Darth Maul is a fictional character in the Star Wars franchise. 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), as the main antagonist. Darth Maul later makes appearances in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, voiced by Samuel Witwer.
After getting frustrated with a drawing of production designer Gavin Bocquet, Iain 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, spinning, running, and rolling. 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 actor and martial artist Ray Park in The Phantom Menace. The character was voiced by comedian/voice actor/director Peter Serafinowicz in The Phantom Menace and Lego videogame adaptation of the prequel trilogy; while Samuel Witwer performed the character's voice in the animated series The Clone Wars and Rebels. while actors Gregg Berger, Jess Harnell, Stephen Stanton, Clint Bajakian, David W. Collins, and have all voiced him in Legends adaptations and minor appearances.
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 (the future Darth Vader) gets on board, Qui-Gon engages Maul in a lightsaber duel, but the Jedi Master escapes. Eventually, Maul fights Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan Kenobi simultaneously. Maul duels Qui-Gon and eventually kills him. Although Obi-Wan is almost knocked down into a reactor pit, he uses the Force to propel himself out of the pit, and equips himself with Qui-Gon's lightsaber to bisect Maul, seemingly killing him, after which the two separated pieces of Maul's body fall into the pit.
Darth Maul appears in the fourth and fifth seasons of the animated series Star Wars: 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 is revealed to be alive, having survived his presumed death at Obi-Wan Kenobi's hands. Having ended up on the junkyard planet Lotho Minor via a dumpster craft, Maul has suffered from amnesia since Obi-Wan defeated him. Opress finds Maul and brings him to the devastated Dathomir, where Talzin restores Maul's mind and gives him robotic legs. Maul and Opress set about a plan to exact revenge on Obi-Wan. Maul proceeds to attack a village on planet Raydonia as his first attempt on Obi-Wan's life, only to be thwarted due to Asajj Ventress' unexpected appearance to collect a bounty on Opress. Maul and Opress overpower Obi-Wan and Ventress, but Maul lets them go upon realizing that the Jedi know of his existence, deciding to await another opportunity.
In the fifth season, Maul takes Opress as his apprentice, and 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's pirates attack Hondo's loyal forces, and Maul once again duels Obi-Wan while Opress fights and kills Jedi Master Adi Gallia. Obi-Wan and Hondo forces retreat and regroup inside Hondo's compound. Maul's forces eventually break in and Obi-Wan draws the two brothers away form the pirates, engaging them in a two-on-one due while the pirate factions fight elsewhere in the compound. Obi-Wan, thought numbered, cuts off Opress' arm and forces the Sith Lords to retreat. Meanwhile, Honda wins back his crew by "persuading" them under threat of heavy artillery. Obi-Wan blows off one of Maul's robotic legs and badly damages Maul's ship. Maul and Opress manage to escape, but get stuck in dead space due to the damage to their ship. After several days are found close to death 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 named The 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 and appear as heroes to the denizens who have long lived under Duchess Satine Kryze's pacifist rule. Vizsla, however, betrays Maul, imprisoning both Savage and him. Easily breaking free, Maul challenges Vizsla to a duel to take over the Death Watch and Mandalore; he succeeds in killing Vizsla and then 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 puts the disgraced former prime minister Almec, whom Satine had imprisoned for corruption, in power as a puppet leader, thus solidifying his control over Mandalore. 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 exacts revenge on the Jedi by murdering Satine right in front of him, hoping to make the Jedi suffer as much has he once did. Obi-Wan is later freed by the Night Owl rebels (Bo Katan's Death Watch faction) who request Republic aid.
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 tells him that he has 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.
An older Maul appears in the season 2 finale of Star Wars Rebels. Tracked by an Inquisitor named the Eighth Brother, Maul is stranded on the ancient Sith world of Malachor, where he is discovered by series protagonist Ezra Bridger among the ruins. Introducing himself as "Old Master" and seeking revenge against Sidious, Maul leads Ezra into an ancient Sith temple, where they discover a holocron that Maul claims can give them the knowledge needed to defeat the Sith. After recovering it, the two find Ezra's master Kanan Jarrus and former Jedi Ahsoka Tano locked in battle with the Eighth Brother. They also find the Fifth Brother and the Seventh Sister, who have been pursuing the Rebels for some time. Maul - having cast aside the title of Darth - then reveals a new lightsaber disguised as a walking stick and joins the Jedi in battling their enemies.
