Mace Windu vs Darth Sidious, What Really Happened -- A Comprehensive Rebuttal

The legitimacy of the conclusion to the climatic battle between Emperor Palpatine and Mace Windu is among the most contested and long-standing debates in the mythos. Multiple erroneous blogs attempting to establish what occurred in the fight have been posted here on Comic Vine, particularly by users Silver and Erkan. This blog is designed to refute each and every argument brought to bear by the aforementioned blogs.

To begin with, it should be acknowledged that regardless of the continuity, the movies are the highest canon sources:

"While Lucasfilm always strived to keep the stories created for the EU consistent with our film and television content as well as internally consistent, Lucas always made it clear that he was not beholden to the EU. He set the films he created as the canon. This includes the six Star Wars episodes, and the many hours of content he developed and produced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. These stories are the immovable objects of Star Wars history, the characters and events to which all other tales must align."

-- LucasFilm Storygroup(canon)

"The database does indeed have a canon field. Anything in the films and from George Lucas (including unpublished internal notes that we might receive from him or from the film production department) is considered 'G' canon. Next we have what we call continuity 'C' canon which is pretty much everything else. There is secondary 'S' continuity canon which we use for some older published materials and things that may or may not fit just right. But, if it is referenced in something else it becomes 'C'. Similarly, any 'C' canon item that makes it into the films can become 'G' canon. Lastly there is non-continuity 'N' which we rarely use except in the case of a blatant contradiction..."

-- Leland Chee(legends)

"Well, Star Wars is one of the few properties out there that we really try to keep everything together and, and that, y'know, we even bring now Marvel Comics into the, the mix and try to explain, y'know, how there can be giant pink rabbits and things of that nature. Um, so, canon, I mean, there are degrees of canon, and the only thing that is at the top level of canon are the movies as they exist now, from George..."

-- Steve Sansweet(legends)

All other sources are lesser, and take a back seat to what the films entail. If a contradiction occurs, you defer to the movie:

"There is a heirarchy -- the movies, novelizations, radio dramas come first. Then everything else. If something in a novelization contradicts the movies, then we defer to the movies. IE, the ROJ novelization says that Obi-Wan and Owen Lars were brothers. This wasn't in the movie, and has since been discounted."

-- Sue Rostoni(executive editor for Lucasfilm)

Having established this, let's start.

False Assertion #1: Mace's inner darkness was increased by Palpatine's betrayal, which amplified his Vaapad

Incorrect. Matthew Stover (the author of the ROTS senior novel) sets up this scene as a quasi-trial for Mace's Jedi resolve, because he allegedly has a secret attachment to the Republic. In fact, what happens in this scene is stated to be what defines Mace:

"This is the moment that defines Mace Windu. Not his countless victories in battle, nor the numberless battles his diplomacy has avoided. Not his penetrating intellect, or his talents with the Force, or his unmatched skills with the lightsaber. Not his dedication to the Jedi Order, or his devotion to the Republic that he serves. But this. Right here. Right now. Because Mace, too, has an attachment. Mace has a secret love. Mace Windu loves the Republic. Many of his students quote him to students of their own: 'Jedi do not fight for peace. That’s only a slogan, and is as misleading as slogans always are. Jedi fight for civilization, because only civilization creates peace.' For Mace Windu, for all his life, for all the lives of a thousand years of Jedi before him, true civilization has had only one true name: the Republic."

-- Revenge of the Sith: Senior Novelization

And, we're shown that Anakin's revelation blows this attachment up and allegedly renders his entire existence meaningless:

"And because of that love now, here, in this instant, Anakin Skywalker has nine words for him that shred his heart, burn its pieces, and feed him its smoking ashes. Palpatine is Sidious. The Chancellor is the Sith Lord. He doesn’t even hear the words, not really; their true meaning is too large for his mind to gather in all at once. They mean that all he’s done, and all that has been done to him -- that all the Order has accomplished, all it has suffered -- all the Galaxy itself has gone through, all the years of suffering and slaughter, the death of entire planets -- has all been for nothing. Because it was all done to save the Republic. Which was already gone. Which had already fallen. The corpse of which had been defended only by a Jedi Order that was now under the command of a Dark Lord of the Sith. Mace Windu’s entire existence has become crystal so shot through with flaws that the hammer of those nine words has crushed him to sand."

-- Revenge of the Sith: Senior Novelization

Problem for the theory is, this entire emotional "crisis" doesn't even last a single second, and it doesn't even change his facial expression. Mace basically no-sells this mental blow and is stated to have the mindset of a pure Jedi Master, i.e. this revelation does literally nothing to him emotion-wise. As I pointed out earlier, this character trait is stated to be Mace's true definition:

"Because he is Mace Windu, he takes this blow without a change of expression. Because he is Mace Windu, within a second the man of sand is stone once more: pure Jedi Master, weighing coldly the risk of facing the last Dark Lord of the Sith without the chosen one -- against the risk of facing the last Dark Lord of the Sith with a chosen one eaten alive by fear. And because he is Mace Windu, the choice is no choice at all. 'Anakin, wait in the Council Chamber until we get back.'

'Wh--what? Master--'

'That’s an order, Anakin.'

'But--but--but the Chancellor--' Anakin says desperately, clutching at the Jedi Master’s hand. 'What are you going to do?' And it is the true measure of Mace Windu that, even now, he still is telling the truth when he says, 'Only as much as I have to'."

-- Revenge of the Sith: Senior Novelization

In short, according to the text, Anakin's revelation as to Palpatine's betrayal had zero real affect on Mace's emotional state, and therefore, Mace did not have a heightened inner darkness with-which to amplify his Vaapad.

Furthermore, other sources state that Mace was basically unsurprised by Palpatine being a Sith Lord:

"Windu was almost unsurprised by Anakin's news."

-- The Official Star Wars Fact Files Relaunched #25

Which not only is a more accurate account of the movie -- Stover outright deletes a large amount of dialogue and events that occur in between Anakin's revelation and Mace's orders, thereby massively contradicting the movie -- but a more realistic interpretation of how Mace visibly reacted in the film. Which is somewhat incredulous, very serious and decisive with a slight hint of skepticism at the beginning. It's kinda heavily implied earlier on in the movie that Mace really distrusted, perhaps even suspected Palpatine... "The dark side of the Force surrounds the Chancellor." So yeah, Stover's portrayal not only destroys Silver's narrative, but contradicts the movie in both event sequencing and emotional reaction.

