simultaneously fighting Durge, and when she thought she could take on Anakin and Obi-Wan at the same time after Dooku betrayed her.

With this in mind, the fact that she displayed so much humility and fear after a short bout with Windu speaks volumes as to the wideness of the gap between them.

What also speaks to the wideness of this gap however is Ventress's fights with other people after this point in time.

After this point in time she got clowned by a pre-prime General Grievous on Trenchant Station, a Grievous who later on got matched and bested by both Kit Fisto, and a pre-prime Kenobi, both of whom are confirmed to be beneath Mace as a duelist, and even when Grievous was at his peak, Dooku did not consider Grievous to be capable of defeating Mace:

Gallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4Gallery image 5Gallery image 6Gallery image 7Gallery image 8Gallery image 9Gallery image 10Gallery image 11Gallery image 12Gallery image 13Gallery image 14Gallery image 15Gallery image 16Gallery image 17Gallery image 18Gallery image 19Gallery image 20

Ventress was also evenly matched with Luminara for a time in their duel despite Luminara not being remotely on Mace's level:

Extremely skilled with the red-bladed weapons, Ventress fights the Jedi Master Luminara Unduli to a standstill during her assault on the attack cruiser Tranquility.

Ultimate Star Wars

Ventress was outmatched by a pre-prime Kenobi on Teth to the extent to which he was able to hold her off briefly while unarmed and was able to toy with her at a few points in the duel, with even prime Kenobi being confirmed to be beneath Windu as a duelist:

And finally there is the fact that at several points (including her peak incarnation) she gets utterly demolished by Dooku, whose noted to be a combative peer of Mace's:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sq9xM_NVWs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6s6lHLJBvE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUclUEMosm0

Dooku lifted that one finger, and this time he tapped it in the air, as if pushing a needle into a pincushion. Ventress crumpled to her knees. Her voice came out clotted with pain. "Please," she said. "Don't."

"It doesn't feel good, does it? Like sharp stones in your throat and chest." Dooku made another little patting motion, and Ventress slammed to the tile floor. "It's the blood vessels I hate, "Dooku said. "The way they stretch inside like balloons about to pop."

"P-p-p-please..."

"But worse anything is the memories," he said, more softly still. "They crowed around, like flies on meat. Every despicable thing, every petty vice, every little act of spite." A cruel, strange quiet stretched out as Ventress panted on the stone floor. Rain ticked against the window glass, and the Count's voice went dark and far away. "All the things you should have stopped, but didn't, and nothing will ever be right again. And the things you've done," he whispered. "By the pitless stars, the things you've done..."

The comm on Dooku's desk beeped. He shook his head, like a man waking from a dream. "The Troxan delegation is at the door."

Ventress crawled to her feet. Her face was bruised and her cheeks were wet with tears. Both pretended not to notice.

Dark Rendezvous

Yoda took a keen interest in the young Dooku. He assisted in Dooku's combat training and as a result, the Padawan became especially proficient with a lightsaber. Only Masters Yoda and Mace Windu were considered to be on equal terms with him.

Source: Insider #109

The Count's blade was quick as a viper striking. Among the other Jedi, perhaps only Mace Windu would have been his equal on neutral ground: but here on Vjun, steeped in the dark side, his bladework was malice made visible—wickedness cut in red light.

Source: Yoda: Dark Rendezvous

Despite the fact file quote, the speed with which Windu bested Ventress, the source material and surrounding continuity contradicting the notion of Mace going all-out in that fight, the uncharacteristic humility Ventress displayed with Windu, the fact that combatants substantially beneath Windu have bested or matched her in combat before, and the fact that Windu's combative peer rather regularly utterly dominates her all speaks to the exact opposite of what the fact file quote is trying to get across. While quotes should not be dismissed lightly, this one has a rather substantive orgy of evidence against it, and as such I have a very simple description for how Mace's duel with Ventress went:

Mace Windu stomped her.

Mace Windu vs Depa Billaba

The answer to his question was a lightsaber's emitter jammed against his belly.

Mace had time to think blankly: Oh. Not dead. Faking.

"Depa-?"

She screamed as she triggered her blade. And kept screaming as its green fire chewed a tunnel through Mace's guts and speared out his back. His hand seized hers instinctively, locking her blade against his body so that she could not kill him by slashing it free. His own blade ignited-But he could not strike her. Even now. Not here, so close he could kiss her instead; not while her scream spiraled up into a shriek; not while he had to look into her wide staring eyes and see no hate or rage but only stark agony.

He was going to have to do this the hard way.

He struck downward into the pit beside them, his blade slicing out a lopsided ellipse of armor plate that dropped into darkness below and clanged to an unseen floor.

"Geptun!" he roared. "NOW!"

