Tag: darth maul

Update: How Darth Maul became more tragic than Darth Vader

Updated: Star Wars Rebels creator Dave Filoni explains why Maul had to face Obi-Wan

Source: ScreenRant

Star Wars Rebels creator Dave Filoni has discussed how Obi-Wan could be the only character to kill Darth Maul. The show began as an episodic kids cartoon about a small rag-tag rebel crew who were helping those being crushed by the heel of the Empire. Originally set five years before the events of A New Hope, every season it inches closer to the Battle of Yavin.

Indeed, over the past three years it has become pretty clear that this show is more important to the Star Wars mythos than anyone first suspected. Showrunner and co-creator Dave Filoni has used Rebels as a pseudo-sequel to Star Wars: The Clone Wars and has been filling the gaps in about how the Rebellion came together. Maul had been revealed to have survived the events of The Phantom Menace in the earlier show, returning in Rebels Season 2 before making a fateful last appearance this year.

During Star Wars Celebration Orlando, Filoni explained why Maul’s final battle had to be with Obi-Wan. Here’s what he said during the Star Wars Rebels panel: “It was something we’d discussed ever since Maul came back. It’s not just about bringing Maul back but you also look at how it affects the character of Obi-Wan. And Obi-Wan had always been seen as this Jedi that took out this Sith Lord before the Clone Wars – it was kind of a validating thing for him and in a way when we were on the Clone Wars we were like it’s kind of sad because he loses that mantle and then we started to go down the list of what’s going to happen to Maul at the end and then you’re like ‘I don’t know if I feel right about anybody else taking him out except Obi-Wan.’ So what became clear was that it’s a character arc for Maul and a character arc for Obi-Wan.”

Filoni went on to explain how Obi-Wan’s confrontation with Maul illustrates how he succeeds where Anakin failed; where Anakin allowed his passions and selfishness overcome him, Obi-Wan has become selfless because he understands the greater power of giving selflessly. The whole arc has vastly changed Maul’s place in the canon, with Rebels making him much more important that just a Sith Apprentice.

While he ultimately had a thematically strong recurring storyline in Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels, that almost didn’t happen. The original plan for the character was for him to appear in the Season 2 finale before ultimately losing his life at the hands of Darth Vader. That’s not the only other near-flirtation with death for Maul either; in an old comic he fought Kenobi and was beaten by Owen Lars.

Having him face off against Obi-Wan one final time was a far more dramatic exit for the character and one that really resonated with the show’s audience. With only a single season left to air and a several major plot threads that need to be wrapped up, it seems the battle with Maul was just the appetizer for the main course.

How Darth Maul became more tragic than Darth Vader

Source: ScreenRant

Darth Vader is arguably the most iconic movie villain of all time. From his first appearance on screen, he’s dominating, imposing, and ruthless. He regularly dispatches any underlings that displease him, yet he’s still cold and calculating, both unpredictable and unflappable. Due to this status as one of the baddest of the bad, his journey to redemption through the original Star Wars trilogy is one that places his character arc among the most classic stories in movie history.

When Star Wars fans first glimpsed the design for Darth Maul before the release of The Phantom Menace, there were hopes that he could one day measure up to Vader. His menacing look and athletic portrayal by martial arts expert Ray Park set a high bar. Unfortunately, that’s not how things initially shook out. While Maul is still a fan-favorite element of Episode I, his apparent death at the end of the movie seemingly eliminated a character that many hoped would one day join the pantheon of cinema’s greatest villains.

Nevertheless, a decade after the release of The Phantom Menace, George Lucas revealed in The Clone Wars animated series that Maul was in fact still alive, starting him down a path that would one day result in him becoming a villain with a story even more tragic than Darth Vader’s.

FROM ANTIPODAL MOTHERS

Looking at the lives of each character, there are actually a lot of parallels and subversions of similar arcs to be found in the stories of both Anakin Skywalker and Maul. Anakin is born without a father (possibly conceived by midi-chlorians). He’s a slave, but he has a kind and loving mother, the humble and powerless Shmi Skywalker,  that teaches him things like “the biggest problem in the universe is that nobody helps each other.”

