These Star Wars Rebels Primers are designed to dig through the vast history of Star Wars stories – both good and bad – to pick out the pertinent pieces of information for the new TV series. Here there be spoilers.
I have been dreading the appearance of Darth Maul on Star Wars Rebels.
Forget Jar Jar Binks, Darth Maul is the worst character in the Star Wars canon. “But,” I hear you say, “Darth Maul is cool and has a cool lightsaber and has cool face tattoos. How can he be worse than that obnoxious, vaguely racist cartoon rabbit?” To start, let’s talk about how ‘cool’ he is. In The Phantom Menace, Darth Maul is a character utterly devoid of substance or purpose. Character is conveyed through both dialogue and action, but Darth Maul says and does virtually nothing. He has exactly two lines of dialogue in the movie (neither of which tell us anything about who the guy is) and his entire role in the movie amounts to nothing more than showing up at the end to be the final boss. Darth Maul is not a character, he’s a costume, and yet, he is somehow beloved because he looks cool and he was your favorite toy when you were nine. All of that being said, that’s not enough for me to hate the guy; after all, Boba Fett and Captain Phasma have similar issues and they only kind of stink. No, to find out why I hate Darth Maul – and I hate Darth Maul – we have to take a look at The Clone Wars.
Since 1999, it’s been something of a running joke that Darth Maul was featured so prominently in the trailers, marketing, and merchandise for Episode I, only to have two lines of dialogue and then be promptly killed off. Certainly there was so much more they could have done with such a ‘cool’ character if only he’d stuck around for a little bit. Thirteen years later, George Lucas – along with Dave Filoni and the Clone Wars team – gave fans what they had wished for. Darth Maul was brought back to the land of the living and given six full episodes to flesh out his story. Unfortunately, that story is unequivocally awful.