False Assertion #2: Anakin notes that Mace had thrown aside all Jedi restraint, that a poisonous abscess crested his heart, etc, proving that Mace's inner darkness was amplified and subsequently, his Vaapad

Incorrect. This observation is from Anakin's point of view, and Anakin does not know the essence of [Stover's]Vaapad nor its true function. Anakin believed that Mace was "cutting loose" based on what he felt coming from Mace's presence in the Force:

"Their blades flared and flashed, crashing together with bursts of fire, weaving nets of killing energy in exchanges so fast that Anakin could not truly see them -- but he could feel them in the Force. The Force itself roiled and burst and crashed around them, boiling with power and lightspeed ricochets of lethal intent. And it was darkening. Anakin could feel how the Force fed upon the shadow's murderous exaltation; he could feel fury spray into the Force though some poisonous abscess had crested in both their hearts. There was no Jedi restraint here. Mace Windu was cutting loose."

-- Revenge of the Sith: Senior Novelization

But Mace was "submerged" in Vaapad to the point that he didn't even exist as an independent being:

"Mace was deep in it now: submerged in Vaapad, swallowed by it, he no longer truly existed as an independent being."

-- Revenge of the Sith: Senior Novelization

To top it off, Mace was drawing all of Palpatine's darkness and negative emotions into his innermost being through Vaapad in an infinite loop:

"Vaapad is a channel for darkness, and that darkness flowed both ways. He accepted the furious speed of the Sith Lord, drew the shadow's rage and power into his inmost center -- and let it fountain out again. He reflected the fury upon its source as a lightsaber redirects a blaster bolt. 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. He had learned that it is fear that gives the darkness power. He was not afraid. The darkness had no power over him. But -- neither did he have power over it. Vaapad made him an open channel, half of a superconducting loop completed by the shadow; they became a standing wave of battle that expanded into every cubic centimeter of the Chancellor's office. There was no scrap of carpet nor shred of chair that might not at any second disintegrate in flares of red or purple; lampstands became brief shields, sliced into segments that whirled through the air; couches became terrain to be climbed for advantage or overleapt in retreat. But there was still only the cycle of power, the endless loop, no wound taken on either side, not even the possibility of fatigue."

-- Revenge of the Sith: Senior Novelization

In reality, Anakin was sensing Palpatine's signature in the Force, which was being channelled into and through Mace's inner being. Moreover, this observation is from Anakin's perspective, but in the movie, Anakin never arrives until the duel is over:

https://youtu.be/7_dwkjQHre0 -- (1:55-2:08)

As per the legends continuity canon guidelines, a duel between Mace and Sidious occurring while Anakin is present is non-canon, and therefore so are his observations about said non-canon duel. As with before, not only does the text itself not support Silver's claims, but it's all non-canon in general.

False Assertion #3: Mace's Vaapad was amped by Sidious' darkness

This can be debunked by pointing out that Stover really has absolutely no clue what Vaapad is and essentially made up his own version. Stover completely transformed Vaapad from a lightsaber style into a Force ability. Silver contends that Vaapad harnesses darkness, not the dark side, but fails to understand that these are more or less the same thing. For a Force user, negative emotions(i.e, "inner darkness") = dark side power. That's how you draw from the dark side. Mace gains no real combative benefit from channeling inner darkness without succumbing to it unless he's tapping into actual power.

Granted, Stover does state that Vaapad is a style of lightsaber combat, and that it is a fighting style:

"Vaapad, the seventh form of lightsaber combat, takes its name from a notoriously dangerous predator native to the moons of Sarapin: a vaapad attacks its prey with whipping strikes of its blindingly fast tentacles."

-- Revenge of the Sith: Senior Novelization

"Because Vaapad is more than a fighting style. It is a state of mind: a channel for darkness."

-- Revenge of the Sith: Senior Novelization

But he contradicts this concept with the single function-explanatory definition he repeatedly provides; namely, that Vaapad is just a mindset that enables the user to absorb and channel the dark side's power:

"Vaapad is as aggressive and powerful as its namesake, but its power comes at great risk: immersion in Vaapad opens the gates that restrain one's inner darkness. To use Vaapad, a Jedi must allow himself to enjoy the fight; he must give himself over to the thrill of battle. The rush of winning. Vaapad is a path that leads through the penumbra of the dark side."

-- Revenge of the Sith: Senior Novelization

"Mace was deep in it now: submerged in Vaapad, swallowed by it, he no longer truly existed as an independent being. Vaapad is a channel for darkness, and that darkness flowed both ways. He accepted the furious speed of the Sith Lord, drew the shadow's rage and power into his inmost center -- and let it fountain out again. He reflected the fury upon its source as a lightsaber redirects a blaster bolt."

-- Revenge of the Sith: Senior Novelization

"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. He had learned that it is fear that gives the darkness power. He was not afraid. The darkness had no power over him. But -- neither did he have power over it. Vaapad made him an open channel, half of a superconducting loop completed by the shadow; they became a standing wave of battle that expanded into every cubic centimeter of the Chancellor's office."

-- Revenge of the Sith: Senior Novelization

"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."

-- Revenge of the Sith: Senior Novelization

Heck, Mace uses Vaapad to reflect Palpatine's lightning, which is a Force ability:

"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."

-- Revenge of the Sith: Senior Novelization

Going by Stover's definition, and his portrayal of how it actually works, Vaapad isn't a lightsaber fighting style -- it's a Force ability that converts the user into a channel for the dark side. When Mace used Vaapad to fight, he didn't even use any real lightsaber skill, instead relying on the Force autopilot:

"Mace was deep in it now: submerged in Vaapad, swallowed by it, he no longer truly existed as an independent being."

-- Revenge of the Sith: Senior Novelization

"Vaapad made him an open channel, half of a superconducting loop completed by the shadow; they became a standing wave of battle that expanded into every cubic centimeter of the Chancellor's office. There was no scrap of carpet nor shred of chair that might not at any second disintegrate in flares of red or purple; lampstands became brief shields, sliced into segments that whirled through the air; couches became terrain to be climbed for advantage or overleapt in retreat. But there was still only the cycle of power, the endless loop, no wound taken on either side, not even the possibility of fatigue. Impasse. Which might have gone on forever, if Vaapad were Mace's only gift. The fighting was effortless for him now; he let his body handle it without the intervention of his mind."

-- Revenge of the Sith: Senior Novelization

The Force was guiding Mace's body -- and subsequently, his blade -- to effortlessly stalemate Sidious. Without any use of combat skill by Mace. Which entirely contradicts all the other lore on the issue of Vaapad, as they define it as an actual lightsaber combat discipline:

"VAAPAD: A style of lightsaber combat developed by Mace Windu with the assistance of Sora Bulq, prior to the Clone Wars. Derived from the Juyo discipline, Vaapad was an aggressive collection of maneuvers considered to be part of Form VII. As such, Vaapad was considered extremely close to the dark side of the Force and was forbidden to all but the most skilled Jedi Masters."

-- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia

"Mace demonstrated that he was a formidable warrior. He applied his Vaapad-style of lightsaber combat to cut down scores of droids and other enemies on Geonosis."

-- The Official Star Wars Fact File #108

"Regarded as one of the best lightsaber fighters of the Jedi Order, Mace is a master of combat techniques that sometimes tread dangerously close to dark-side practices."

-- Ultimate Star Wars

"A weapon was only as dangerous as its master's fighting skill, and Mace was one of the most formidable bladesmen that the Order had ever seen. He developed his own fighting style that became known as Vaapad(named after a beast of the same name from Sarapin). This highly advanced fighting form, which was classified as Form VII in Jedi sparring sessions, was dangerous to both opponents and users. It involved such a focus on physical power and required such a large and constant stream of Force control that it risked tipping the inexperienced user to the dark side."

-- The Official Star Wars Fact Files Relaunched #77

"A weapon is only as dangerous as its master's fighting skill, and Mace was one of the most formidable bladesmen that the Order had ever seen. He developed his own fighting style that became known as Vaapad(named after a beast of the same name from Sarapin). This highly advanced fighting form, which was classified as Form VII in Jedi sparring sessions, was dangerous to both opponents and users. It involved such a focus on physical power and required such a large and constant stream of Force control that it risked tipping the inexperienced user to the dark side."

-- The Official Star Wars Fact File #112

"While best known as a prominent general in the Clone Wars, Mace Windu was also Master of the Jedi Order for a time as well as the originator of the Vaapad style of lightsaber combat."

-- Star Wars: Force Collection

"Sora Bulq had worked with Mace on the development of the Form VII style of lightsaber combat -- Vaapad."

-- The Official Star Wars Fact File #108

"Of the seven forms of lightsaber combat, Mace is a master of Form VII, an intense regimen that cuts dangerously close to the abilities of Sith-trained duelists."

-- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide

"Mace was considered among the best lightsaber fighters in the history of the Jedi. Only the most skilled of the Order could master the Form VII discipline of combat, the aggressive nature of which trod dangerously close to the dark side. He also developed a new fighting style, which he passed on to his more capable students."

-- The Official Star Wars Fact File #58

"Mace was considered among the best lightsaber fighters in the history of the Jedi. Only the most skilled members of the Order could master the Form VII discipline of combat, the aggressive nature of which trod dangerously close to the dark side. He also developed a new fighting style, elements of which he passed on to his more capable students."

-- The Official Star Wars Fact File Relaunched #8

"Mace's lightsaber technique synthesizes deadly Form VII with a newly created form known as Vaapad. A Force user who practices this form might skirt too closely to the dark side."

-- Revenge of the Sith: Visual Dictionary

"Sora Bulq was one of the greatest lightsaber instructors the Jedi order had ever known, perfecting the various forms of combat techniques, both classical and experimental. He even helped Mace Windu perfect the art of Vaapad, the seventh form of lightsaber combat so intense and dangerous, that to practice it was to tread perilously close to the dark side."

-- StarWars.com: Databank(old)

"Bulq admitted his transgression to Windu. His experimentation with Vaapad was the gateway to the dark side. He had not mastered the deadly lightsaber form -- it had mastered him."

-- StarWars.com: Databank(old)

"In his day, Mace was one of the best lightsaber fighters of the Jedi order. It was said only two opponents ever bested him -- Yoda, and Dooku. Only the most skilled of the Jedi could master the his Form VII discipline of combat -- the deadly technique known as Vaapad -- for its aggressive nature treaded dangerously upon dark side practices."

-- StarWars.com: Databank(old)

"The combination of Mace's fighting skills and his trusty lightsaber made him one of the foremost warriors of the Jedi Order. He used his skills to battle his way through the Battle of Geonosis, and even beheaded the bounty hunter Jango Fett with a carefully executed Vaapad move."

-- The Official Star Wars Fact File #112

"On a quest to reunite the divided ranks of the Jedi, Mace Windu is forced to confront the same Jedi sword-master whom he had tutored in the legendary lightsaber regimen known as Vaapad."

-- Jedi: Mace Windu #1

"A skilled lightsaber instructor, this Weequay Jedi helped Mace Windu perfect the art of Vaapad, the seventh form of lightsaber combat -- and one so intense and dangerous, to practice it was to tread perilously close to the dark side."

-- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia

To the best of my knowledge, only 4 total sources contradict this idea. Setting aside the Revenge of the Sith novel(written by Stover), there's Shatterpoint(written by Stover), Jedi vs Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force(contributed to by Stover), and the Essential Guide to Warfare. I submit that Stover's portrayal of Vaapad's function contradicts the bulk of wider lore and is therefore invalid.

Subsequently, Mace's ability to channel Sidious' fury/power disappears and so does his resulting amplification. Vaapad is just another style of lightsaber combat, like Juyo or Shi-Cho.

False Assertion #4: Mace only succeeded in stalemating Sidious before using Shatterpoint

This is a contradiction. Mace's Vaapad usage according to Stover enabled him to stalemate Sidious, but that's not what happened in the G-canon movie or script. Sidious was winning the fight at this point. He drove Mace down the hall:

https://youtu.be/7_dwkjQHre0

(0:50-0:55)

And he even managed to tag Mace with a Force Push:

"Jedi Master MACE WINDU and the Sith Lord fight their way down the hallway and into the main office area. PALPATINE is able to use the Force to slam MACE against the wall, but he recovers before the Chancellor can cut him down."

-- Revenge of the Sith: Official Script

For the first portion of the fight, Sidious was winning. It was in no way a stalemate. Now, Stover does include the Force Push:

"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: Senior Novelization

But according to Stover, the Force Push only occurs when Mace disengages and cuts at the window, a distraction that allows Sidious to use the Force. But in the movie and script, Mace only cuts at the window in the final leg of the fight, when both combatants are present, and Sidious only Force Pushes Mace earlier in the middle of the fight. Furthermore, according to Stover, the reason he broke off to cut at the window was because of his use of Shatterpoint which lead him to Anakin:

"While his blade spun and crackled, while his feet slid and his weight shifted and his shoulders turned in precise curves of their own direction, his mind slid along the circuit of dark power, tracing it back to its limitless source. Feeling for its shatterpoint. He found a knot of fault lines in the shadow's future; he chose the largest fracture and followed it back to the here and the now -- and it led him, astonishingly, to a man standing frozen in the slashed-open doorway. Mace had no need to look; the presence in the Force was familiar, and was as uplifting as sunlight breaking through a thunderhead. The chosen one was here. Mace disengaged from the shadow's blade and leapt for the window; he slashed away the transparisteel with a single flourish."