Maul, on the other hand, is born to Mother Talzin. No father is mentioned in his case either, but it’s never suggested that he’s actually conceived by the Force, Talzin conceiving her own child with the use of Nightsister magick also isn’t likely as that’s something you’d think would have been mentioned, so he probably doesn’t have a supernatural origin. Odds are, Talzin held a tournament amongst the Nightbrothers to locate an acceptable breeding partner. Either way, it’s quite a bit different from the mother Anakin Skywalker grew up with.

We don’t know what Talzin taught Maul, but thanks to Asaaj Ventress’s story in the book Dark Disciple, we have an idea of the teachings of the Nightsisters, and they’re not all that different from the Sith. While the Nightsisters don’t give themselves over to the dark side, letting it consume them, as the Sith do their training still causes them to experience pain and dig into their rage and other dark emotions. It’s about as far from nurturing as you can get.

CHOSEN BY DIFFERENT MASTERS

When Anakin was nine years old, Qui-Gon Jinn arrived on Tatooine and, seeing the boy’s potential, took him on as his padawan learner, believing him to be the prophesied Chosen One that would bring balance to the Force. Anakin was given the choice to leave his mother behind to begin his training.

Maul was not given a choice to leave his mother. Darth Sidious originally approached Mother Talzin hoping to expand his own Sith knowledge with an understanding of Nightsister magick, with plans to make Talzin his Sith apprentice. Those plans changed when he saw Maul. He kidnapped the young Zabrak, making him his new apprentice instead, raising him as a key piece of his plans to take over the galaxy.

Both were separated from their mother under similar promises of a grand destiny. Anakin was told he would bring balance, while Maul was told he would dominate. Maul received his training directly from Palpatine, but Anakin trained under Obi-Wan Kenobi as Palpatine merely whispered in his ear, planting seeds of fear and distrust.

MORE MACHINE THAN MAN

Anakin would eventually succumb to the Sith Lord’s seduction, betraying the Jedi and facing his former master, a battle he loses in a way that is eerily similar to Maul’s own duel with Kenobi from years earlier. When Maul possesses the high ground at the end of the duel on Naboo, Obi-Wan vaults over him, cutting him in half. The tables are turned against Anakin on Mustafar when Obi-Wan is the one that possesses the high ground. Anakin tries to vault over him, nearly getting cut in half like Maul, losing both legs and an arm instead.

Both of the Sith apprentices miraculously survive the near-fatal maiming at the hands of Obi-Wan, but while Palpatine leaves Maul to descend into insanity on the junk world of Lotho Minor where Maul goes with Naboo’s trash, the Sith Lord rushes to Anakin’s side, preserving his new apprentice’s life with cybernetic limbs, a respirator, and the iconic black armor.

Maul’s survival comes from his own rage, allowing him to dig deep into the dark side and preserve his life, at the loss of his mind. He also has his own cybernetic limbs, but the arachnid body he fashions for himself from the trash of Lothar is far less elegant than the body Palpatine gives Vader. He remains on the junk world for years until he’s discovered by his brother, Savage Opress, who returns him to his mother on Dathomir where he’s given a proper lower half, fashioned from battle droid scraps through the power of Nightsister magick.

While this could be considered the first act of kindness we’re aware of Maul experiencing, it wasn’t something Savage or Talzin did out of any sense of benevolence of nobility. In fact, Talzin though Maul was alive for over a decade and never went to find him until Savage had a bone to pick with her enemies. Maul has yet to experience true love or companionship in the way Anakin did from his mother, Padme, Obi-Wan, Ahsoka, and others. Maul’s continued path down the dark side makes sense – he’s never known anything else. But Anakin should have known better. He was surrounded by compassionate people, whereas Maul was only ever what Palpatine made him, only now he lacked the grand destiny he was promised.

 THE RETURN

The resolution to the chiasmus that is Maul and Anakin comes with each character’s death. When Luke shows compassion to Vader, refusing to execute him a the Emperor’s behest, Vader remembers that love he once knew for Padme. While he had turned away from it, it was a feeling could still remember, a feeling he could return to.