Flashes of battle:

- shadows fleeing the bunker as swarms of screaming electric blue blaster bolts rebounding off walls shoot them to rags-- a flood of troopers spreading into a wave through the doorway, weapons gouting lightning-colored energy, Geptun in the middle of them, head down and running, datapad cradled like a baby in his arms-- a buzzing shield of silver flame that sliced through a blaster rifle so that it exploded and took with it the trooper's hands-These images burned in Mace's brain as he fought for his life against the woman who should have been his daughter.

He brought his blade back up from the pit and turned his wrist on the forehand so that his recovery stroke took her in the temple with his lightsaber's butt. Her fingers slipped off the blade's activation plate and it shrank back down through his body. She howled and punched his eyesocket with her free hand, but Mace got his foot wedged between them and he shoved her away with a powerful thrust.

At the same instant both of them backflipped into the air, landing on their feet poised in perfect mirror images, their blades whipping in identically curving slashes almost too fast to see.

Blaster bolts howled around them. The air crackled with streaks and splatters of energy. Their blades flickered and whipped and no bolt touched their flesh.

Their eyes never left each other's.

Something had torn in his guts when he did the backflip. Smoke trickled upward from the hole in his belly. He could smell it, but he felt no pain. Not yet. His blade whirred through the air.

Hers whirred faster. She advanced.

The slashes never stopped. They would never stop. They flowed one into the next with liquid precision.

This constant near-invisible weave of lethal energy is the ready-stance of Vaapad.

"Depa," Mace said desperately. "I don't want to fight you. Depa, please-"

She sprang at him, screaming without words; he couldn't know if she'd heard him. He couldn't know if language still had meaning for her.

Then she was on him. His whole world turned to green fire.

-------------------

Depa's blade was everywhere.

Mace backpedaled, parrying frantically, absorbing the shock of her attacks with bent arms and a two-handed grip. He was taller than she, with more reach and weight, and vastly more muscle in his upper body, but she drove him backward as though he were a child. Green flame struck through his guard, and only a frantic jerk of his head turned what would have been a brain-burning thrust into a line of char along his cheekbone.

Still he did not strike back.

"I will not kill you," he said. "Death is not the answer to your pain."

Her reply was a scream louder and more savage and an onslaught to match. She broke through his guard again and scorched his wrist. Another stroke burned a slice through his pants leg just above the knee.

Power roared around her, a rising storm of darkness.

Mace got it now: as each Akk Guard died, his share of pelekotan backflowed through the bonds Vaster had forged among them.

She was getting stronger.

And with each stroke of her blade, he could feel himself slipping into the shadows. He had to. She was too strong, too fast, too everything. The only way he could survive was to give more of himself to Vaapad. To give all of himself.

To sink into pelekotaris dream.

He felt it: he had reached his own shatterpoint. And he was breaking.

--------------------

Through the trace of Force connection he had with Nick, Mace felt the young Korun collapse. Something broke inside his head, and all his own wounds crashed upon him.

Every cut and bruise, every cracked bone and sprained joint, the man-bite on his shoulder and the hole through his guts: all of them blossomed into silent screams.

His lightsaber went heavy, and his arms went slow. She burned a stripe across his chest, and he staggered.

His fighting spirit wasn't destroyed. It wasn't even far away. He could feel where it had gone. He could reach out and touch it.

It was waiting for him in the dark.

------------------

In the Force, Mace felt Geptun's despair. It felt like a gift.

Another man might even have smiled.

He took one last look at the darkness that called to him-Darkness within mirroring darkness without-And turned away.

He let his blade vanish. His arms dropped to his sides.

Depa moved in for the kill.

Mace backed away.

She leaped for him, slashing, and he slipped aside. She pressed her attack and he retreated, over bodies and through blaster-riddled wreckage of console banks, until he came hard up against a console that still had power: indicator lights flashed like droid eyes in the gloom.

The blade of green fire whirled up, poised, and struck.

He let himself collapse.

He fell to the floor at her feet, and instead of cleaving his skull, her blade slashed the console behind him in half. Cables spat blue sparks across the burned gap.

This was the console that controlled the spaceport's signal-jamming equipment.

Down in the transceiver chamber, Geptun stared at his datapad's screen with astonished reverence, conscious of having been unexpectedly granted undeserved grace.

It read: COMMAND EXECUTED.

In the skies over Pelek Baw, as the snowcap on Grandfather's Shoulder kindled with the first red rays of dawn, droid starfighters disengaged from clone-piloted ships and streaked back into the depths of space.

In the command bunker, the swirl of dark power crested, paused, and began to recede.

Mace lay on the floor. He didn't think he could get up. Depa stared down at him, her face lit jungle-green by the glow of her blade, and a single needle of light seemed to pierce the dark madness in her eyes. "Oh, Mace..."

