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Warning: This post about Darth Maul contains a spoiler for Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Darth Maul is one of the most iconic Star Wars villains, which is especially impressive for a character who only appeared in one much-derided Star Wars film, The Phantom Menace. On top of that, he was spliced in half by Obi-Wan Kenobi during an intense lightsaber battle.
A near-death experience didn’t stop Maul from continuing to pervade Star Wars in both the literary and cartoon fronts, however. It made him stronger.
Over the last two decade, Darth Maul has only increased in popularity. He’s made appearances in several animated Star Wars shows, as well as comic books, novels, and other tie-ins. Most importantly, he just re-appeared in Solo: A Star Wars Story. For a character that shouldn’t have even survived one film, his legacy has endured.
With that in mind, here are some other things you probably didn’t know about Darth Maul, the Dark Side’s most resilient villain.
12 fascinating facts about Darth Maul
1. Darth Maul survived the Battle of Naboo
If you only follow the Star Wars films, you may never have realized that Darth Maul survived his encounter with Obi-Wan Kenobi at the end of The Phantom Menace. Even though he never re-appeared in the prequels, Darth Maul returned in the animated show Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which ran for six seasons.
In The Clone Wars, it’s revealed that Maul used the Force to grab an air vent as he was tumbling down the reactor shaft after being literally sliced in two by Obi-Wan. He was then able to make it to a trash container, which dumped his scattered body on the junkyard world of Lotho Minor.
2. Darth Maul became spider-like half robot in exile
The road to recovery for Darth Maul was not easy. After being tossed into a junkyard planet, it took Maul years for him to regain his strength. He found ways to survive, though.
Darth Maul lived in the bowels of Lotho Minor for years. He then had his legs replaced by a six-legged mechanism that allowed him to walk again. He survived in exile, bargaining with a resident worker of the planet for food and scraps. Maul was driven mad with rage. The only thing that kept Maul going was enacting revenge on Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Maul’s spider legs were eventually replaced by more conventional robotic legs (as shown above) when he was discovered and repaired by his brother, Savage Oppress.
3. Darth Maul squared off against Obi-Wan Kenobi in a rematch
After Maul’s brother, Savage Oppress, found him on the junkyard planet, he took him back to his homeworld of Dathomir, where his mother, Mother Talzin, repaired his legs and restored his sanity.
Soon thereafter, Maul was determined to exact his revenge on Obi-Wan Kenobi. Oppress and Maul started going on bounty missions, as Maul began to resurface in the galaxy. Over a decade after their initial encounter on Naboo, Darth Maul crossed paths with Obi-Wan Kenobi and engaged him a deadly duel.
Maul was unable to enact his vengeance, however. Asajj Ventress, a former apprentice under Count Dooku, intervened and sabotaged Maul’s attempt at revenge. It would not be Maul’s last encounter with Kenobi, though. Even though he was unable to best Kenobi, he would find an even more sinister way of hurting Kenobi.
4. Darth Maul killed Obi-Wan Kenobi’s love
In The Clone Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi began a romantic affair with the Duchess of Mandalore, Satine Kryze. Maul quickly started to hatch a plan of his own, which included overthrowing the government by increasing crime. He also tried to connect the duchess with the criminal element in a treacherous plot to overthrow her.
Maul was successful in overthrowing Kryze, imprisoning her along with the rest of the capital’s government leaders. Kryze was able to send out a distress call to the Jedi, alerting Obi-Wan. When he arrived, however, Maul was already waiting for him. He had managed to re-capture Kryze and was holding her hostage.
Both Obi-Wan and Maul engaged in psychological warfare. Maul would try to lure Obi-Wan to the Dark Side, while Obi-Wan would try to lure Maul away from it. Obi-Wan had surmised that it was not his decision to apprentice under Darth Sidious, the Dark Lord of the Sith who plucked him from a young age. Obi-Wan tried to convince Maul that he was capable of more, but Maul saw that as reductive, manipulative thinking and rejected it almost immediately.
Maul ignited his lightsaber and pierced it through Kryze’s chest. Obi-Wan held her as she died in his arms. Maul proceed to imprison Obi-Wan, who eventually escaped. It took him some time to recover from Kryze’s loss, however. It was the deadliest blow that Maul had struck toward his Jedi nemesis.
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5. Darth Maul formed a group of crime lords called the Shadow Collective
Darth Maul played an active role in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Besides his quest for vengeance against Obi-Wan Kenobi, the single greatest achievement Maul accomplished was forming a mercenary group called the Shadow Collective.
In the show, Maul approached several bounty hunters and crime lords about joining his group. That’s where Maul learned about Mandalorians and where he initially came into conflict with them. Maul became a treacherous crime lord onto himself, often ruthlessly interrogating and murdering anybody who got in his way.
For anyone who thought Maul was merely a disposable villain, The Clone Wars slowly but surely established him as a formidable opponent to anyone who crossed him. Over time, he became one of the most notorious and respected villains in Star Wars lore.
6. Darth Maul was active in the prequels—just not how you’d expect
If you’ve seen the prequels, you’ll know that Darth Maul allegedly meets his fate at the end of The Phantom Menace. You’ll also know that he doesn’t appear in either Attack of the Clones or Revenge of the Sith. However, Darth Maul does play an active role during the prequel trilogy—just not in the movies.
In the comics, Maul was very active in his attempts to take down Darth Sidious, his former master who betrayed him. At one point, he actually attempts to take down Count Dooku, who replaced him as Sidious’s apprentice. When that fails, Maul tries to persuade Dooku to join him, but at that point Dooku is loyal to Sidious. (For those wondering, this takes place after Attack of the Clones but before Revenge of the Sith.)