In fact, it was his love for Padme that produced the children that later served as that very reminder, bringing him back to the light in his final moments. As Anakin dies, Luke tells him he thinks he can still save him, and Anakin says “you already have, Luke. You were right. You were right about me… Tell your sister… you were right…”

On the flip side, we have Maul’s end. Maul never had the privilege of experiencing friendship or love that we know of, outside of his mother and brother, who are both dead , and weren’t exactly the best example of selfless compassion or mercy. He’s had everything taken from him several times and is now merely trying to find his place in the galaxy. Vader stands at the Emperor’s side as Maul thought he was meant to, his Shadow Collective was defeated at the end of the Clone Wars, and he was exiled into the galaxy. Alone. Again.

When Ezra Bridger discovers him on Malachor, he’s looking for vengeance. Initially, it’s vengeance against the Sith, because they “took everything” from him, but once he discovers that Kenobi – the person that he thinks originally derailed his destiny – was still alive, he becomes obsessed with finding him. At this point, while he’s clearly holding a grudge against his old rival, this quest is more of a search for purpose than a quest for vengeance. Fighting Kenobi gives him a reason to even exist, for the first time in decades.

When he finds Kenobi, he’s shocked to see the simple life his rival has taken, and even more surprised that Obi-Wan has no desire to fight him. When he tries to goad him into a confrontation, the Jedi Master simply states: “If you define yourself by your power to take life, your desire to dominate, to possess, then you have nothing” in what is one of the only examples of Maul experiencing compassion or mercy. Unfortunately, Maul didn’t have the privilege of experiencing this kind of selflessness earlier in his life as Anakin did.

Kenobi quickly defeats him. Vader died in the arms of his son, but Maul’s last words came as he’s held by his oldest nemesis hoping the Chosen One “will avenge us.” Still clinging to his thirst for violence and need for vengeance. Even though he was shown a similar compassion in his final moments as Vader did in his, he had no context for it, and thus had no capacity for redemption or a peaceful end.

Had Maul benefitted from the blessing of being born to Shmi, loved by Padme, experienced the bond of brotherhood with Obi-Wan, and had his own child risk life and limb to redeem him, could he have shared in that same peace Vader did at the end? It could obviously go both ways, but those are the components of Vader’s to the light. They could have done the same for Maul. Vader’s story is tragic, but his tragedy is in his fall, in the fact that he first had love and friendship, but he turned away. The tragedy of Maul, however, is that he never even had that chance.

Darth Maul finally gets the Star Wars story he deserves

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Source: ScreenRant

In an entertainment franchise or fictional universe, it’s not easy being anyone but the hero. While their future and fan base is all but guaranteed, the surrounding cast faces their own added challenges. If you’re the villain, you’ve got to match the hero just to get the same attention, let alone be remembered separately. Sidekicks must be plucky and lovable, romantic interests must chart their own course, and so on. But for the villain’s henchman – the one best described as the ‘appetizer’ to the big bad – immortality is almost impossible to grasp. Except, of course, in Star Wars.

Boba Fett may be remembered as the faceless goon who became a pop culture icon against all odds, but when measuring characters whose obvious value was cast aside for the larger plot, Darth Maul takes the cake. His story is an epic journey in its own rite, and so packed with untapped potential that an animated Star Wars Rebels series needed to resurrect him just to do it justice. And thanks to the new era of Star Wars comics books from Marvel Comics, the Emperor’s first film apprentice will finally get a story worthy of his name beginning with Darth Maul #1.

maul-phantomDarth Maul in Star Wars Episode I – The Phantom Menace.

It may only help his case for a standalone Star Wars movie of his own, but for now, the comic is tackling a story guaranteed to grab even casual fans of the Sith Apprentice. If you’ve ever wondered what Darth Maul was up to while Palpatine manipulated his way through Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace, the comic gives a clear answer: in anticipation of his rise to Master of the Sith, Maul was looking to introduce himself to the Jedi in an… unforgettable way.

DARTH MAUL FEEDS HIS BLOODLUST

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The most vivid memory of Maul is likely to be the impression that he was, at all times, restraining himself in both emotion and movement. In the film, that made his eventual reveal as an incredibly gifted, athletic, and acrobatic duelist all the more impactful. But in Darth Maul #1, the effort it takes to keep his incredible rage and lust for death in check is finally revealed (with some help from a beast introduced in The Force Awakens. As a team of men are ambushed and massacred by a single Rathtar – the tentacled creatures contained in Han Solo’s hold in Episode VII – Darth Maul emerges to battle it himself… and its friends.