-- Revenge of the Sith: Senior Novelization

But as we've already established, Anakin did not arrive until after the fight's conclusion. It should also be noted that Mace was losing the initial fight only because his inner peace was shattered by various Force attacks (which I will cover later on) used by Sidious in the first stage of the fight:

"Mace Windu was alone. Sidious kept up the pressure even as Mace sought to find the still point in himself that would allow the Force to flow. He retreated through the Chancellor's offices, always defending. Darth Sidious was relentless, his fury lending him mastery of the dark side and of the battle. However, in the greater space offered by the Chancellor's public office, Mace was able to somehow find the inner peace he sought. Their opposite energies now more balanced, Sith and Jedi locked their lightsabers. Slowly, slowly, Mace began to bear down on Sidious."

-- The Official Star Wars Fact Files Relaunched #25

When Mace balanced himself once more, he took the upper hand and eventually disarmed his foe.

False Assertion #5: Palpatine planned the fight beforehand, proving he was holding back

To be brief, this does not preclude Mace from being better than Sidious. His plan could simply have gone awry, due to underestimating the abilities of his opponents.

False Assertion #6: Yoda is superior to Mace in lightsaber combat and the Force, but he only equaled Sidious, proving that Mace is inferior

Yoda did not stalemate Sidious in any category of direct combat. In regard to the Force, he ragdolled Sidious:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/HDUPLZoogFN7ebDe6

And he overpowered his lightning with a lightsaber:

"The Dark Lord drops his lightsaber but recovers with a BLAST OF ENERGY from his hands that surrounds YODA. YODA is deflecting the Sith Lord's lightning bolts. The energy bolts begin to arc back on the Emperor. It looks as if the Dark Lord is doomed."

-- Revenge of the Sith: Official Script

Yoda then directly overpowered Sidious' lightning while unarmed:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/UfZGLygZ4sisL1L5A

As for lightsaber combat, Yoda outdueled and disarmed Sidious:

"Their swords CLASH. The battle is extremely fast and furious. PALPATINE seeks refuge in the vast Senate Chamber. He gets into the Chancellor's podium and it starts to rise up into the Arena. YODA makes a giant leap into the control pod. The sword fighting is intense in the confined space. Yoda unleashes a ferocious assault on PALPATINE, causing him to almost go over the edge. The Dark Lord drops his lightsaber but recovers with a BLAST OF ENERGY from his hands that surrounds YODA."

-- Revenge of the Sith: Official Script

"He drove Palpatine back across the room, into the Chancellor’s podium. Palpatine hit the controls, and the podium began to rise, carrying him up into the Senate. But the podium moved slowly; Yoda had plenty of time to flip himself into the air and land beside the Emperor, to continue the fight. As the podium rose into the Senate arena, the fight intensified. Twice, Yoda came near to pushing Palpatine over the edge. They were high enough now that a fall could be fatal, even to a Sith Lord. Or a Jedi Master. The cramped space within the pod left little room for maneuvering. An end, I must make. Yoda redoubled the speed of his blows. Palpatine parried one, then another — and then the red lightsaber spun out of his hands and over the edge. Yoda raised his weapon for the final blow."

-- Revenge of the Sith: Junior Novelization

So no, Yoda being better than Mace does not make the latter inferior to Sidious, because Yoda is also better than Sidious.

False Assertion #7: Saesee Tiin held his own against Mace, proving that he isn't on Sidious' level

First of all, that was essentially TPM Mace, well over a decade before his prime in ROTS. Second, this doesn't necessarily prove that Saesee and Mace were on the same level even then. Saesee very well could merely have been holding his own, while still being outclassed. We saw a perfect example of this in Darth Maul's duel with Anoon Bondara. In that setting, Maul outclassed his opponent, as both within moments realized that Maul was the superior combatant:

"The Jedi was obviously a master of the teras kasi fighting arts, as well, judging by the smooth way he parried and counterattacked. Still, within the first few moments of the engagement, Darth Maul knew that he himself was the superior fighter. He could tell that the Jedi knew it, too, but Maul also knew that it didn't matter... Darth Maul had seen the grim realization in the eyes of his foe: the knowledge that the Twi’lek could not defeat his adversary. Once defeat was conceded in the mind, its reality was inevitable. It was only a matter of time."

-- Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter

But despite Maul's best efforts, he was unable to penetrate Bondara's guard:

"Maul knew he had to dispatch the Jedi quickly, before Pavan once again vanished into the labyrinth of Coruscant's downlevels. He pressed the attack viciously, blocking and thrusting, the twin radiant blades spinning a web of light about him... Maul bared his teeth. He would not lose his quarry again! He doubled his efforts, pressing the attack hard, hammering away at the Twi'lek's defenses. The Jedi gave ground, but Maul was still unable to slash through his guard... He pressed his attack to an even higher intensity, driving the Jedi back toward his speeder bike, intending to pin him between the dual-bladed lightsaber and the bike."

-- Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter

Bondara ultimately had no chance of winning, and wasn't even in the same tier as Maul under those circumstances, but he was still capable of holding his own. I.E., Bondara in that environment is perhaps an upper tier 8, while Maul is a lower tier 9. In different classes of skill, but close enough that Bondara can put up a decent fight. This is easily what could have been the case between Saesee Tiin and TPM Mace. Saesee is older than Mace, so it's plausible for him at that age to have that standing with Mace, but lose it in the ensuing years as while both inevitably experience growth, Mace improves at a faster rate and thus the already solid gap between them gets ever-wider.

False Assertions #8-10: Mace failed to achieve the same level of Vaapad against Sora Bulq, Asajj Ventress, and Dooku, proving that his fight with Sidious was circumstantial

There's no evidence that Mace used Vaapad in those fights. Mace is also a master of Juyo, and indeed, it's heavily, heavily implied that Juyo is his primary technique:

"Mace was considered among the best lightsaber fighters in the history of the Jedi. Only the most skilled of the Order could master the Form VII discipline of combat, the aggressive nature of which trod dangerously close to the dark side. He also developed a new fighting style, which he passed on to his more capable students."

-- The Official Star Wars Fact File #58

"Mace was considered among the best lightsaber fighters in the history of the Jedi. Only the most skilled members of the Order could master the Form VII discipline of combat, the aggressive nature of which trod dangerously close to the dark side. He also developed a new fighting style, elements of which he passed on to his more capable students."

