|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.
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.
On the CGI cartoon series (set between Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith), 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).
In the third season, the character is hinted to have survived to which Mother 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 that 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.
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".
WWE Superstar Goldust recently paid homage to Darth Maul by applying make-up similar to Maul's. Former WCW wrestler L.A. Park has also adapted his formerly skull-like mask to look similar to Maul's face.
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