Maul also encounters General Grievous, one of the villains from Revenge of the Sith. During The Clone Wars, Maul and his brother Savage Opress even take on Darth Sidious in a wicked lightsaber duel. Maul and Opress lose to Sidious, however. In the comics as well as The Clone Wars, Dooku and the Separatists defeat Maul and the Shadow Collective on multiple occasions, thus convincing Sidious that his former apprentice was no longer a threat.
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7. Darth Maul meets his fate in Star Wars: Rebels
Even though Maul had numerous adventures outside of his quest for Obi-Wan, it always seemed to go back to his vengeance toward the Jedi Knight. After The Clone Wars ended, Darth Maul made additional appearances in the sequel show Star Wars: Rebels, which takes place around the time of the original trilogy.
Maul had come across the show’s main characters on a search for holocrons, information storage devices in the form of holograms. In the time since Clone Wars, Maul grew resentful of the Sith after feeling betrayed by his former master, Darth Sidious. When Maul discovers that Obi-Wan Kenobi, hiding out on Tatooine, could possibly hold the key to destroying the Sith, Maul’s quest for the holocrons and his quest for Obi-Wan finally reach a convergent point.
More than 30 years since they first dueled, Maul challenges Obi-Wan Kenobi to one last duel. This time, however, Obi-Wan has the Force and the experiences of the Clone Wars under his belt. The battle does not last very long. As Maul holds onto every last breath, he asks Obi-Wan if Luke Skywalker is the key to the Sith’s destruction. Obi-Wan confirms this. As Maul passes in Obi-Wan’s arms, Maul utters his last words: “He will avenge us.”
It’s a solemn but honorable death. Unlike his death in The Phantom Menace, Maul’s death in Rebels holds a special significance given the amount of history between the two. It’s especially appropriate that he meets his fate by Obi-Wan’s lightsaber blade, as it was Maul’s unquenchable thirst for vengeance that drove the former Sith Lord for all those years.
8. Darth Maul’s mother was Darth Sidious’s original apprentice
Darth Maul almost never became Darth Sidious’s apprentice. In the Star Wars universe, the Sith almost always come in two. As Yoda told Mace Windu in The Phantom Menace, “Always two, there are. A master and an apprentice.” That’s why Darth Sidious searched the galaxy far and wide for an apprentice. He had to pick just the right student in his quest to rid the galaxy of the Jedi.
In his journeys, Sidious would befriend a deadly warrior named Mother Talzin. It was then that Sidious promised Talzin he would take her under his wing as his apprentice. However, after Sidious met her son he realized the boy’s potential. He then abandoned Talzin as his apprentice and opted instead to train Maul in the ways of the Sith.
9. Darth Maul was trained to hunt the Jedi from childhood
The Jedi Code establishes that a potential Jedi must be chosen at a very young age in order to enter the Jedi Order. It’s why Anakin was nearly rejected in The Phantom Menace by the Jedi Council, who deemed him too old to begin his training. In a similar fashion, the Sith also start selecting apprentices at a very young age.
When Sidious took Maul under his tutelage, he was a young boy. He trained aggressively, quickly becoming an acrobatic warrior. Sidious trained him to become a weapon. Maul also started training at a very young age with a double-bladed lightsaber, which would become his signature weapon of choice.
When Maul was still a child, Sidious took him to the planet of Malachor to witness a great battle between the Jedi and the Sith. It was there Sidious ordered Maul to inhale the ashes of his fallen Sith brethren. As Maul started to breathe in the ash, he witnessed hallucinations of the Sith being struck down by the Jedi. He felt every slash of the Jedi’s lightsabers and took in their pain. It was this pivotal moment that formed Maul’s thirst for vengeance against the Jedi.
10. Darth Maul has a connection to The Force Awakens
In The Force Awakens, Han Solo and Chewbacca stumble upon Rey and Finn in the Millennium Falcon. Solo and Chewie are piloting a freighter ship, which happens to hold dangerous beasts known as the Rathtars. When other factions board the ship to find Solo, he lets the Rathtars lose, which results in a death-defying chase through the decks of the freighter ship, killing the other factions and nearly annihilating our heroes in the process.
It might surprise you to know that Han Solo isn’t the first major Star Wars character to encounter the Rathtars. As Darth Maul grew impatient in his training, he started to hunt down Rathtars on the planet of Twon Ketee. He appreciated how ruthless and vicious they were, and unlike him, they served no master. For Maul, however, hunting Rathtars was merely a way to pass the time until his training was complete.
For Han Solo, Rey, and Finn, it was a near-death encounter. For Maul, it was just practice.
11. Princess Leia once sensed Darth Maul’s presence
Thirty-three years after the events of The Phantom Menace, Darth Maul’s legacy was still being felt in the galaxy. In the comic-book series Shattered Empire III, Princess Leia travels to Naboo as part of a deadly operation. During the operation, Leia and the queen of the planet are forced to reopen the Royal Palace Hangar, where Maul fought Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn three decades before, to gain access to starfighters.
12. Maul returned for a surprise cameo in Solo: A Star Wars Story
When Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) kills crime boss Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany) and takes over his operation, she makes a holo-call to the head of the Crimson Dawn syndicate. This turns out to be Maul, who says they’ll be “working together much more closely from now on.” A pretty wild twist! Could it lead to a potential Han Solo sequel? Or does it set Maul up for a role in the long-rumored Obi-Wan spinoff? Solo doesn’t explain anything else about Maul’s role in the story, although it does give fans a double callback to previous eras of the franchise. Ray Park reprised his Phantom Menace performance, with Star Wars animation voice actor Sam Witwer providing his voice.
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Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.
Dan Marcus is a geek culture reporter based in Los Angeles. His work has appeared in First Showing and Trek Movie.