|Star Wars character|
|First appearance||The Phantom Menace (1999)|
|Last appearance||Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008-2014)|
|Created by||George Lucas|
|Portrayed by||Ray Park (Episode I)|
|Voiced by||Peter Serafinowicz (Episode I and Lego Star Wars: The Video Game)
Gregg Berger (Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace (video game))
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)
Lee Tockar (Lego Star Wars: Droid Tales)
Samuel Witwer (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Lego Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out and Disney Infinity 3.0)
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 first appears in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (portrayed by Ray Park and voiced by Peter Serafinowicz) and makes further appearances in Star Wars: The Clone Wars (voiced by Samuel Witwer).
Concept and creation
Series creator George Lucas had described Darth Maul as "a figure from one of his darkest nightmares". Designer Iain McCaig thus offered Lucas a design based on a nightmare of his; it was rejected, but later inspired Asajj Ventress, a supporting antagonist in the film Star Wars: The Clone Wars and its spinoff TV series. 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 the skin removed, and some 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 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 the painted and tattooed faces to Maul rather than the senator.
Darth Maul was physically portrayed by martial artist/author Ray Park in The Phantom Menace. The character was voiced by comedian/voice actor/director 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 is 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, Qui-Gon engages Maul in a lightsaber duel, but the Jedi Master manages to get away. During the film's climactic scene, Maul fights Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan Kenobi at the same time. Maul duels Qui-Gon while Obi-Wan becomes separated by laser gates. This leaves Qui-Gon to fight Maul alone. Maul eventually overpowers the Jedi Master and fatally stabs him in the torso with his lightsaber. Obi-Wan rushes to fight Maul after the laser gates re-open. Obi-Wan cuts the Sith Lord's lightsaber in half, but is nearly knocked down into a vast reactor pit, dangling on the edge, and Maul kicks the Padawan's lightsaber into the pit as well. However, Obi-Wan uses the Force to propel himself out of the pit, 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 pit.
The Clone Wars
In the third season, Darth Maul's origins are elaborated upon: he is portrayed as a warrior of the Nightbrother clan on the planet Dathomir inhabited by the dominant Nightsister witchcraft society led by Mother Talzin. Maul's tattoos are described as the markings of a warrior (in contrast to earlier sources which identify his body art as Sith markings). Talzin has Savage Opress find his long lost brother.
In the fourth season, Darth Maul himself returns. In his story arc, Maul survives his duel with Obi-Wan, but is driven insane by being cut in half, and suffers from amnesia for the next decade. When Opress finds him, however, Maul recovers his memory and dedicates himself to taking revenge on Obi-Wan. Opress brings him back to Dathomir after the Nightsisters are slaughtered by Separatists droids, and rebuilds the Sith Lord's body with a pair of robotic legs crafted by Talzin's magic. With his mind and body restored, Maul learns that the Clone Wars have started without him. With Opress' help, he proceeds to exact revenge by luring Obi-Wan Kenobi into a trap by attacking a small village on the Outer Rim planet Raydonia, knowing that the Jedi will come to assist. However, Asajj Ventress' unexpected appearance to collect a bounty on Opress thwarts Maul's plan. Obi-Wan and Ventress duel Maul and Opress in the cargo bay of the latter's stolen ship, but soon realize that they are outmatched and are forced to flee. 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. With Opress as his apprentice, Maul begins building a criminal empire. Needing followers, they travel to Florrum and manage to convince Weequay pirate Jiro and his crew to join them and betray their leader Hondo Ohnaka. Maul once again duels Obi-Wan, while Opress fights and kills Jedi Master Adi Gallia. Nevertheless, the duel goes badly for Maul: the pirates blow off Maul's robotic legs, Obi-Wan cuts off Opress's arm, and Maul's ship is badly damaged, forcing Maul and Opress to escape. Maul and Opress are later found by the Death Watch Mandalorian warriors, led by Pre Vizsla, who gives Maul a new set of legs and Opress a new mechanical arm. Maul offers Vizsla the chance to reclaim Mandalore by recruiting the Black Sun and Pyke crime families and Jabba the Hutt's minions to create the criminal syndicate Shadow Collective.