Shatterpoint

I haven't heard this fight get brought up nearly as often as the other fights in this blog, however it still deserves a mention seeing as he was on the losing end of that fight, though it was extremely circumstantial.

The first thing that needs addressing with this fight was that Mace was extremely hindered.

First of all, the duel began with Mace getting surprise stabbed through the abdomen, which would've severely hindered him in the ensuing duel as much of a person's physical strength is generated from the core of their body:

The answer to his question was a lightsaber's emitter jammed against his belly.

Mace had time to think blankly: Oh. Not dead. Faking.

"Depa-?"

She screamed as she triggered her blade. And kept screaming as its green fire chewed a tunnel through Mace's guts and speared out his back.

Shatterpoint

And then right afterwards Windu did a backflip which damaged his already heavily injured muscles and internal organs even more:

At the same instant both of them backflipped into the air, landing on their feet poised in perfect mirror images, their blades whipping in identically curving slashes almost too fast to see.

Blaster bolts howled around them. The air crackled with streaks and splatters of energy. Their blades flickered and whipped and no bolt touched their flesh.

Their eyes never left each other's.

Something had torn in his guts when he did the backflip. Smoke trickled upward from the hole in his belly.

Also, to truly demonstrate the effect Mace's injuries would have on his physical strength, the force behind Depa's strikes near the beginning of their duel were physically overpowering him despite him being in a good position of leverage:

Mace backpedaled, parrying frantically, absorbing the shock of her attacks with bent arms and a two-handed grip. He was taller than she, with more reach and weight, and vastly more muscle in his upper body, but she drove him backward as though he were a child.

Shatterpoint

Now this is important to note because in Mace's very brief duel with Grievous on Coruscant, he was matching the General's blows without trouble, despite the fact that Grievous's blows were stated to be as forceful as any he'd ever had to counter, which would include when he was dueling Depa:

His strikes were as forceful as any Mace had ever had to counter, and his speed was astonishing.

Labyrinth of Evil

Adding onto Windu's physical hindrance, he continued to sustain a few more lightsaber injuries throughout the course of the duel, on top of already having multiple cracked bones and sprained joints as well as a bite on his shoulder prior to the beginning of the fight:

Green flame struck through his guard, and only a frantic jerk of his head turned what would have been a brain-burning thrust into a line of char along his cheekbone.

Shatterpoint

She broke through his guard again and scorched his wrist. Another stroke burned a slice through his pants leg just above the knee.

Shatterpoint

Every cut and bruise, every cracked bone and sprained joint, the man-bite on his shoulder and the hole through his guts: all of them blossomed into silent screams.

Shatterpoint

Now on top of Windu's physical hindrance, he was even more emotionally hindered by the fact that the woman he loved like a daughter was trying to slaughter him, as several quotes elucidate for us, along with the fact that he was unwilling to fight offensively against her:

His own blade ignited-But he could not strike her. Even now. Not here, so close he could kiss her instead; not while her scream spiraled up into a shriek; not while he had to look into her wide staring eyes and see no hate or rage but only stark agony.

Shatterpoint

Flashes of battle: shadows fleeing the bunker as swarms of screaming electric blue blaster bolts rebounding off walls shoot them to rags-- a flood of troopers spreading into a wave through the doorway, weapons gouting lightning-colored energy, Geptun in the middle of them, head down and running, datapad cradled like a baby in his arms-- a buzzing shield of silver flame that sliced through a blaster rifle so that it exploded and took with it the trooper's hands-These images burned in Mace's brain as he fought for his life against the woman who should have been his daughter.

Shatterpoint

"Depa," Mace said desperately. "I don't want to fight you. Depa, please-"

Shatterpoint

Green flame struck through his guard, and only a frantic jerk of his head turned what would have been a brain-burning thrust into a line of char along his cheekbone.

Still he did not strike back.

"I will not kill you," he said. "Death is not the answer to your pain."

Shatterpoint

And all throughout this duel, due to his screwed up emotional and mental state, Mace was having to struggle with falling to the dark side, which prevented him from effectively wielding Vaapad on top of everything else Mace had to deal with, which ultimately culminated in Mace literally not being able to continue to fight without falling to the Dark Side:

And with each stroke of her blade, he could feel himself slipping into the shadows.

Shatterpoint

The only way he could survive was to give more of himself to Vaapad. To give all of himself. To sink into pelekotaris dream.

Shatterpoint

His fighting spirit wasn't destroyed. It wasn't even far away. He could feel where it had gone. He could reach out and touch it. It was waiting for him in the dark.

Shatterpoint

On top of this, Depa was growing continuously stronger throughout the fight, due to the fact that she was bonded to Akk guards through the Force, and as they died during a battle that was happening concurrently with this duel, their remaining energy was transmitted through the bonds to Depa:

Power roared around her, a rising storm of darkness.

