In 1999, Darth Maul divided the world’s opinion with his brief appearance in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Some say he is one of the best characters in the whole Saga, others that he is just a cool character, and not an innocuous villain. Regardless, he is one of the coolest elements in the Prequel Trilogy – not that we have a lot of cool stuff. Too bad he died at the end of the movie – or not? It turns out that being cut in half and thrown into an elevator shaft is not exactly a death sentence in Star Wars. Here is the unknown truth of Darth Maul.
Darth Maul came from the planet of grudges
Remember Rancor, the monster that almost ate Luke Skywalker in The Return of the Jedi? It turns out that that thing was from the planet Dathomir – just like Darth Maul, along with a clan of witches using the Force called Nightsisters. The animated series Clone Wars shows the details of Maul’s education, such as the fact that he is the son of a great priestess of the Nightsisters, grew up practicing the magic of the Force and received a series of tribal tattoos all over his body.
The Force is strong in the family of Darth Maul
During his childhood in Dathomir, Maul had two brothers: Feral and Savage Opress. After Maul left his home world with Darth Sidious, both Feral and Savage Opress continued their training, following the traditions of their tribe. Eventually, Opress was chosen as an Sith apprentice by Asajj Ventress, one of the main villains of the Clone Wars series. And how did Ventress test Opress’s loyalty? Ordering him to kill his brother, Feral. If you think this is bad, don’t want to see the written test: pure trigonometry.
Brinks, I’m alive
When it comes to lightsaber fights, there are cool and mysterious ways to die, like when Obi-Wan Kenobi gave up his body shape during his duel with Darth Vader to strengthen Luke Skywalker’s connection with the Force. And then there are ways embarrassing and involuntarily fun to die, like when Darth Maul was cut in half and fell into an elevator shaft like an idiot.
But then, it’s hard to say goodbye to a good villain. Despite being cut in half, Darth Maul survived his duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Phantom Menace. Maul’s story of survival is detailed in the comics of The Clone Wars, The Sith Hunters. Using the same kind of power that kept Darth Vader alive after being crippled and burned in Episode III, Darth Maul managed to escape to the planet Lotho Minor. There, he went crazy, obsessed with getting revenge on Obi-Wan … And figured out how to make a new set of robotic-arachnid-legs – who ever? Eventually, Maul’s little brother, Savage Opress, rescued him from Lotho Minor and took him home. There, Maul’s mother helped him recover until he got a new pair of legs.
Curiosity: Darth Maul’s original legs discovered how to make a new robotic torso too! Maul’s legs have been washing dishes at Dex’s Diner ever since.
Revenge of the Sith
While spreading hell around the galaxy, Darth Maul and Savage Opress decided to go after not only Obi-Wan Kenobi, but also Maul’s former master: Darth Sidious, better known as Senator Palpatine. Obviously, the plan did not work. Sidious managed to defeat the brothers, killing Savage Opress and imprisoning Maul for a while. Who would have thought that confronting an all-powerful Master of the Dark Side of the Force who engineered a galactic civil war alone to become the future emperor of evil wouldn’t be a great idea?
Although The Clone Wars series has ended, Darth Maul has returned in the Star Wars Rebels series. This show follows the adventures of a group of freedom fighters, including a double Jedi and Padawan Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger. And it was during the second season that young Ezra met Darth Maul, who taught him the ways of the Dark Side. Fortunately for the new Rebellion movement, Maul’s training did not work and Ezra is still a good guy … So far.
Man of few words
So now you know everything about Darth Maul before and after his debut in The Phantom Menace. What you may not have noticed, however, is that it really only appears in the film for about 15 minutes. And while his epic lightsaber duel with Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Jinn is responsible for a good chunk of that screen time, he only said three sentences.
Obviously the final result didn’t go very well for Peter Serafinowicz, the British actor-comedian who voiced Maul. Interestingly, he realized that perhaps that role was not all that he dreamed of when he went to record Maul’s voice. He shared the recording booth with George Lucas himself, whose only direction was “make him look evil”.
When it comes to women, let’s just say that the first six Star Wars films just don’t have many. Two princesses, a bounty hunter with no history and a handful of aliens are the only women to appear in George Lucas’ films – which makes it even more interesting to know that there were plans for Darth Maul to be a woman.
In the early days of pre-production for The Phantom Menace, George Lucas explained that Darth Maul would be “a figure from his worst nightmare”. So conceptual artist Iain McCaig designed just that: an evil-looking Sith witch, full of bloody-looking braids. The concept evolved for Darth Maul from there, but the creators of the TV show The Clone Wars were inspired by McCaig’s original Sith witch project to create Maul’s mother, Talzin.
The future of Darth Maul
It’s hard to imagine that more than a decade after Darth Maul found his apparent death in The Phantom Menace, we would still have a lot of Darth Maul to enjoy. But his resurrection in the pages of the Star Wars comics and his relevance in the series means that this may still be just the beginning for Maul. With the third season of Star Wars Rebels continuing to present the hateful Sith, there is no way to guess where it might appear next time. Could Darth Maul make an appearance in Star Wars: Episode VIII or IX? Or in the spin-off films starring Han Solo and Lando Calrissian? Or even a Darth Maul solo film? It’s hard to say now, but one thing is clear: Darth Maul will still be one of Star Wars’ most intimidating, enduring and enigmatic villains for a long time.