-- The Official Star Wars Fact File Relaunched #8

There's nothing to indicate that Mace used Vaapad, and not Juyo, in any of the aforementioned fights.

Inevitable Follow-up False Assertion: #11 Mace still struggled against Asajj Ventress, proving he isn't on Sidious' level

This incorrect concept stems not only from the perceived longevity of their clash(7 panels), but by the following statement:

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

-- The Official Star Wars Fact Files #108

Problem is, according to the actual comic, Mace was holding back. Out of curiosity, he was refraining from killing Ventress and was trying to bring her in for questioning:

"You are a stranger to me. You are skilled -- Although how you came to be skilled, I don't know. There is darkness in you, but you are not Sith. Do not assume, however, that we are equals. We are not. Neither your weapons nor your skills are enough. I would prefer you alive to answer my questions, but I will kill you if you insist."

-- Jedi: Mace Windu #2

Despite this, both Ventress and Mace agree that she isn't capable of surviving, and she flees. Meaning that a holding-back AOTC Mace outclassed Asajj. This fight does not demonstrate that Ventress is in any way comparable to Mace.

Inevitable Follow-up False Assertion #12: Mace still struggled against Sora Bulq, proving he isn't on Sidious' level

Setting aside the idea that Bulq could have performed similarly to Bondara, and that this was AOTC Mace, what exactly is there to indicate that AOTC Sidious would not have also struggled -- to a lesser degree to be sure -- to dispatch Bulq? Dooku's perceived stomping of Bulq+Tholme? When the comic showed their fight, it was already in motion. We didn't see all of it, just the latter end:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/bbDneP7QayMYo17YA

We do not know what happened before. What we do see, is Dooku consecutively dismissing Tholme and then disarming Bulq. By all means, a solid trouncing. However, Bulq at this point was severely mentally hindered:

"Though Bulq proved to be alive, his spirit was irrevocably damaged by the outbreak of the Clone Wars."

-- StarWars.com: Databank(old)

"Bulq had trained many of the Jedi combatants who perished in the Geonosis arena, including his then-current Padawan, Galdos Stouff... The Weequay Jedi was dispirited by the loss of so many of his students."

-- StarWars.com: Databank(old)

"Bulq trained many of the Jedi combatants who perished in the Geonosis arena, and was dispirited by the loss."

-- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia

Moreover, he was likely injured, given that he was aboard this gunship:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/zKtRdMy5YnCzG7BA6

And all of its occupants -- including Sora -- were presumed dead, so severe was the takedown:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/mspHXWRwKJktFZeV7

http://web.archive.org/web/20100227232547/http://blogs.starwars.com/holocron/10

He would also be exhausted from his previous battle in the Geonosis arena, as his duel on Bakura occurs shortly after that battle(more than likely almost immediately after, since Tholme preemptively deduced where Dooku would flee and thus it can be assumed that he met him there in short order):

https://photos.app.goo.gl/SwGRophRcYuzRjWg9

"The wider battle was not going the Jedi's way. The mass of droids was gradually wearing them down, and Jedi were falling all around."

-- The Official Star Wars Fact Files #108

"MACE WINDU, OBI-WAN, ANAKIN, PADME, and an exhausted group of about TWENTY JEDI stand in the center of the arena surr ounded by a ring of BATTLE DROIDS."

-- Attack of the Clones: Official Script

To top it off, Dooku stated that it was smart of Tholme to bring Sora Bulq to fight Dooku:

"You were always clever, Master Tholme. You anticipated my returning here. Cleverer still to bring Sora Bulq with you."

-- Star Wars Republic: Trackdown

Why would Dooku say such a thing, if Bulq was mere fodder to him? Why would it be clever of Tholme to bring with him a fighter who is not capable of challenging Dooku? Reality is, Dooku is conceding that Bulq is indeed a threat, or was when in prime condition. Which is consistent with the wider lore, as Bulq is stated to not only be among the greatest lightsaber instructors in the history of the Jedi Order:

"Sora Bulq was one of the greatest lightsaber instructors the Jedi order had ever known, perfecting the various forms of combat techniques, both classical and experimental."

-- StarWars.com: Databank(old)

... But also to have been Mace Windu's sparring partner, implying some level of comparability:

"Discontent with the Republic, Bulq was one of several prominent Jedi who turned their backs on their duties. Bulq united four of these Jedi -- Jeisel, K'Kruhk, Rhad Tarn and his former Padawan Mira -- at his family estate on the Sriluurian moon of Ruul. He extended an invitation to parley with the Jedi Council, and Mace Windu, Bulq's old sparring-partner, soon arrived on Ruul."

-- StarWars.com: Databank(old)

So yeah. Dooku thrashed an exhausted, likely injured, and mentally hindered Bulq. Dooku considers normal Bulq a threat to himself which is further supported by Bulq being Mace's sparring partner.

Bulq's duel with Dooku does not contradict his ability to contend with people of AOTC Mace/Sidious' calibre. Nor does his prolonged duel with Tholme, as Bulq was admittedly toying with him:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/3SBwy1LusixXyvRb8

https://photos.app.goo.gl/kuS4ebKthdusagct6

The length of his preceding fight with Tholme is made irrelevent by the fact that Bulq points out that he had to kill Oppo Rancisis quickly for lack of time, implying that Rancisis would have actually challenged Bulq in a fair fight and Bulq had been hoping to experience such difficulty in his fight with Tholme. He confirms that Tholme has failed to provide any form of challenge in the next sentence and proceeds to strike and then disarm Tholme.

Bulq's fight with Quinlan Vos does not contradict his ability to hold his own against Mace either. During the first leg of the fight, Bulq isn't trying to kill Quinlan -- he and Dooku are trying to get him to embrace the Dark Side:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/iKtW9FWzWEQd8Fte8

https://photos.app.goo.gl/fg5reNefnCjBehDY9

https://photos.app.goo.gl/u1irsEjgQMiCv9Zs8

Indeed, Bulq outright states that he will kill Quinlan if he doesn't draw on the Dark Side, confirming that he wasn't going all-out then:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/UoHMHoExzvGfbpqd6

Aayla Secura reaches out to Quinlan's mind through the Force, and helps him resist the pull of darkness. Bulq then ragdolls Quinlan and is about to kill him (presumably because of Quinlan's refusal to fully turn) when Quinlan achieves inner peace and cheapshots him, similar to how both Darth Maul bested Kenobi and Vader, only to lose when off-guard because of an inner emotional accomplishment on the part of his beaten foe.

Quinlan only "contended" with Bulq when the latter was holding back, and when Bulq got serious, he quickly subdued his opponent.