Mace got it now: as each Akk Guard died, his share of pelekotan backflowed through the bonds Vaster had forged among them.

She was getting stronger.

Shatterpoint

And despite everything going against him, Mace Windu did very well all things considered.

Firstly, Mace with a lightsaber blade plunged through his gut was able to grab Depa's wrist and lock her arm in place with one arm, which would've opened him up to strike her down with his blade if he had been willing to strike her.

She screamed as she triggered her blade. And kept screaming as its green fire chewed a tunnel through Mace's guts and speared out his back. His hand seized hers instinctively, locking her blade against his body so that she could not kill him by slashing it free. His own blade ignited-But he could not strike her. Even now. Not here, so close he could kiss her instead; not while her scream spiraled up into a shriek; not while he had to look into her wide staring eyes and see no hate or rage but only stark agony.

He was going to have to do this the hard way.

Shatterpoint

So even with a hole burned through his abdomen, he is still at this point in time physically superior to Depa, seemingly holding an edge over her in speed and strength, and it's only after his internal organs are damaged further by the strain of a backflip that Depa gains a substantive edge over Mace in strength and speed.

Mace at this point was also able to land a strike on Depa's head with the pommel of his lightsaber that could've been lethal had he used the other end of the weapon, and he hit her hard enough for her finger to slip and her blade to deactivate, then tanked a physical strike to the head from her and kicked her away from him:

He brought his blade back up from the pit and turned his wrist on the forehand so that his recovery stroke took her in the temple with his lightsaber's butt. Her fingers slipped off the blade's activation plate and it shrank back down through his body. She howled and punched his eyesocket with her free hand, but Mace got his foot wedged between them and he shoved her away with a powerful thrust.

Shatterpoint

Now for the rest of the duel Mace was fighting defensively, and despite Depa holding a pretty sizeable edge over him in speed and strength at this point, Mace being primarily an offensive duelist, and his mind being completely screwed up (and her own technical skill being pretty insane since Mace compared her bladework to his own around TPM, and since she was able to master Vaapad), he was still able to prevent her from landing a killing blow for the duration of the duel despite his wounds growing progressively worse and Depa growing progressively stronger, and was only completely defeated when his wounds had weighed down upon him and when he couldn't continue fighting without falling to the dark side.

However, once he decides to turn away from the temptation of the Dark Side and deactivates his blade, he is still able to dodge Depa's strikes while retreating:

He took one last look at the darkness that called to him-Darkness within mirroring darkness without-And turned away.

He let his blade vanish. His arms dropped to his sides.

Depa moved in for the kill.

Mace backed away.

She leaped for him, slashing, and he slipped aside. She pressed her attack and he retreated, over bodies and through blaster-riddled wreckage of console banks, until he came hard up against a console that still had power: indicator lights flashed like droid eyes in the gloom.

The blade of green fire whirled up, poised, and struck.

He let himself collapse.

He fell to the floor at her feet, and instead of cleaving his skull, her blade slashed the console behind him in half. Cables spat blue sparks across the burned gap.

Shatterpoint

So to sum this duel up, Depa stabbed Windu through the abdomen, at which point, despite having a lightsaber blade jammed through his stomach, Windu was still able to physically outmatch her at the time and could've gotten a killing blow against her. Then he hits her hard enough to deactivate her blade, he kicks her away, and they flip away from each other, at which point Mace's already wounded abdomen becomes even more damaged, providing Depa with a substantive edge in both speed and strength that would otherwise go to Mace. At this point, Mace is extremely physically hindered, unwilling to fight offensively, emotionally and mentally screwed up, and unwilling to fight as hard as he can for fear of falling to the dark side, yet despite all of this he still manages to hold Depa off despite him sustaining more injuries throughout the duel and Depa growing stronger and stronger as more Akk guards die in a concurrent fight. Then Mace only hits the point of defeat when his injuries all weigh down upon him and he becomes unable to fight without falling to the dark side, however when Mace turns away from this temptation and deactivates his blade, he's still able to evade numerous strikes from Depa before collapsing from exhaustion/injury.

I would take this fight to indicate that Mace is far above Depa in martial combat under normal circumstances, being more skilled even while hindered, and physically superior under normal circumstances.

Mace Windu vs General Grievous

Without pausing, Grievous drew two lightsabers from inside his billowing cloak. By the time they were ignited, Mace was already on and all over the cyborg, batting away at the two blades, swinging low at Grievous's artificial legs, thrusting at his skeletal face. The lightsabers thrummed and hissed, meeting one another in bursts of dazzling light. In a corner of Mace's mind he wondered to which Jedi Grievous's blades had belonged. Just as the Force was keeping Mace from being blown from the mag-lev's roof, magnetism of some sort was keeping the general fastened in place. For the cyborg, though, the coherence hindered as much as it helped, whereas Mace never remained in one place for very long. Again and again the three blades joined, in snarling attacks and parries.

