|Star Wars character|
|Portrayed by||Ray Park (Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace)|
|Voiced by||Peter Serafinowicz (Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Lego Star Wars: The Video Game)
Gregg Berger (Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace)
David W. Collins (Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron)
Stephen Stanton (Star Wars: Battlefront II)
Jess Harnell (Star Wars: Demolition, Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds and Star Wars: Racer Revenge)
Samuel Witwer (Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Lego Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out)
Darth Maul is a fictional character in the science fiction franchise Star Wars. Trained as Darth Sidious's first apprentice, he serves as a Sith Lord and a master of wielding a double-bladed lightsaber. He is the primary antagonist of Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace (portrayed by Ray Park and voiced by Peter Serafinowicz) and a central villain for Star Wars: The Clone Wars (voiced by Samuel Witwer).
Concept and creation
Series creator George Lucas had described Darth Maul as "a figure from your worst nightmare". Designer Iain McCaig thus offered Lucas a design based on a nightmare of his, which was rejected, but later inspired the Nightsister Sith witch Asajj Ventress in later Star Wars tales. One day, McCaig was trying to make "Sith Lord versions" of the art department crew, and drew David Dozoretz, head of the animations group, with a circuit board on his face. Lucas was intrigued by the circuit board idea, and McCaig started producing similar caricatures.
After getting frustrated with a drawing of production designer Gavin Bocquet, McCaig started covering it in tape. Both he and Lucas liked the result, described as "a kind of Rorschach pattern". The final drawing had McCaig's own face, with a pattern based on three things: a concept of a "flayed flesh face", face-painting of African tribes and further Rorschach experimentation (dropping ink onto paper, folding it in half then opening).
Darth Maul's head originally had feathers, based on prayer totems, but the Creature Effects crew led by Nick Dudman interpreted those feathers as horns, modifying his features into those common in popular Christian and other depictions of the Devil.
His clothing was also modified, from a tight body suit with a muscle pattern to the Sith robe based on samurai pleats, because the lightsaber battles involved much jumping and spinning. Another concept had Maul a masked figure, something that could rival Darth Vader, while the senatorial characters would sport painted and tattooed faces. It was later decided to apply this to Maul rather than the senator.
Darth Maul was portrayed by martial artist Ray Park in The Phantom Menace. The character was voiced by Peter Serafinowicz in The Phantom Menace and Lego Star Wars: The Video Game, Gregg Berger for the video game adaptation, Jess Harnell in Star Wars: Racer Revenge, Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds and Star Wars: Demolition, Stephen Stanton in Star Wars: Battlefront II, Clint Bajakian in Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing, David W. Collins in Star Wars The Force Unleashed and Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron, and Samuel Witwer for Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
The Phantom Menace
Introduced in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Darth Maul was ordered by Darth Sidious to capture Queen Padmé Amidala. On Tatooine, Maul fights Qui-Gon Jinn while approaching the Queen's starship. While Anakin Skywalker gets on board, Jinn engages Maul in a lightsaber duel. But the Jedi Master manages to get away from the Sith Lord. During the film's climactic scene, Maul fights Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan Kenobi at the same time. Maul fights Qui-Gon while Obi-Wan becomes separated by laser gates. This leaves Qui-Gon to fight Maul alone. Maul eventually overpowers and stabs Qui-Gon in the stomach with his lightsaber, fatally injuring the Jedi Master. Obi-Wan witnesses this and rushes to fight Maul after the laser gates re-open. Obi-Wan cuts the Sith Lord's lightsaber in half but gets knocked down into a reactor chasm, and Maul kicks the Jedi Padawan's lightsaber into the chasm as well. However, Obi-Wan uses the Force to propel himself out of the chasm, and equips himself with Qui-Gon's lightsaber to slice Maul in half at the waist, after which the two pieces of Maul's body fall into the chasm.
The Clone Wars
In the third season, Darth Maul's origins were elaborated upon as a warrior of the Nightbrother clan on the planet Dathomir inhabited by the dominant Nightsister witchcraft society led by Mother Talzin and the tattoos covering his body are described as the markings of a warrior (in contrast to earlier sources which identify his bodyart as Sith Lord markings). He has been hinted to have survived to which Talzin has Savage Opress find his long lost brother.
