The Tragedy of Darth Maul

Warning – Some Spoilers for ‘The Clone Wars’ and ‘Rebels’ ahead.

I have harped on about that Teaser Trailer for ‘The Phantom Menace’ a lot this year (or it feels like it anyway), especially the shot of Darth Maul igniting the double blades lightsaber that ruined ‘The Mask of Zorro’ for me (well, distracted me for the whole film).

Who would have thought, back in November 1998, that this mysterious character would end up having such a legacy that he has become on of fandoms favourites.

Back in 1999, he was all over the packaging. His face was the face of the movie. And then they killed him off. Cut in half and fell down a giant hole in the middle of the room. Boom! Done! Obi-Wan becomes a Jedi Knight, takes Anakin as his Padawan, and the crowd goes wild.

Then, sometime in 2010/2011 rumblings occurred saying that Maul was coming back in ‘The Clone Wars’. I didn’t believe them, if he was coming back it would be a flashback or vision, dude got cut in half.

Then a trailer hit and we got Maul, he was fighting Obi-Wan. He was talking, and he had robot legs. Oh yeah, he was back.

When I finally saw those episodes (which I was dubious about) I couldn’t believe how well Maul’s arc was played out, and then in Season 5 when he becomes a crime boss. Seriously, this was amazing television!

And when we thought it was all over after ‘The Clone Wars’ got cancelled, the ‘Son of Dathomir’ comic was released, telling the continuing story of the character based on unfinished episodes. And then…

Cut to the trailer for the second half of ‘Star Wars: Rebels’ Season 2 and we hear that familiar voice telling Ezra to “Call me Old Master.” And the shot of the eyes. Oh yes he was coming back… again.

And he became a thorn in the side of the Ghost Crew for a few episodes, trying to turn Ezra, blinding Kanan, stealing Holocrons and following visions across the Galaxy that led him to Tatooine and his final confrontation with Kenobi that finally gave the former Sith a modicum of peace for a moment before he passed away.

But why was he so loved? I think it’s all down to how well his story was played out, especially in ‘Clone Wars’ and ‘Son of Dathomir’.

Taken from his Mother (Talzin) by Palpatine after he double crossed the Nightsister, he trained Maul to become a living weapon. Maul was a giant ball of anger and hate because of his masters manipulations.

After he was seemingly killed, and abandoned by Palpatine he went mad for years before being found by his brother and returned to his mother. Healed and hell-bent on vengeance, he attracted the attention of Kenobi, but ultimately he wanted to attract the attention of his former master who had continued his grand plan without Maul and replaced him with Dooku.

All Maul wanted was Palpatine’s approval and to stand by his side, where he felt he truly belonged, but in the end, when he did draw Palpatine to him it didn’t go the way he wanted and ended with Palpatine killing Maul’s brother and enslaving Maul.

Maul had built a criminal empire, only for it to crumble in his absence (as we find out after he is rescued by some loyal Mandalorians). He strengthens his hold over Mandalore but it is brought to an end during Order 66 (we will find out more next year). And then what?

He, at some point, returns to Dathomir, starts up a new Crime Syndicate (Crimson Dawn) and then later becomes trapped on Malachor, hunted by Inquisitors and crossed paths with Ezra, Kanan and Ahsoka.

He then tries to lure Ezra to him, through various means and finally ends up on Tatooine. Kenobi beats him in one of the best duels in Star Wars and asks Kenobi if the person he is protecting is ‘the Chosen One’. Kenobi says he is and Maul utters his final words, “He will avenge us.”

A beautiful sentiment. This ‘Chosen One’ will finally bring an end to the evil in the galaxy that has put both Kenobi and Maul through living hell. No matter what people say, the two of them have been connected through the Force, not like Rey and Kylo, but in a twisted mirror of each other that I think, would make a great story.

Last year I wrote an outline for what my ideal Kenobi film would be, and it wouldn’t just be all Kenobi, but have Kenobi’s and Maul’s storyline intertwined through years and at the end we would have their final duel on Tatooine played out in live action, exactly as we got in ‘Rebels’.

Maul’s tale is a tragic one. His bids for power always leave him broken in some way, each one a failed attempt to be accepted by others.

Despite my love for the character, I often wonder if it would have been best (within the story) for Maul to have dies in ‘The Phantom Menace’ because the rest of his life was filled with pain and anguish, far beyond what Palpatine did to him during his training.

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