Way back in 1999 Star Was fans were captivated by one character in The Phantom Menace, the red skin, tattoos and at the time unique double bladed lightsaber made the new villain Darth Maul stand out in a film that was doing all it could to be visually interesting the whole time anyway. Of course, even to the casual viewer, its pretty clear that Maul is beaten at the close of the film, cut in half by padawan Obi-Wan and his pieces cast into the Theed reactor shaft. That should have been that really, but if you thought that you clearly don’t know a damn thing about MERCHANDISING!
Maul returned from his not death a years later in both canon and real time making a surprise reappearance In Clone Wars in 2012. Returning as a horrifying cybernetic spiderlike form, we were treated to a long arc of Maul and his brother Savage gathering forces to create their own army to oppose the Republic and Separatists. The Shadow Collective was made up of gangsters, psychos and mercenaries and would be a constant thorn in the side of… well basically everyone in the known galaxy. The red menace (not Dennis) continued to plague the galaxy long after he was meant to and even survives into the original timeline as he meets the cast of Rebels and does his best to try and sway the conflicted Ezra Bridger to the Darkside. Most recently we have been treated to Maul pulling a few strings in the Clone Wars final season, showing us just how he escaped the murderous clones and returned to the wider galaxy.
So why am I talking about him now? That’s a good question, one that always intrigues me, what makes me keep wanting MORE Maul in my life? Much like supreme leader Snoke, or Boba Fett, most of this Sith Lords mystique comes from the mystery behind him and his presence, he was jarring, a dark warrior on a path of destruction and with no real reason at the time of his first appearance. However, that’s just what the people wanted, without saying more than 10 words, Maul infected us all with a need to know more! There is no other word, he was badass.
For years the most we had were spotty (and now non-canon) comic appearances or fun cameos in video games like Force Unleashed. That was until a certain Dave Filoni looked at the character again and decided he needed more depth. From Clone Wars on Maul has gone from a near feral warrior to a cunning strategist and legitimate galaxy wide threat. No long do we just see a weapon that took Qui-Gon Jinn from us, now we have a man with an endless need for revenge and power. A leader driven to peruse one Jedi endlessly across the entire galaxy. Vengence maybe his driving motivation, but thanks to the spot on writing of Clone Wars and Sam Witwer’s excellent voice performance, Maul has evolved over the years from silent Sith assassin, to perhaps the most well rounded and storied character in the entire franchise!
Does it have a lot to do with his look and violence? probably but there is still plenty to be said for his character arcs, even the most recent episodes of Clone Wars have changed him once more as Mauls usual rage is replaced with a fear of the unknown, having had a vision of Darth Sidious’ plan coming to fruition but having no idea how, Maul is doing what he can to prevent it, but don’t look at it as some kind gesture to save the galaxy, Mr. Maul is still very pissed and wants to stop the plan just to hinder his former master!
I can’t wait to see how this pans out and hope you’ll all join me in watching the siege of Mandalore pan out!