In summary, Bulq holding his own isn't an anti-feat for Mace, it's just good for Bulq, who was already his sparring partner before AOTC and is regarded as a direct threat by Dooku, who while severely exhausted has held off an all-out Yoda for nearly 40 seconds.

False Assertion #13: Mace struggled against General Grievous, proving he isn't on Sidious' level

Their relevant fight was too brief to conclude that Mace truly struggled. This right here is the only excerpt that can be used to argue for Grievous putting up a fight:

"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. Grievous was well trained in the Jedi arts. Mace 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."

-- Labryinth of Evil

This does give the appearance of a hindered Grievous successfully holding off Mace, seemingly demonstrating that the two are similar in combat ability. Unfortunately, that's not actually the case. Following the above excerpt, the novel shifts to what's happening between Kit Fisto and Grievous' two MagnaGuards. Now, unless Fisto just sat there and enjoyed the view, he would also have immediately engaged his foes as Mace did. Therefore, this passage happens concurrently with the initial fight between Mace and Grievous:

"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."

-- Labryinth of Evil

Fisto was quite literally running rings around his adversaries, his duel comprised entirely of dancing around the two MagnaGuards. And with each rotation he took a limb off each one of them until they fell. Unless Fisto moved sluggishly, it wouldn't take any more than a few seconds at best for this fight to end, given just how much damage the guards were taking. Subsequently, we can conclude that Mace's initial clash with Grievous lasted the same amount of time, which would be extremely brief.

The final portion of Mace's duel cannot be used simply because it does not qualify as Grievous' standard ability. For this part, Grievous had used his computers successfully analyze and mimic the Vaapad manuevers Mace had displayed. In essence, Mace was defending against his own attacks, his own skill:

"But he didn't know Vaapad -- the technique of dark flirtation in which Mace excelled... 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."

-- Labryinth of Evil

This is similar to how, in the Civil War film, Iron Man was outmatched in h2h against Cap and used his AI to fight for him.

False Assertion #14: Kar Vastor beat Mace despite him using Vaapad

Ignoring the fact that this fight is from Shatterpoint, and therefore falls under an argument I've detailed earlier, this isn't even true. Mace absolutely trounced Vastor when he used Stover's Vaapad to enhance his speed. After immersing himself into Stover's Vaapad, Mace immediately stomps Kar. He dodges his attack and then consecutively lands a knockout blow and a grazing kick:

"Mace stood motionless except for the heaving of his chest. He knew already he could not match Vastor for raw power. With each breath, he stripped away another layer of restraint and inhibition. Another layer of serenity. He had to move his inner peace out of the way to let in the joy. The thrill. The sheer okay-why-not-let's-fight. Because Vaapad was more than just a form of lightsaber combat. It was a state of mind. Night had deepened upon the jungle, and around them glowvines began to pulse faintly. To use Vaapad now, out here, was incredibly dangerous—almost as dangerous as not using Vaapad. The ultimate answer for power is skill. 'Want to be impressed?' Mace said. 'Let's see the impression my boot makes on your face.' Without warning, Vastor's stalk became a lightning lunge, fingers hooked like talons, his arms sweeping wide to close on Mace once more—but Mace wasn't there anymore. A slight sidestep and a weave of his head snuck him to the outside of Vastor's lunge, and his fist whipped backhand to snap Vastor in the base of the skull as he passed: a knockout blow. But Vastor must have felt it coming; he pitched forward, rolling with the punch so that it flipped him end for end. He landed in perfect balance and sprang again, straight up; the kick Mace had aimed at his kidneys only grazed his calf muscle."

-- Shatterpoint

Then Kar attacks again and is incapacitated with a single punch:

"He used the impact to whirl in the air so that he could fall upon the Jedi Master like a branch leopard taking a tusker. But what he fell upon was Mace's fist, driven upward into his solar plexus by the combined power of the Force and nearly fifty years of Jedi combat training. Mace's hand sank in to the wrist, and Vastor's fighting snarl became an agonized struggle for breath."

-- Shatterpoint

Mace, amplified by Stover's Vaapad, then ragdolls him with the Force:

"Mace used the Force to hurl him off and send him tumbling through the air to slam into the flank of an agitated akk dog. Eyes glazing, half stunned, the lor pelek slid bonelessly down the akk's armored ribs, and staggered as his feet skidded over gnarled roots."

-- Shatterpoint

Mace runs up to him, and taunts him. Kar attacks again and misses every single time, while Mace lands no less than six hits:

"Before he could find his balance, Mace was on him. 'Impressed yet?' Standing toe to toe, the top of Mace's head barely came to the level of Vastor's chin, and you could have tucked Mace's whole thick-muscled upper body inside Vastor's chest with room to spare. And even hurt, lurching drunkenly, Vastor still could whip his arms in blindingly fast raking slaps at Mace's head and wounded neck. But where Vastor's speed was blinding, Mace's was invisible. Not one of those slaps connected. Before Vastor could even focus his eyes, Mace had hit him six times: two thundering hooks to his short ribs, a knee slamming hard into the same thigh he'd hit before, an elbow snapping up to the point of his chin, and two devastating palm strikes to either hinge of his jaw. An ordinary man would have been unconscious."

-- Shatterpoint

And Kar was getting stronger:

"Vastor seemed to be getting stronger."

-- Shatterpoint

Kar attacks again, and Mace immediately intercepts his blows with physical strikes that disable Kar's arms:

"Vastor fired another of those blinding slaps. This time, instead of ducking, Mace countered with a whirring hook that met the lor pelek's swinging arm directly on the nerve that ran up the inside of the biceps. Vastor threw the other even harder—which only made the inside of that arm connect that much harder with Mace's counterhook. Vastor's mighty arms spasmed and dropped limply to his sides. 'This is called Vaapad, Kar.' A fierce light burned in Mace's eyes."

-- Shatterpoint

Then Mace punches Kar in the nose twice before the latter could even blink:

"A fierce light burned in Mace's eyes. 'How many arms do you see?' Then he hit Vastor twice in the nose before the lor pelek could even blink. Vastor howled in pain and raging disbelief, falling back against the akk dog's flank once more, twisting and turning to try to find some way to avoid the Jedi's flashing hands."

-- Shatterpoint

Kar runs away as Mace initially continues to pummel him into oblivion before eventually allowing him to seemingly flee:

"Vastor howled in pain and raging disbelief, falling back against the akk dog's flank once more, twisting and turning to try to find some way to avoid the Jedi's flashing hands. Mace stayed with him, pinning him to the akk's flank, fists whirling through Vaapad flurries, striking not to disable or to kill, but instead to hurt: stinging flicks to soft tissue, smashing ears and nose, stabbing up under the chin. The akk dog suddenly lurched away from them, giving Vastor half a meter of clearance. The lor pelek sprang sideways, diving away. Mace let him go."