As Mace already knew from Ki-Adi-Mundi and Shaak Ti, Grievous was well trained in the Jedi arts. He could recognize the hand of Dooku in the general's training and technique. His strikes were as forceful as any Mace had ever had to counter, and his speed was astonishing. But he didn't know Vaapad - - the technique of dark flirtation in which Mace excelled. To the rear of the car, where Grievous's pair of MagnaGuards had made the mistake of pitting themselves against Kit Fisto, the Nautolan's blade was a cyclone of blazing blue light. Resistant to the energy outpourings of a lightsaber, the phrik alloy staffs were potent weapons, but like any weapon they needed to find their target, and Kit simply wasn't allowing that.

In moves a Twi'lek dancer might envy, he spun around the guards, claiming a limb from both with each rotation: left legs, right arms, right legs... The speed of the train saw to the rest, ultimately whisking the droids into the canyon like insects blown from the windscreen of a speeder bike. The loss of his confederates was noted by whatever computers were slaved to Grievous's organic brain, but the loss neither distracted nor slowed him. His sole setting was attack. Successful at analyzing Mace's lightsaber style, those same computers suggested that Grievous alter his stance and posture, along with the angle of his parries, ripostes, and thrusts.

The result wasn't Vaapad, but it was close enough, and Mace wasn't interested in prolonging the contest any longer than necessary. Crouching low, he angled the blade downward and slashed, guiding it through the roof of the car, perpendicular to Grievous's stalwart advance. Mace saw by the surprised look in the cyborg's reptilian eyes that, for all his strength, dexterity, and resolve, the living part of him wasn't always in perfect sync with his alloy servos.

Clearly, Grievous - - onetime courageous commander of sentient troops - - realized what Mace had done and wanted to sidestep, where General Grievous - - current commander of droids and other war machines - - wanted nothing more than to impale Mace with lunging thrusts of the paired blades. Slipping into the gap made by Mace's saber, Grievous's left talon lost magnetic purchase on the roof, and the general faltered. Mace came out of his crouch prepared to drive his sword into Grievous's guts, but some last-instant firing of the general's cybersynapses compelled the cyborg's torso through a swift half twist that would have sent Mace's head hurtling into the canyon had the maneuver prevailed.

Instead Mace leapt backward, out of the range of the slicing blades, and Force-pushed outward, just at the instant of Grievous's single misstep. Off the side of the car the general went, twisting and turning as he fell, Mace trying to track the general's contorted plunge, but unsuccessfully.

Labyrinth of Evil

This fight is often viewed as either a fight of decent length, a stalemate, or even both. I view both of these notions as being held in error, and believe the fight to be fairly inconclusive on either side.

First of all, there is the claim that Grievous was majorly disadvantaged by his lack of mobility, however I do not believe it was as big a disadvantage as some claim.

Just as the Force was keeping Mace from being blown from the mag-lev's roof, magnetism of some sort was keeping the general fastened in place. For the cyborg, though, the coherence hindered as much as it helped, whereas Mace never remained in one place for very long.

Labyrinth of Evil

Though Grievous was stated to be hindered by the coherence between his feet and the mag-lev's roof while Mace had the freedom of agility, there are a few things that needed to be noted. First of all is that Grievous's fighting style is not generally one that relies much on agility, maneuverability, or acrobatics and is more often than not a steady advance, a steady retreat, or holding his ground while fighting from that position. Fighting from the same ground was a tactic he employed at the beginning of the fight, and he still would've been able to advance and retreat as he did near the end of the fight when Mace caused him to misstep. Another thing to consider is while Grievous's mobility may have been hindered, the narrowness of such a mag-lev would've prevented Mace from truly being able to exploit an advantage in mobility to its fullest, as it would've prevented him from flanking Grievous without putting himself at serious risk on the very edge of a mag-lev roof over a very long drop, and while Grievous could not meet Mace's attacks with lateral movement, he could still twist the upper part of his body along the lower part to meet his attacks, a capability already demonstrated in his duel with the Jedi on Hypori.

No Caption Provided

So really the only disadvantage Grievous was at due to the magnetism of his feet is that he has a harder time angling and positioning his body on an already narrow dueling platform, and can otherwise meet Windu from any angle of attack, while Windu was incapable of flanking Grievous with an advantage in mobility because of the narrowness of the mag-lev. Another thing to consider is that while the coherence of Windu to the mag-lev was stated to not hinder him, it would've come at a cost, as Windu would've still had to expend Force energy to keep himself rooted to the mag-lev, and it would've been another task demanding some of his focus as he also held up a high intensity duel with an opponent as physically overwhelming as Grievous. And the environment would've been hazardous for someone whose adherence to such a terrain is entirely dependent on his focus rather than something automatic like magnetism. Windu would've had to specifically fight with more emphasis on keeping himself from being uprooted in any way, or otherwise risk falling to his death, and thus he very possibly would've had to fight more conservatively as well. So all in all, given the environment itself and the narrowness of the platform/environment upon which they were dueling, mobility was not an overly relevant factor in this fight.

