Another post about Maul? Apparently he’s the man of the hour, so why not?
Remember that moment in the Rebels season two second-half trailer? The feeble-sounding guy who went by “Old Master”? If the powers that be at Lucasfilm tried to conceal his identity, they didn’t try very hard. Ever since the moment where it was known that Maul would be returning to the Star Wars universe, fans drooled over the possibilities. What were his plans? Who would he confront? As a castaway, Maul was no longer a Sith Lord by title, but a lone wolf looking to enact revenge on “all his enemies”, as he says in Twilight of the Apprentice.
Indeed, Maul has undergone a litany of major changes over the years; from being halved, to rebuilt, to taking over a group of Mandalorians, to fried by his former master. It’s been a bumpy ride, but Maul keeps on ticking. And it seems as though age hasn’t slowed down this ball of hate one little bit. If you saw Twilight of the Apprentice, you had to be impressed by his efficacy in killing off three Inquisitors, fighting Ahsoka and finally Kanan before falling off the side of a Sith temple. All this for a guy who was clearly a lot older than anyone else there.
As we now know, Maul eventually escaped to fight another day, even if it wasn’t always planned that way. During SWCE, Dave Filoni revealed that Maul was originally going meet his end at the hands of Vader!
Obviously they changed course, and now Maul remains to wreak havoc. It makes sense, as constantly using Vader as the main antagonist reduces him to a mere tool when he should be a sledgehammer. The Rebels have been lucky so far in that Vader hasn’t exacted such a terrible toll, but they can only go to that well so often. With Maul (and Thrawn) still around, we have two chief threats to deal with. Nobody replaces Vader’s intimidating presence but having this one-two punch around goes a long way.
In speculating about Maul’s future, fans have theorized – and in some cases demanded – that he confront Darth Vader. My question is “Why?” Aside from an onscreen duel being a spectacle to behold, what would be the purpose of it? From Maul’s perspective, I get it. He hates everyone – Sith and Jedi alike. He would surely jump at opportunity to chop down the Emperor’s chief thug. And from Vader’s perspective? Does he even care about Maul? Possibly. After all, somebody dispatched the Inquisitors to Malachor to deal with “The Shadow”, so it can be argued that Maul is on Vader’s radar.
Said Filoni, “It’s interesting. This is a little bit inside, but Maul wasn’t meant to survive the Malachor episode. There was a lot of thought given to taking him out there because a lot of the Malachor arc, originally, was more about Vader confronting Maul and it was going to be a story about that. It became clear to me as the emotional story developed and we worked on it more that that was just going to be wrong, that if anything happened to Maul it needed to have its proper time and its proper space. That’s how he kind of got a pass and survived to this season.”
Video below, skip to 6:10 (sorry about the ad. It’s not my video and you know how these things go in 2016).
“The thing is, when you talk about that stuff in the public forum, you invite people to start asking for it. And if they’ve got enough people asking for it, they might do it.”
Now that the cat is out of the bag that Maul and Vader were supposed to come to blows, it’s perhaps not surprising that demand for this sequence to make to the screen is ramping up.
But there is, in my view, a FAR more compelling narrative that ought to supplant Vader vs Maul. As cool as it would be, there’s just not much on the line with those two in terms of animosity. Anakin never encountered Maul, and he didn’t supplant him as Sidious’ apprentice. Aside from tying up a loose end that used to prey on his former Jedi master, what would he care?
The REAL main event is Maul vs Obi-Wan. You could argue that Maul took his pound of flesh from Obi-Wan by killing Satine when he repeatedly failed to kill Kenobi. It wasn’t from a lack of trying, mind you. Kenobi was just too wily (and lucky). You might then be able to argue that there’s no more to this story. Obi-Wan halved Maul; Maul enacted his terrible revenge. But is that the end? Should it be the end? In this blogger’s view, it shouldn’t be. I think Maul is the ideal character to bring Obi-Wan back in to the fray in Rebels. One discarded Sith vs a wayward Jedi, to the death. Call it the galactic rubber match if you will.
Of course we know how such a story arc would end, but what an end it would be! I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or on twitter.