-- Shatterpoint

Mace did not fail to achieve the same level of Stover's Vaapad against Kar that he did against Sidious. Indeed, he did so with far greater results. While with Stover's Vaapad he only stalemated Sidious and was still less powerful, with Stover's Vaapad he clowned Kar and ragdolled him. This is despite Kar, in the non-canon Shatterpoint world, being faster, stronger, and vastly more powerful than regular Mace:

"Vastor was younger, stronger, faster, and immensely more powerful, and he wielded weapons that could not be harmed by the Jedi blade. Mace couldn't win such a battle on his best day, and this day was far from his best: he was exhausted, badly wounded, and heartsick."

-- Shatterpoint

So yeah. Mace has demonstrated a regular ability to achieve a massively heightened state of power at will through Stover's Vaapad. Using this ability against dark siders, Mace becomes massively amped and can enter the level of beings who are normally far more powerful than him. Within Stover's definition of Vaapad, Mace is fully capable of doing this any time he wishes.

Note: Having already debunked the legitimacy of Stover's portrayal as to how Vaapad functions, I'm not endorsing the material put forth by Shatterpoint. It is not valid canon in either continuity. I am merely addressing Silver's incorrect statements from all angles.

False Assertion #15: Sidious killed Mace's three companions before he could react, proving that he isn't on Sidious' level

This is misleading. Yes, this happened, but it was replete with circumstances that drastically tipped the situation in Sidious' favor. To begin with, the Jedi underestimated him:

"Even upon learning of his true nature as a Dark Lord of the Sith, the Jedi underestimated Darth Sidious when they confronted him."

-- Star Wars: Force Collection

Indeed, the Jedi didn't expect him to greatly resist, with the lethal ferocity and fury of his attack being a surprise that they had not and could not have predicted:

"The fury of Darth Sidious' attack on the Jedi Masters who had come to arrest him was beyond anything they anticipated."

-- The Official Star Wars Fact Files Relaunched #25

"While the Jedi might have thought him capable of some resistance, none could have predicted Sidious' lethal ferocity with a lightsaber. This is one of a great many surprises Sidious intends to spring upon the Order."

-- Star Wars: Force Collection

Plus, Sidious used a dark side confusion haze on them:

"His innocent appearance as Chancellor Palpatine, along with an application of a concentrated dark side confusion haze, enabled Darth Sidious to take down Agen Kolar, Kit Fisto, and Saesee Tiin. This left Mace Windu to face the Sith Lord."

-- Lightsabers: A Guide to Weapons of the Force

For the icing on the cake, Sidious concentrated a wall of hatred, described as a "thousand years strong," and blasted the Jedi with it to confuse and disorient them, as well as shatter their focus:

""A wall of focused hatred, a thousand years strong, blasted the Jedi as Sidious leapt at them, twisting through the air and shrieking with maddening anger. The Jedi Masters fell back, confused. Agen Kolar, so disoriented he had lost sight of his enemy, was cut down instantly. The Sith tore his blade free and slashed it into Saesee Tiin, killing him too. Mace Windu and Kit Fisto tried to rally, attacking as one. Fisto floundered, his focus shattered. He too fell. Mace Windu was alone."

-- The Official Star Wars Fact Files Relaunched #25

And before the fight began, Sidious had been gathering his power:

"Releasing his anger as he focused his strength, the Sith Lord accused the Jedi of treason."

-- The Official Star Wars Fact Files Relaunched #25

To sum it up, Sidious, having just spent time focusing his strength, only speedblitzed the Jedi with Mace -- who had greatly underestimated him -- after using a dark side confusion haze on them, and blasting them with a wall of concentrated hatred that disrupted their inner peace, shattered their focus, disoriented and confused them. George Lucas has outright confirmed that Mace is capable of competing with Sidious, which refutes the idea that Sidious can stomp him as he did the others:

"You have to be either Mace or Yoda to compete with the Emperor"

-- The Making of Revenge of the Sith(George Lucas)

The fact of the matter is, entirely contrary to what Silver is arguing, regardless of whether or not Mace legitimately beat Sidious, he can give him a run for his money, as per the creator of Star Wars.

Inevitable Follow-up False Assertion #16: Lucas' statement can mean amped Mace

Patently incorrect. Lucas does not say "You have to be either Mace with an amp or Yoda to compete with the Emperor." He just says Mace. Not amped Mace. To say his statement can mean anything otherwise is assigning a meaning that is just not there.

False Assertion #17: Mace only disarmed Sidious by using Sidious' fear of falling as a weapon

According to the novel, Mace thought he sensed Palpatine's fear and turned it into a weapon against him. He moved the fight out onto the window ledge where Sidious' perceived fear of slipping and falling on the slippery surface, made so by the rain, caused him to divert power to maintaining a solid grip and subsequently got disarmed:

"He could feel the end of this battle approaching, and so could the blur of Sith he faced; in the Force, the shadow had become a pulsar of fear. Easily, almost effortlessly, he turned the shadow's fear into a weapon: he angled the battle to bring them both out onto the window ledge. Out in the wind. Out with the lightning. Out on a rain-slicked ledge above a half-kilometer drop. Out where the shadow's fear made it hesitate. Out where the shadow's fear turned some of its Force-powered speed into a Force-powered grip on the slippery permacrete. Out where Mace could flick his blade in one precise arc and slash the shadow's lightsaber in half."

-- Revenge of the Sith: Senior Novelization

However, in the movie, the weather was fine during the duel. There was no rain, no storm. And as a result, no wet surface for Sidious to divert power for. Next.

False Assertion #18: Mace only disarmed Sidious by actually using Anakin's fear as a weapon

Another unfortunately invalid concept that is present only in the novel, where Anakin is present. In the movie, however, Anakin doesn't arrive until after Mace prevails.

False Assertion #19: Sidious could have killed Mace with lightning if he wanted to

The evidence cited in support of this is that the novel portrays Sidious as forcing Mace's blade back, with Vaapad being not strong enough to resist, and Mace not being strong enough to hold on against the barrage:

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

-- Revenge of the Sith: Senior Novelization

As usual, in reality the complete opposite happened. In the movie, Mace repeatedly overpowered Sidious' lightning:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/XgBP9BsLcgHYKVRDA

https://photos.app.goo.gl/rqmDxniNKRGKsrMM6

https://photos.app.goo.gl/owRdLSKFdaCef278A

Simple.