Another factor that has convinced some people that it was an even fight or one Mace couldn't win by virtue of dueling prowess, was the fact that Windu chose to BFR Grievous with the use of telekinesis and the environment, rather than outright besting him in martial combat.

The result wasn't Vaapad, but it was close enough, and Mace wasn't interested in prolonging the contest any longer than necessary.

Labyrinth of Evil

Many take this to mean that Mace was weary of the outcome of their contest, however observing the context, it is apparent that time was an issue to be considered. While Windu was dueling Grievous, the entire planet was plunged into perhaps the largest battle of the Clone Wars, which was little more than a distraction for the separatists to kidnap Palpatine, which Windu and his colleagues had just realized prior to his engaging of Grievous.

"Those fighters could easily have derailed us with a torpedo," Shaak Ti said as Mace and Kit approached. Mace leaned partway out the window, eyes searching the canyon.

"And battle droids don't just drop from the sky. There's a third craft." Kit's bulging black eyes indicated Palpatine. "They want to take him alive."

The words had scarcely left his mouth when something hit the train with sufficient force to whip everyone from one side of the car to the other, then back again. The Red Guards were just regaining their balance when the roof began to resound with the cadence of heavy, clanging footfalls, advancing from the rear of the train.

"Grievous," Mace grumbled. Kit glanced at him. "Here we go again."

Labyrinth of Evil

It is also apparent from the excerpt above that the safety of the mag-lev was in jeopardy as well, given that the separatists could easily derail it at will. And thus, in a massive chaotic battle with the separatists trying to kidnap the chancellor and separatists all around them with considerable firepower, Windu chose to BFR Grievous rather than continue to engage him, as a matter of time efficiency rather than a desperation tactic, as there would be other factors in the defense of the chancellor that would certainly need his attention. Case in point, immediately after his duel with Grievous, the mag-lev was derailed.

Instead Mace leapt backward, out of the range of the slicing blades, and Force-pushed outward, just at the instant of Grievous's single misstep. Off the side of the car the general went, twisting and turning as he fell, Mace trying to track the general's contorted plunge, but unsuccessfully. Had he fallen into the canyon? Had he managed to dig his duranium claws into the side of the car or grab hold of the mag-lev rail itself?

Mace couldn't take the time to puzzle it out. One hundred meters away, the gunboat retracted its landing gear and rose from the roof on repulsorlift power. Reckless shots from one of the pursuing gunships obliged the Separatist craft to skew, then dive, with the gunship following close behind. Mace and Kit watched in awe as the two ships began to helix forward around the speeding mag-lev, exchanging constant fire. Climbing away from the train's sharp nose, within which the magnetic controls were housed, the gunboat made as if to bank west, only to bank east at the last instant. By then, however, the gunship - - leading its target west - - had already fired. Drilled by a swarm of deadly hyphens, the mag-lev's control system blew apart, and the entire train began to drop.

Labyrinth of Evil

And lastly and perhaps most importantly, people view this fight as significant for the portrayal of both Mace's and Grievous's abilities because some believe it to be a decently long contest of swordsmanship. On the contrary, the duel beneath Mace and Grievous really wasn't that long. The easiest part to judge the length of time of was right after Grievous adapted to Vaapad, which consisted of Mace cutting the roof, Grievous stepping forward, Mace lunging, Grievous lunging, Mace throwing himself back and TKing Grievous, and Grievous falling off of the mag-lev. So basically their fight near instantly ended after Grievous adjusted to Vaapad. How long did the fight go on before that though? Quite briefly in fact. First of all, Windu referred to Grievous adapting to his use of Vaapad after a single exchange in the Revenge of the Sith novelization.

Before Obi-Wan had left Coruscant, Mace Windu had told him of facing Grievous in single combat atop a mag-lev train during the general's daring raid to capture Palpatine. Mace had told him how the computers slaved to Grievous's brain had apparently analyzed even Mace's unconventionally lethal Vaapad and had been able to respond in kind after a single exchange.

Revenge of the Sith

So after a single exchange, Grievous adapted to Vaapad and Windu chose to BFR him. Some would argue the semantics of what constitutes a single exchange, however the word exchange itself implies brevity, and the astonishment at Grievous being able to respond in kind so quickly also implies a certain brevity. Implication is not the only thing however, as we are given reference in Labyrinth of Evil itself.