From there, Maul engineers Vizsla's rise to power: he orders his henchmen to attack Mandalore so the Death Watch can arrest them, making themselves look like heroes to the planet's inhabitants, who have long lived under Duchess Satine Kryze's tyrannical rule. Maul allows himself to be arrested and decides to replace Vizsla with the prime minister Almec, whom Satine had imprisoned for corruption. Easily breaking free, Maul challenges Vizsla to a duel to take over the Death Watch and Mandalore; he then kills Vizsla and claims 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 Obi-Wan to Mandalore. Once Obi-Wan arrives and attempts to rescue Satine, Maul captures him and kills Satine. Obi-Wan is freed by the Night Owl rebels, however.
Maul senses Darth Sidious arriving on Mandalore. Although impressed with his former apprentice's survival, Sidious declares Maul a rival and uses the Force to push and choke him and Opress. He then engages them both in lightsaber combat, fatally injuring Opress. After Opress dies from his wounds, 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, but Sidious ultimately defeats him. Maul pleads for mercy, but Sidious ignores him and tortures him with blasts of Force lightning. However, Sidious reveals that he has no intention of killing Maul, remarking that he has other uses for his former apprentice.
Son of Dathomir is an adaptation of an unproduced story arc intended for the sixth season of The Clone Wars. After Maul's capture by Darth Sidious, he is taken to a Separatist prison, where he is tortured by Count Dooku about the Shadow Collective and the allies he made. Minister Almec arranges Maul's escape and the latter then heads to Zanbar to command the Death Watch army. However, he is followed there by General Grievous and his droids, who then fiercely battle with Maul and the Mandalorians. While they put up a valiant fight, Maul and his minions are ultimately overwhelmed by the droids. During the battle, Maul tears through the droid ranks and attacks Grievous, but is overpowered and forced to retreat. Afterwards, Maul confers with Mother Talzin (revealed to be his biological mother) and plots to draw out Sidious by capturing Dooku and General Grievous. The scheme works, and Talzin is able to restore herself to her physical form, but she sacrifices herself to save Maul and is killed by Grievous. Maul escapes with a company of loyal Mandalorians, but the Shadow Collective has largely fallen apart due to the conflict with Sidious, as the Hutts, Pykes, and Black Sun had all abandoned Maul.
Non-canon Legends books
As portrayed in the novel Darth Plagueis, the titular Sith Lord sends his apprentice, Darth Sidious, to the Force-rich world of Dathomir. A Dathomiri witch, or Night-sister, senses Sidious' power in the Force and approaches him. She assumes he is a Jedi and begs him to take her Zabrak infant son. She realizes Sidious is not a Jedi, and explains how she is trying to save her son from a Nightsister named Talzin, who killed Maul's father. It is implied that Maul has a twin brother and that Talzin is only aware of one child. Sidious realizes the infant is strong in the Force, and would become a threat if found by the Jedi. Concealing the existence of his own master, Sidious raises Maul to believe that he is a Sith apprentice, but he actually intends him to be an expendable - albeit useful - minion rather than an heir. Maul himself acknowledges his shortcomings, such as his limited understanding of politics, even as he tries to become a true Sith.
As portrayed in the novel Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter, Maul is an orphan found by the Jedi, but Sidious kidnaps him before the Jedi can begin training. He then trains Maul as a Sith, marking his body with Sith tattoos. Maul initially goes on several 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 cult creating a duplicate of Maul as a replacement for Darth Vader, only for Vader to kill him. The story "Phantom Menaces" in Star Wars Tales #17 (set after 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 recognizes the disruption that Maul's existence is causing in the Force, and shuts down the life-support systems keeping the brain alive.
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 the events of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Maul taunts Obi-Wan, saying that after he kills him, he will take a toddler-aged Luke Skywalker 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 Obi-Wan again bests him in combat, cutting off his opponent's horns. The Sith Lord is killed, unexpectedly, by a blaster bolt to the head from Owen Lars. Obi-Wan 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 novel entitled Star Wars: The Wrath of Darth Maul was released by Scholastic. In the 2014 novel, Star Wars: Maul: Lockdown, set before The Phantom Menace, Darth Maul is sent into an infamous galactic prison. Maul is 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 Opress' journey across the galaxy as they seek vengeance on the Jedi.
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 looks or acts 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.
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