False Assertion #20: Sidious was holding back his full power then

Wrong. As per George Lucas, Sidious was initially trying to kill Mace with lightning:

"Okay, well, this sequence always started out with Mace overpowering Palpatine, and then Palpatine using his powers to try to destroy Mace, and Mace deflecting his rays with his lightsaber."

-- Revenge of the Sith: Director's Commentary(George Lucas)

And that's that.

False Assertion #21: Those statements are from the audience's point of view, Lucas proves this by immediately saying that Palpatine was feigning weakness

There is zero evidence to even remotely imply that Lucas' statements are solely from an audience PoV. That's completely made-up and baseless. Lucas is literally just telling us what's happening in the scene, and then providing commentary. It is, after all, a director's commentary.

And, his statement about Palpatine faking weakness doesn't mean he wasn't trying to kill Mace before, because Palpatine only started faking weakness towards the end of the power exchange, AFTER having his lightning be repeatedly overpowered. These events do not happen at the same time. Hence why Lucas specifically said "this part where he pretends to lose his power and be weak," after stating that Palpatine tried to kill him with lightning:

"Okay, well, this sequence always started out with Mace overpowering Palpatine, and then Palpatine using his powers to try to destroy Mace, and Mace deflecting his rays with his lightsaber. And it always was that Anakin cut the lightsaber out of his hand. But this part where he pretends to lose his power and be weak was something that I added later, cause this is, it moved the point where Anakin turns down to this moment right here, and you can see now, that it's very clear that he wants him to go on trial so he can pump him for information about how to get these powers."

-- George Lucas

Lucas states that Palpatine was trying to kill Mace with his lightning, and then started pretending he was too weak. Mace directly overpowered Sidious' lightning, which was fired with lethal intent, disproving the notion that Palpatine could have killed his foe with lightning if he wished.

False Assertion #22: Sidious allowed Mace to "beat" him

This is the easiest, simplest part. The movie script confirms that Mace legitimately disarmed Sidious:

"They stop as MACE forces PALPATINE to drop his sword."

-- Revenge of the Sith: Official Script

Mace "forced" Sidious to drop his blade. It literally does not get any clearer than this. This does not even allow the possibility of Palpatine allowing Mace to execute a move that makes him relinquish his weapon, because that would still be Palpatine willingly permitting himself to be disarmed. It was not voluntary. Mace forced Sidious to drop his lightsaber.

Keeping in mind that in both current canon and legends continuity, the movies are the highest canon sources, immovable material to which all other tales must align, let us review the facts:

#1: Mace's inner darkness was not amplified by Palpatine's betrayal; the source for this, the ROTS novel, depicts Mace as emotionally no-selling this blow and being in the mindset of a "pure Jedi Master," and other OOU sources state that he was basically unsurprised by the news, having already heavily suspected Palpatine which is also seen in the movie

#2: Anakin sensing darkness in Mace as he fought and saying that he ditched all restraint, was cutting loose, etc, doesn't prove that Mace's inner darkness was amplified because A) Mace was channeling Sidious' darkness into his innermost being without being affected by it, so Anakin was actually sensing Sidious' darkness, and B) Anakin in the movie wasn't there until after the fight ended and therefore his observations about a duel he never saw are invalid

#3: Mace was not amplified by Sidious through Vaapad, as Matther (the author of the ROTS novel) Stover's portrayal of Vaapad and its function conflicts with the wider lore, rendering itself contradictory and subsequently invalid

#4: Mace wasn't just stalemating Sidious initially, he was actually losing although this was because Sidious had earlier disrupted his inner peace and balance; when Mace regained his composure, he took the upper hand and eventually prevailed

#5: Palpatine planning the whole duel beforehand doesn't exclude Mace from legitimately besting him, as his plans could simply have failed

#6: Yoda, Mace's established superior, did not lose/at best stalemate Sidious, in the movies/script he both outdueled and overpowered Sidious whenever they clashed in direct combat, regardless of the category

#7: Saesee Tiin could easily have performed against Mace the way Anoon Bondara did against Maul, i.e. holding his own but being outclassed with no chance of winning, plus this was a pre-prime Mace who could have outgrown that standing by ROTS

#8-10: Mace easily could have used Juyo -- heavily implied to be his favoured technique -- and not Vaapad against Sora Bulq, Asajj Ventress, and Count Dooku, since it's not specifically stated anywhere that he used Vaapad and not Juyo in those instances

#11: Mace did not struggle against Ventress, a pre-prime version of him while holding back outclassed her to the point where she agreed that she was going to die and fled

#12: Sora Bulq contending with a pre-prime Mace is not an anti-feat because there's no evidence to suggest that he couldn't have performed similarly against AOTC Sidious, especially given that Count Dooku has admitted that Bulq as a fighter is a threat to him

#13: Mace's fight with General Grievous happened at the same time as Fisto's very brief fight with two MagnaGuards, and is therefore too short to say that Mace struggled

#14: Mace did not lose to Kar Vastor despite using Stover's Vaapad, he badly stomped him in both physical combat and the Force, he only lost in the end after dropping his guard and falling out of Stover's Vaapad

#15: Sidious did kill Mace's comrades despite his presence, but this was only after gathering power before the fight, applying a dark side confusion haze to the Jedi, and blasting them with a concentrated wall of hatred that disrupted their inner peace, shattered their focus, and disoriented and confused them, with the cherry on top being that the Jedi had underestimated Palpatine, were surprised by his lethal ferocity with a lightsaber, and hadn't expected significant resistance

#16: Lucas stated that regular Mace can give Palpatine a run for his money, he doesn't say only an amped Mace can do it, he just says Mace, and to infer otherwise is disingenuous

#17: Mace didn't only succeed in disarming Sidious because the latter out of seeming fear diverted power into maintaining a grip on the slippery and wet window ledge, because in the movie there was no storm or rain to cause such an environment in the first place

#18: Mace didn't use Shatterpoint to find Anakin watching them in the doorway, then unwittingly discover and use Anakin's fear as a weapon against Palpatine, because in the movie Anakin never arrives until after the fight has ended

#19-20: Sidious could not have killed Mace with lightning if he wished, as Mace actually overpowered his lightning in the movies, and George Lucas stated that Sidious was initially trying to kill Mace with his lightning, and that he only started taking weakness after being repeatedly overwhelmed

#21: Lucas' statements are not from the audience's point of view, there's nothing to indicate this; he's simply telling us what's happening in the scene and providing commentary

#22: Sidious didn't allow himself to be beaten, the official movie script unequivocally states that Mace directly forced Palpatine's disarming

And there you have it. Mace Windu legitimately outfought Darth Sidious in Revenge of the Sith.

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