To the rear of the car, where Grievous's pair of MagnaGuards had made the mistake of pitting themselves against Kit Fisto, the Nautolan's blade was a cyclone of blazing blue light. Resistant to the energy outpourings of a lightsaber, the phrik alloy staffs were potent weapons, but like any weapon they needed to find their target, and Kit simply wasn't allowing that.

In moves a Twi'lek dancer might envy, he spun around the guards, claiming a limb from both with each rotation: left legs, right arms, right legs... The speed of the train saw to the rest, ultimately whisking the droids into the canyon like insects blown from the windscreen of a speeder bike. The loss of his confederates was noted by whatever computers were slaved to Grievous's organic brain, but the loss neither distracted nor slowed him. His sole setting was attack. Successful at analyzing Mace's lightsaber style, those same computers suggested that Grievous alter his stance and posture, along with the angle of his parries, ripostes, and thrusts.

Labyrinth of Evil

As can be seen here, the time it took for Grievous to analyze Windu's fighting style, and thus the time their exchange took, lasted just as long as Kit Fisto's fight with two of Grievous's magnaguards where he twirled around and cut one of the two guards' eight limbs off with each twirl, clearly making short work of them. And on top of this, Grievous himself refers to the fight as a brief engagement:

He had been forced to improvise when Palpatine's protectors had opted to follow an alternate route to the bunker, and he had enjoyed chasing the mag-lev - - if not the brief duel on the roof of the train car.

Labyrinth of Evil

And finally, Grievous himself seems to admit Windu's superiority to him by admitting Dooku's assessment was correct.

At Palpatine's apartment, Grievous had managed to fool everyone by placing the gunboat on display, then clandestinely transferring himself and his combat droids into the Republic gunship Lord Tyranus had promised would be waiting for them. He had been forced to improvise when Palpatine's protectors had opted to follow an alternate route to the bunker, and he had enjoyed chasing the mag-lev - - if not the brief duel on the roof of the train car. Tyranus had warned him about Mace Windu's prowess with a blade, and now he understood.

Labyrinth of Evil

With this being Dooku's warning the good general was referring to:

"Do I need to demonstrate what responses you can expect from Cin Drallig or Obi-Wan Kenobi? From Mace Windu or, stars help you, Yoda?"

He flicked his blade quickly, ridding two of the guards of their staffs, then placing the glowing tip a millimeter from Grievous's death-helmeted visage.

"Finesse. Artfulness. Economy. Otherwise, my friend, I fear that you will end up beyond the repair of even the Geonosians. Do you take my meaning?"

So in regards to this fight, the narrowness of the train saw to the fact that the hindering magnetism of Grievous's feet wasn't much of a factor, Windu and Grievous dueled very briefly, and Windu ended the duel via BFR in the interest of time efficiency when tasked with protecting the most important man in the Galaxy in the middle of a battlefield where he and his allies were surrounded by separatist firepower, after which Grievous admitted Dooku's assessment that Windu was above him to be correct.

Mace Windu vs Darth Sidious

Now this fight has been analyzed TO DEATH, on youtube, and on the forums.

Most notably in our community by @silver2467 in his blog on the subject, which analyzes and addresses the fight in more exploration and depth than I could ever muster the time or patience for. As such, I will not analyze this fight in full, as while I may find some disagreements within Silver's blog, I do agree that Sidious is greater than Windu both with a blade and the Force, and that Sidious could've won the fight with lightning if he chose, and just the general idea of Silver's blog proving that Windu is not greater than or equal to Sidious.

I would however like to argue against the notion of this fight being too circumstantial to use as any type of indication for Windu's combative prowess, and will elucidate on a few elements of Windu's duel with Sidious that paint quite the impressive picture for the Korun master.

First of all, it's worth noting that Windu wasn't amped to the extent that his power surpassed Sidious's, seeing as first of all, Sidious's lightning would've ultimately overpowered Windu's Vaapad

Lightning blasted the clouds above, and lightning blasted from Palpatine's hands, and Mace didn't have time to comprehend what Palpatine was talking about; he had time only to slip back into Vaapad and angle his blade to catch the forking arcs of pure, dazzling hatred that clawed toward him. Because Vaapad is more than a fighting style. It is a state of mind: a channel for darkness. Power passed into him and out again without touching him. And the circuit completed itself: the lightning reflected back to its source. Palpatine staggered, snarling, but the blistering energy that loured from his hands only intensified. He fed the power with his pain.

"Anakin!" Mace called. His voice sounded distant, blurred, as if it came from the bottom of a well. "Anakin, help me! This is your chance!"

He felt Anakin's leap from the office floor to the ledge, felt his approach behind—

And Palpatine was not afraid. Mace could feel it: he wasn't worried at all.

