Star Wars just loves brining back Darth Maul. That’s not a bad thing, because let’s face it, he was one of the best things about The Phantom Menace. He wasn’t even the main antagonist, but he was the baddest physical presence the Jedi had to face. He had a unique and frightening look, carried a double-bladed lightsaber, and said very little. That didn’t matter, because once he started twirling his weapon, fans found a character to love. It’s unfortunate that Obi-Wan had to cut him in half, because we would’ve loved to have seen more of him. I mean, he was cut in half and fell into a seemingly bottomless pit. That should’ve killed, right? Not a snowball’s chance in the galaxy. The truth is, this character was too well received to stay dead. So, Star Wars decided to bring him back. Let’s face it, it was a good call.
How did Darth Maul make his big return to Star Wars? Not a solo film, but a very surprising appearance in season five of the Clone Wars cartoon. If you don’t watch the show, you might want to brace yourself for some spoilers. When we saw him again, he was far from the Darth Maul we all remembered. He spent the last ten years rotting on a garbage planet and his sanity all but deteriorated. Because of Obi-Wan, his entire lower body was mechanical, basically a caterpillar-like body. His brother Savage Oppress rescued him and took him to Mother Talzin, the leader of the Nightsisters. She healed Darth Maul’s mind, reconstructed his metal legs, and set him on a new path. Darth Maul and his brother had one campaign in mind: to form the largest crime syndicate in the galaxy.
Oh, and let’s not forget the grudge he had against Obi-Wan. Yes, that didn’t change, but Obi-Wan wasn’t the only guy who Darth Maul was gunning for. His former master, Darth Sidious, viewed Darth Maul’s growing syndicate as a threat to the Sith and sought him out to deal with him personally. Sidious killed Savage and took Darth Maul hostage and that was seemingly the end of his story. That was the last we saw him until the show was canceled after season six. A pretty open-ended conclusion to a popular character’s story arc, but fortunately, his story didn’t end there.
Disney decided to bring the show back for one last season on Disney+. Good call, but they threw us a curveball by bringing back Darth Maul and once again making him a major antagonist. Instead of having him fight Obi-Wan, however, he was pitted against Ahsoka. Long story short, he made an elaborate plan to lure Anakin Skywalker to him on Mandalore, but he instead got Ahsoka. They fought, she won, and when they tried to bring him back to Coruscant, Darth Sidious initiated Order 66. Ahsoka had no choice but to release Darth Maul and he managed to escape. And that’s the end of his story in the Clone Wars series.
A good way to bring back a popular character, but there’s a issue with it. When we saw Darth Maul return in season seven, he was already back on top running his crime syndicate. How in the holy force did he escape the clutches of Darth Sidious? That’s a very vital part of his story that the show never showed. To be fair, that’s not really their fault, because the show got canceled. They had a plan to show how he escaped captivity and found his way back to his people, but that episode sadly never found its way to the screen. Well, cancellation will do that to a show, but Disney found a bit of a loophole.
When Star Wars starts something in a movie or a show, they expand it even further in a book. The lost Darth Maul episode became a four-part limited comic book series called Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir. It’s awesome, to say the least, because not only does it contain some amazing action, but it fills in some blanks that needed some serious filling. For starters, it picks up right where Darth Maul’s story left off when he was defeated by Darth Sidious. Count Dooku himself tortures him with force lighting to gain more information on the Shadow Collective (Maul’s syndicate) in order to hunt the rest down and destroy them. This doesn’t last too long. Maul’s Mandalorian’s break him out and escape, but General Grievous and an army of droids follow them.
Maul then captures Grievous and eventually captures Count Dooku, but instead of killing them both, Mother Talzin convinces Maul to use them as bait. For the record, Mother Talzin was revealed to be Darth Maul’s biological mother (weird) and she becomes a vital part of an epic showdown. Grievous escapes Maul’s captivity and finds his way back to Darth Sidious. The two of them traveled to Dathomir, where Mother Talzin and Darth Maul were waiting for them. The thing is, they had a little surprise waiting for them. Mother Talzin performed a ritual on Count Dooku to transfer her conscious into his body. When Darth Sidious and Grievous arrived, they had to contend with a mind-controlled Count Dooku and Darth Maul wielding a dark saber.
Now that was one heck of a fight. However, Darth Sidious managed to free Count Dooku from Mother Talzin’s control and General Grievous subsequently impaled her with two of his lightsabers. An enraged Darth Maul was dragged off by his men and Darth Sidious once again defeated him. After that, most of the galaxy’s crime syndicates abandoned Darth Maul and his power was severely diminished. All of this took place between season five after he was captured by Sidious and before he reappeared in season seven trying to rebuild his syndicate. Talk about filling in the blanks, right?
Needless to say, it’s unfortunate that this comic series didn’t become an episode for the Clone Wars show. It’s a bit of a pain that the fans have to go to the books so they can keep up with the continuity of the show, but we unfortunately live in a world where the show got canceled too early. If it didn’t, things would’ve been different, but we got to take what we got. I’m glad the show came back and had a legitimate end, but if want to see how Darth Maul escaped Sidious, read that series.
Not only does it help the flow of his arc, but it did a lot for other character’s arcs as well. The most important would have to be Mother Talzin, a character who was a recurring antagonist throughout the series. Her last episode of the series had her battle Mace Windu and, err… Jar Jar. We didn’t get to see her story end in the show, but it met a satisfying conclusion in the Sons of Dathomir comic. Speaking of which, General Grievous was the one who killed her. If only this was shown in the Clone Wars series, because he really needed some action scenes where he actually won. In the comic series, he massacred whole squads of Darth Maul’s men, killed Mother Talzin, and even dueled Darth Maul to a standstill. Now that’s the General Grievous we needed to see more in the show.
Honestly, who can say no to more Darth Maul? On top of that, it was just some good old-fashioned lightsaber action. Man, if only the show didn’t get canceled. As disappointed I am about it, I’m glad his story was expanded on in the comics. Star Wars is a big universe, so having everything expanded on in shows, games, and books is simply necessary. If you’re a fan of Darth Maul and the Clone Wars show, I implore you to check out the Son of Dathomir comic series.