The story, crafted by writer Cullen Bunn and artists Luke Ross and Nolan Woodard, begins in this murder-soaked setting – the planet Twon Ketee, for the fiction sticklers out there. It’s a sign of just how determined they are to do justice to the scale, the skill, and the terror Darth Maul conjures by his appearance – growing only more terrifying when he enters combat. Accompanied by his internal dialogue, Maul demonstrates that this act of slaughter is more than just surrendering to an urge, but honing the very skills that make him an accomplished Sith.

Fear. Hate. Anger. Maul channels these emotions that make the Sith strong in ways the Jedi can never contemplate in his attacks, savoring each second that he faces death’s snapping teeth in front of his face. But always reminded that Darth Maul is much, much more than the grimacing goon The Phantom Menace may have implied, he takes little joy or satisfaction in killing creatures that kill with ease. Because even as he bests them, he knows that their freedom to attack at will is not his own – and that his hunger can’t be satisfied by just any bloodshed.

It’s as chilling as it is, strangely, endearing. Not on the surface, since Maul remains a villain in every way by casual fans. But for those who know the beginnings of his story, and the ways of the Sith, a life spent training to defeat an enemy and never given a chance is a form of insanity. Darth Maul knows his purpose, knows he is capable, and thirsts for the blood of the Jedi he is destined to kill. But for now, the leash remains tight around his throat, leaving him to slaughter ignorant beasts in the wilderness.

DARTH MAUL FEEDS HIS HATRED

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The opening hunt provides a sense of the training and physical activity Darth Maul relies on to keep his senses (and fighting skills) honed – and shows why poor Qui-Gon Jinn never stood a chance – but it doesn’t answer the question of what role he served beneath Darth Sidious/Sheev Palpatine while the latter was working his way through the politics of Naboo and the Senate. Once the story shifts to Coruscant, we’re given a fitting, if unsurprising answer: he was busy hating Jedi, same as always.

But seeing Darth Maul silently despising passing Jedi from the shadows, imagining what it would feel like to finally cut them down isn’t just the signs of a killer biding his time. Darth Maul sees the moral victory, or at least an ideological victory approaching. He notes, as have fans, that the Jedi awareness of growing darkness, complacency as protectors of the Senate, and hypocrisy have shaken their once-solid footing. To his eyes, the Jedi have strayed from their mission to keep the peace, becoming agents of the Senate who kill without a full picture, thereby enforcing the peace.

The language used by Darth Maul is a victory in itself in this scene, showing that his true motivation is not just anger, but righteous anger. In his eyes, the Jedi are failing, they are falling, and they will be the ones who make their descent into darkness possible in the first place. Once they hit bottom, he’ll be ready to end them forever… but it won’t be him who makes them fall.

THE MASTER AT THE END OF THE LEASH

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Given how much Darth Maul envied the Rathtar for their freedom and lack of obedience to another’s will, it’s no surprise to see him less than pleased when conversing with his master, Darth Sidious. But to get the most out of this dynamic (as the diehard fans craving this story will no doubt catch), it has to be remembered that throughout the history of the true Sith, there have been only two at one time. The Master, who passes his knowledge on, and the Apprentice, who learns all they can – before slaying their mentor, and taking the role for themselves. Until Sidious.

So as much as Darth Maul may wish to make that cycle complete once again, cutting down his master and launching an assault on the Jedi, he also knows that Darth Sidious has an intricate plan (since his intelligence and cunning are hard to miss for even audience members, let alone his closest allies). So he bides his time, anticipating the moment when he will see that plan reach its climax, watch as the Jedi fall onto his blade, and pave the way for his own rise to the rank of Sith Master. In the process, becoming a lot more reminiscent of another Star Wars figure of great importance.

The comparisons between Darth Maul and Anakin Skywalker in his own path to adulthood may have always been there for those looking, but Bunn deftly draws the parallel out by granting insight into Darth Maul’s own internal monologue. As the red-eyed figure cloaked in shadow at Palpatine’s heel, fueled by impatience, a lust for violence, and a desire to see his own power achieved and recognized, the scene creates a string between himself and the future ‘Chosen One,’ knotted at both ends. We may know how Darth Maul’s story ends, but seeing this chapter finally told promises even richer thematic links, reflections, and divergences.