After the Inquisitors retreat, Maul wins the Jedi's trust by denouncing the Sith, and tells them that he cannot defeat Darth Vader on his own. Working together, he and the Jedi ascend towards the top of the Sith temple and successfully defeat the three Inquisitors. It is then that Maul reveals his intention to take Ezra as his apprentice, having already tricked him into activating the temple. After blinding Kanan, Maul briefly duels Ahsoka before facing Kanan again, only to be knocked off the temple's edge. However, he survives the fall and escapes Malachor in the Eighth Brother's TIE Fighter.
Months after the events on Malachor, Maul once again reveals himself to the Jedi as he takes the Ghost's crew hostage. He threatens to kill them unless Kanan and Ezra bring both the Sith and Jedi holocrons to him. Despite an attempt by the Rebels to escape, Maul successfully recaptures them and takes them to a remote base in the Outer Rim where he awaits the arrival of the Jedi. After they arrive, the holocrons are hazardously united allowing Ezra and Maul to see visions of their desires: Ezra sees images of a way to destroy the Sith, images including "twin suns", while Maul sees a vision of his own. Kanan begs Ezra to look away before he sees something he doesn't want to while Maul tells him to ignore Kanan and keep looking. Ezra heeds his master's words and breaks off the connection, which causes a great explosion. Maul escapes in the confusion uttering, "He lives."
Maul reappears after finding the Rebellion's secret base. He tells Ezra that because the connection was severed, they got bits and pieces of each other's visions. With the holocrons destroyed from the events of their previous meeting, Maul discovered another way to get the information he needed. With Ezra he travels to Dathomir, former home of the Night Sisters, and recreates one of their spells to temporarily meld his and Ezra's minds. After the spell is completed Ezra, who was still looking for a way to destroy the Sith, and Maul realize they are both looking for Obi-Wan Kenobi.
In the episode "Twin Suns", Maul is shown lost on Tatooine. He decides to use Ezra to lure Obi-Wan out of hiding. During their confrontation Maul deduces that Obi-Wan is not only hiding, but is protecting someone. In a swift duel, Obi-Wan fatally wounds Maul. As he lies dying in Obi-Wan's arms, Maul asks if the person he is protecting is the Chosen One, and Obi-Wan replies "he is". Maul declares that this "Chosen One" will avenge them, and dies.
Dark Horse Comics produced Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir based on the scripts and storyboards of an unproduced 4-episode story arc intended for The Clone Wars Season 6. After killing Savage Opress, Darth Sidious takes Maul to a Separatist prison, where Count Dooku tortures him for information about the Shadow Collective. Prime Minister Almec arranges Maul's escape and the latter then heads back to Zanbar to command the Death Watch army. However, he is followed there by General Grievous and his droids, who then battle with Maul and the Mandalorians. While they put up a fierce 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. Although Maul escapes with a company of loyal Mandalorians, the Shadow Collective has fallen apart due to the conflict with Sidious, as the Hutts, Pykes, and Black Sun have all abandoned Maul.
In flashbacks during the novel Star Wars: Ahsoka, it is revealed that during the final days of the Clone Wars, Maul and his forces were besieged on Mandalore by an army of clone troopers led by Ahsoka Tano and Captain Rex. During the siege, Maul confronts and duels Ahsoka, and though he proves to be the stronger fighter, the former Jedi outwits him and traps him in a ray shield. However, before Maul can be taken into official custody, Order 66 is enacted and the clone troopers following Ahsoka turn on her, with the exception of Rex. With Rex's life in peril, Ahsoka abandons the chance of killing Maul, allowing the former Sith to escape once again. This battle was also originally intended to be the real series finale of The Clone Wars had the series never been cancelled – Anakin and Obi-Wan were dispatched to Mandalore with Ahsoka, but were immediately called back to Coruscant to rescue Chancellor Palpatine, thus leading into the opening sequence of Revenge of the Sith.
With the 2012 acquisition of Lucasfilm by The Walt Disney Company, most of the licensed Star Wars novels and comics produced since the originating 1977 film Star Wars were rebranded as Star Wars Legends and declared non-canon to the franchise in April 2014.
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 was raised by Sidious for as long as he can remember. 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 comic series starting in this period, Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Sith Hunters & Darth Maul: Death Sentence. 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.
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.