In the fourth season, Darth Maul himself returns. Having survived his bisection, Maul was striving to survive by any means and ended up on the junk planet Lotho Minor in the Outer Rim and turned into a cyborg with an arachnid-like lower half and managed to survive with the help of Anacondan Morley. Over the decade, Maul's mind sank into a melancholy insanity before he was found by Savage Opress. Savage's presence causes Maul to remember his downfall and resolves to have his revenge. Brought back to Dathomir in the aftermath of the Nightsisters' slaughter by the Separatists droids, Maul undergoes a purging of his madness and is given a pair of robotic legs crafted by Talzin's magic. With his mind restored, Maul learns that the Clone Wars have started without him. With Savage's help, he proceeds to exact revenge by luring Obi-Wan Kenobi into a trap by attacking a small village on Outer Rim planet Raydonia, knowing that the Jedi will come to assist. However, Asajj Ventress's unexpected appearance to collect a high bounty on Savage thwarts Maul's plan. Kenobi and Ventress duel Maul and Savage in the cargo bay of Savage's stolen ship but soon realize that they are outmatched and are forced to flee via the cockpit escape vessel. Maul decides not to pursue the jettisoned pod but to wait for another opportunity, realizing that the Jedi already know of his continued existence through the Force.
In the fifth season, Darth Maul continues to appear with Savage Opress.
Maul clarifies to Savage that they're master and apprentice and they'll kill any one standing in their way as they attempt to set up their own criminal underworld. Needing followers, the Sith Lord brothers travel to Florrum and manages to convince Weequay pirate Jiro and his crew to join them and betray their leader Hondo Ohnaka. While Hondo is not easily fazed as Maul's recruits fell apart, Maul duels Kenobi while Savage fights Adi Galia and eventually kills the female Jedi Master. After Savage's arm is sliced off by Kenobi, Maul's legs blown off by the pirates and their ship damaged, the brothers escape in an escape pod. Maul and Savage are later found by the Death Watch Mandalorians led by Pre Vizsla. After Vizsla gives Maul a new set of legs and Savage a new arm, the Sith Lord brothers see this as an opportunity to get revenge on Kenobi and this Sith pretender. Maul offers Vizsla the chance to reclaim Mandalore by using his unsavory methods to recruit the Black Sun (after having Savage kill off its previous chain of command), the Pyke family (spice traders connected to Coruscant's crime families) and the Hutt Council (after impressing Jabba the Hutt with his determination) to create the criminal syndicate Shadow Collective.
From there, Maul engineers Vizsla's rise to power by having his thug army attack Mandalore and have the Death Watch arrest them to make themselves look like heroes and demonize Duchess Satine Kryze's policy. But having expected Vizsla to betray them after they did the dirty work, Maul allows himself to be arrested and decides to replace Vizsla with the prime minister Almec that Satine locked away for corruption. Easily breaking free, Maul challenges Vizsla to a duel to take over the Death Watch and Mandalore, killing Vizsla and claiming his former co-conspirator's darksaber. He wins the loyalty of most Death Watch members but Bo Katan retreats along with those loyal to their previous leader. Maul then anticipates Satine being broken out of prison and her attempt to contact the Jedi Council as part of his plan to get Kenobi to Mandalore. Once Kenobi arrives and fails to escape with Satine, Maul captures Kenobi and kills Satine with his darksaber to make the Jedi Master suffer rather than be killed straight away and sent to a jail cell to be agonized. But while Kenobi is freed by the Night Owl rebels, Maul senses Darth Sidious arriving on Mandalore. Although impressed with his former apprentice's survival, the master declares the student a rival and uses the Force to push and choke the Zabrak brothers. In retaliation, the brothers draw their lightsabers, but Sidious also pulls out two of his own and engages them, promptly killing Savage in the duel. After Savage dies, Sidious reminds Maul of the Rule of Two and that he had been replaced. Enraged, Maul pulls out both his lightsaber and darksaber and proceeds to fight Sidious on equal ground with lightsabers, but is ultimately beaten by Sidious's power in the Force. Maul pleads for mercy, but Sidious ignores him and fires continuous streams of Force lightning at Maul, though he does remark that he has uses for his former apprentice.
As portrayed in the novel Darth Plagueis, Darth Plagueis sends his apprentice Sidious to the Force-rich world of Dathomir as a way of denying him his craving to visit a Force-rich Sith homeworld. A Dathomiri witch, or Night-sister, senses Palpatine's Force ability and approaches him. She assumes he is a Jedi and begs him to take her Zabrak infant son. She realizes Palpatine is not a Jedi, and explains how she is trying to save him from the threat of a Nightsister mother named Talzin so he can live freely; Maul's father was killed by tradition. It is implied that Maul has a twin brother and that Talzin is only aware of one child. Palpatine realizes the infant is strong in the Force and that the risk is too great for him to be found by the Jedi.