"Destroy this traitor," the Chancellor said, his voice raised aver the howl of writhing energy that joined his hands to Mace's blade. "This was never an arrest. It's an assassination!"

That was when Mace finally understood. He had it. The key to final victory. Palpatine's shatterpoint. The absolute shatterpoint of the Sith. The shatterpoint of the dark side itself. Mace thought, blankly astonished, Palpatine trusts Anakin Skywalker...

Now Anakin was at Mace's shoulder. Palpatine still made no move to defend himself from Skywalker; instead he ramped up the lightning bursting from his hands, bending the fountain of Mace's blade back toward the Korun Master's face.

Palpatine's eyes glowed with power, casting a yellow glare that burned back the rain from around them. "He is a traitor, Anakin. Destroy him."

"You're the chosen one, Anakin," Mace said, his voice going thin with strain. This was beyond Vaapad; he had no strength left to fight against his own blade. "Take him. It's your destiny."

Skywalker echoed him faintly. "Destiny..."

"Help me! I can't hold on any longer!" The yellow glare from Palpatine's eyes spread outward through his flesh. His skin flowed like oil, as though the muscle beneath was burning away, as though even the bones of his skull were softening, were bending and bulging, deforming from the heat and pressure of his electric hatred. "He is killing me, Anakin—! Please, Anaaahhh—"

Mace's blade bent so close to his face that he was choking on ozone. "Anakin, he's too strong for me—"

"Ahhh—" Palpatine's roar above the endless blast of lightning became a fading moan of despair. The lightning swallowed itself, leaving only the night and the rain, and an old man crumpled to his knees on a slippery ledge. "I... can't. I give up. I... I am too weak, in the end. Too old, and too weak. Don't kill me, Master Jedi. Please. I surrender."

Revenge of the Sith

And seeing as Mace got hit with a Force push at one point in the fight that he was only able to redirect the momentum of:

Mace disengaged from the shadow's blade and leapt for the window; he slashed away the transparisteel with a single flourish. His instant's distraction cost him: a dark surge of the Force nearly blew him right out of the gap he had just cut. Only a desperate Force-push of his own altered his path enough that he slammed into a stanchion instead of plunging half a kilometer from the ledge outside. He bounced off and the Force cleared his head and once again he gave himself to Vaapad.

Revenge of the Sith

However their power was evidently close enough for them to bladelock relatively evenly:

No Caption Provided

So clearly Windu's power is amped to the point of being relatively even with Sidious's. What I take away from this is that to have performed as well as he did against Sidious even with the amp, Windu would've needed an at least somewhat comparable level of skill, which given who his opponent is does indeed speak volumes about Windu's level of skill as a duelist.

And lastly, Windu managed to survive a protracted blast of Sidious's lightning after having his hand severed by Anakin from 4:00-4:17 prior to being thrown out of the window. I do not believe Windu was in Vaapad for this, as he had just had his hand severed, lost his lightsaber, was howling and pain, and was being electrocuted on top of that, whereas prior to that point he was out of Vaapad after forcing Sidious to the ground and while having his blade at Sidious's throat, because he had to slip back into Vaapad to deflect the lightning:

Lightning blasted the clouds above, and lightning blasted from Palpatine's hands, and Mace didn't have time to comprehend what Palpatine was talking about; he had time only to slip back into Vaapad and angle his blade to catch the forking arcs of pure, dazzling hatred that clawed toward him.

Revenge of the Sith

And in fact, the Revenge of the Sith script, Windu was stated to have attempted Force deflection:

The full force of Palpatine's powerful bolts blasts MACE. He attempts to deflect them with his one good hand, but the force is too great. As blue rays engulf his body, he is flung out the window and falls twenty stories to his death. No more screams. No more moans. PALPATINE lowers his arm.

Revenge of the Sith script

So the fact that Mace was able to survive for that long is a great testament to his durability, barrier, and deflection abilities, all of which are related to his power in the Force.

So yes, Windu's power was circumstantially boosted as Silver explained in his blog, and yes Sidious could've overpowered him with lightning, but despite the fact that Sidious is Windu's superior, Windu possesses at least a comparable level of martial skill, and can survive Sidious's lightning for a pretty impressive length of time.

No Caption Provided

Those were my interpretations of Mace's various fleshed out lightsaber duels, and I hope you the reader found them entertaining and informative.

A special thanks goes out to @radioactivehaggis for giving me the scans for Windu's fights with Bulq and Ventress, to @wollfmyth209 for the resources made available to me by his Mace Windu respect thread, and most importantly to @brightsteel for giving me the idea for this thread in the first place, the motivation to ultimately get it done as a late birthday present for him, and as for providing me some of the quotes regarding Mace's fight with Grievous, you guys are all awesome!

24 Comments