DARTH MAUL PREPARES TO KILL HIS FIRST JEDI

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The first issue of Darth Maul spends much of its time, as mentioned above, submerging readers in the tense and strained psyche and emotions of Darth Maul (while also reminding them that he is absolutely the kind of character who deserves his own narrative in the canonical Star Wars saga). And while Darth Maul’s mission to cover up a Trade Federation hostage scenario before it can expose Palpatine’s dealings (the construction of the film’s ‘phantom menace’) seems like a common occurrence, it takes an unexpected and incredibly promising turn.

When one of his would-be victims offers to exchange valuable information – information that he, and not his master, would then hold – Maul can’t resist. The secret is worth it, too: a young Jedi Padawan is being held captive by a criminal cartel and awaiting sale to the highest bidder. Darth Maul responds by killing those who remain, and setting off for the auction… with little intention for paying, we can only assume. In his eyes, it is not a sale or tormenter that stands in this young Jedi’s future – it is liberation.

Unfortunately for the Padawan in question, that liberation likely means he intends to “free” them from the Jedi teaching at the same time he “frees” them from everything else – with his lightsaber. But picking his way through a cartel, ferreting out the young soon-to-be Jedi, and doing it all before the Jedi leadership can act will be harder said than done. But as Darth Maul travels across the galaxy in pursuit of his first Jedi to kill, fans will be guaranteed a front row seat… one they’ve likely been waiting years to occupy.

Star Wars: Darth Maul #1 is available now.

Darth Maul getting a new comic book series

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Source: ScreenRant.Com

Audiences are just about one month away from the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which is the first of a series of anthology films announced after Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm — and, of course, the first Star Wars film to be released after the record-breaking The Force Awakens. But the movies are not the only way for fans of Star Wars to get their fix. Since Disney’s acquisition of the Star Wars franchise, the company has released novels, comics, and the Star Wars Rebels television series.

Most of the recently released canonical works have taken place after the events of the Star Wars prequel series, which makes sense, as Disney looks to build the history leading up to the final two installments of the sequel trilogy, not to mention the rest of the anthology films. This could also be in response to the lack of enthusiasm towards the prequel films, which were generally ignored in The Force Awakens. And while the first of the prequel films, The Phantom Menace, is a recipient of decidedly mixed reactions, it did spawn one cool looking villain — Darth Maul.

darth_maul_phantomDarth Maul in Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace. 

The Sith apprentice recently returned to television in Star Wars Rebels, but to date, has not featured in any canonical works taking place prior to his appearance in The Phantom Menace. That, however, is about to change. USA Today reports that Darth Maul will appear in the Marvel Comics miniseries Star Wars: Darth Maul. The comic will debut in February, and will be written by Cullen Bunn and drawn by Luke Ross. The series is set to explore the Sith’s origins prior to appearing in Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace.

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The report states that the comic will find Maul at a point where he is training under Darth Sidious, but not yet allowed to engage with the Jedi. The series will also introduce Eldra Kaitis, a young Jedi Padawan who Maul will try and turn to the dark side. Regarding how Darth Maul will be portrayed, Bunn says he is particularly interested in the scene from The Phantom Menace where the Sith paces back and forth impatiently waiting to fight Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Jinn. “I like seeding where that impatience and anger comes from,” the author says.

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Darth Maul in Star Wars Rebels.

As for the new Jedi Padawan, Eldra, Bunn explains that the character is someone who “has a huge impact on Maul’s life going forward.” The author adds that we will see interactions between Darth Sidious and his apprentice, saying of the former, “He’s not a very warm teacher.” Bunn is yet another author fascinated by the Star Wars characters’ conflict over darkness and light. “So a big part of the story is Darth Maul’s descent to the dark side and almost being tempted away from it.

The series will be released in February, and sounds like a must-read for fans, in particular, those of the prequel trilogy of films. Perhaps this announcement is also an indication that Disney will begin looking to explore the events of that trilogy more going forward.