As portrayed in the novel Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter, Maul is kidnapped from his Jedi training by Sidious at an early age, and is trained as a Sith, having Sith tattoos put all over his body. Maul initially goes on countless missions of terror for his master, killing politicians, crime bosses, merchants and warlords.
Several sources depict Maul returning from the dead in several different forms. The story "Resurrection" from Star Wars Tales 9 depicts a duplicate of Maul created by a cult (via an unspecified process) with the cult intending for Maul to replace Darth Vader as they believe that Vader is too tainted by his past as Anakin to be a true Sith, only for this Maul to be killed by Vader. The story "Phantom Menaces" in Star Wars Tales #17 (set after Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi) depicts Luke Skywalker visiting Maul's home planet of Iridonia in an ambassadorial capacity, where he faces a "solid state hologram" of Maul projected from Maul's salvaged brain as part of a scientist's attempt to recreate Maul as Iridonia's 'champion', Luke shutting down the life-support systems keeping the brain alive as he recognises the disruption that Maul's existence is causing in the Force.
In 2005, Dark Horse Comics published Star Wars: Visionaries, a compilation of comic art short stories. One story "Old Wounds", considered to be non-canonical to Star Wars lore, depicts Maul, now with longer horns on his head, surviving his bisection at Obi-Wan's hands, replacing his missing bottom half with cybernetic legs, similar to those of General Grievous. He then follows Obi-Wan throughout the galaxy, finally tracking him down on Tatooine a few years after Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Luke Skywalker is only a couple of years old, and Kenobi has been living in the desert watching over the boy as he had promised Yoda. Maul taunts Kenobi, saying that after he kills him, he will slay Owen and Beru Lars, and take the Skywalker boy to his master, Emperor Palpatine. Maul plans to kill Darth Vader, and resume his rightful place at Palpatine's side as his apprentice. He ignites his new double-bladed lightsaber, and engages Obi-Wan in a lightsaber duel, but Kenobi is much more powerful than when the two fought years earlier, as Obi-Wan slices off some of Maul's horns. The Sith Lord is killed, unexpectedly, by a blaster bolt to the head from Owen Lars. Kenobi thanks Owen, and says he will take Maul's body into the desert and burn it so he can never come back.
In early 2012, a young adult biography of Darth Maul entitled Star Wars: The Wrath of Darth Maul was released by Scholastic. 2014 saw the release of Star Wars: Maul: Unbound, a novel in which Darth Maul-during the period in which he is being trained by Sidious while Darth Plagueis is still alive-is sent into an infamous galactic prison. Maul was also featured prominently in several comic series starting in this period, including: Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Sith Hunters; Darth Maul: Death Sentence; and Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir. Set in the period of the Clone Wars around the various episodes that featured Maul, Sith Hunters and Death Sentence detail his and Savage's journey across the galaxy as they seek vengeance on the Jedi and run afoul of various parties.
Son of Dathomir is an adaptation of an unproduced story arc intended for the sixth season of Clone Wars. After Maul's capture by Darth Sidious, he is taken to a Separatist prison on Stygeon where he is tortured by Count Dooku about the Shadow Collective and the allies he made. Maul is broken out of his prison by two Mandalorians warriors, Gar Saxon and Rook Kast, who had been sent by Prime Minister Almec to free their leader. Maul, Saxon and Kast make their way back to Zanbar where what remains of the Mandalorians loyal to Maul are waiting for him. After speaking to Almec via hologram, Maul reclaims his Darksaber and promises his Mandalorians that the war they have been waiting for has arrived. At that moment, Separatist forces led by General Grievous attack Zanbar. Maul and Grievous dueled while their armies met in battle, with the Mandalorians' battle prowess allowing them to inflict heavy losses on the Separatists. However, they were out numbered and, once Grievous started gaining the upper hand in their duel, Maul ordered an aerial bombardment before retreating with his forces. However, Dooku later reveals to Grievous that Maul was meant to live and that his defeat has made him vulnerable. He will now turn to the only ally he has left: Mother Talzin. The Sith had allowed Maul to espace to find Mother Talzin and kill her. Maul does contact Mother Talzin for help but they both smell the trap and decide to create one of their own. Maul takes his Mandalorian forces to Ord Mantell where he meets up with Black Sun and the Pyke Syndicate, the other organizations part of the Shadow Collective. They plan to draw the Separatists into a trap which will allow Maul to capture General Grievous and Count Dooku. Meanwhile, Mother Talzin sends the Nightbrothers (Maul's clan) as reinforcments for the battle. As Maul greets them, the Separatists attack and Maul orders his forces to attack leaving the Nightbrothers in his command center pending his instructions. The Black Sun and the Pykes are attacked and quickly overwhelmed by the more numerous Separatist forces but Maul only needed them to distract the droid forces long enough for himself and his Mandalorian warships to engage the Separatist command ship so that they could capture General Grievous. Faced with defeat and death, Grievous obeyed Maul's order to deactivate the battle droid army on the surface and he was taken prisoner by the Mandalorians. Menawhile, Dooku was confronted on the surface by the Nightbrothers. Although he succeeded in killing them all, he was also captured by the members of the Shadow Collective. With both Separatist leaders as his prisoners, Maul contacted Mother Talzin once again and told her of their success. Mother Talzin told Maul that their victory would force Darth Sidious out of hiding now that his long-cultivated plans were being threatened and that they would soon have their revenge on him. After the battle on Ord Mantell, Maul contacted Darth Sidious and informed him of his capture of his apprentice and General Grievous. When Sidious dissmissed both as now useless to his plans, Maul used this betrayal to convince Dooku to join him against Sidious. Mother Talzin then appeared and convinced Dooku to join them when she revealed that Sidious planned to get rid of him just as he had betrayed Talzin by taking Maul (who is revealed to be her son) from her. Meanwhile, a Jedi task force including Mace Windu and Obi-Wan Kenobi, attack the Mandlorian base and Dooku agrees to join Maul to fight them off. Grievous escapes in the chaos while Maul and Dooku fight off the Jedi giving time for Rook Kast to incapacitate the Jedi and allowing the Sith Lords to escape. Maul takes his Mandalorian warriors and Dooku to the Nightsister world of Dathomir. During the trip, the various criminal elements of the Shadow Collective demand that Maul explain his true objectives and whether they would make any money or if they were just instruments in his plans to destroy Darth Sidious. Maul assures them they will have more wealth than they can hope for once Sidious is dead but still instructs Gar Saxon to keep an eye on them. Meanwhile, Maul reveals to Dooku that he knows that his shift in alliances was merely a ruse by Darth Sidious to finally catch Mother Talzin. Dooku is taken into custody by the Mandalorians. On Dathomir, Maul meets with the remaining Nightbrothers and they bring Dooku to Mother Talzin who uses her power to possess the Sith Lord in a bid to return to a physical body. Meanwhile, Sidious and Grievous have tracked Maul and Dooku to Dathomir and plan to destroy Mother Talzin and her son once and for all. Talzin, possessing Dooku, duels with Sidious while Maul attacks Grievous. Sidious expells Talzin from Dooku's body with Sith lightning while Maul defeats Grievous. As Talzin and Sidious fight with lightning, Maul pleads with his mother to use his strength so that they can finally destroy the Dark Lord but she refuses. As Dooku joins his master in the fight, Talzin uses her power to throw Maul out of the fight just before she is killed by Grievous, who impaled her with his lightsabers. Maul escapes with his remaining Mandalorians but the Shadow Collective is in tatters, the Pykes and Black Sun having ended their alliance with Maul. Darth Maul claims that with Talzin's death and the destruction of his power base, Maul will no longer pose a problem to their plans.
In popular culture
Since the release of The Phantom Menace, Darth Maul has proven to be a popular character. IGN named Darth Maul the 16th greatest Star Wars character, noting, "Of the countless characters to walk in and out of the Star Wars saga, none look or act more badass than Darth Maul."
Darth Maul related merchandise was popular among Hasbro Star Wars toy lines, with plastic recreations of his double bladed lightsaber and various action figures in his likeness developed. Darth Maul has been the focal point of the toy marketing campaign surrounding the 2012 re-release of The Phantom Menace, being featured on the packaging for the toy line. The character's double-bladed lightsaber has influenced several homages and parodies, including an appearance in The Simpsons episode "Treehouse of Horror X" and a similar weapon being featured in the video game series Ratchet and Clank. The character was also an unlockable character in the video game Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3. The character himself is parodied in during the Futurama episode "Lethal Inspection".
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