Star Wars: Episode 1 — The Ghost Threat reputed to be one of the least liked star wars movies ever made. From its awkward pacing, boring dialogue, lackluster storyline, and only being part of a prequel, for starters, Ghost Threat has faced its fair share of criticism over the years. The film itself is important to the Skywalker saga, of course, because it is the first step in expansion star wars universe. Amidst unrest in the Galactic Republic and threats to the planet Naboo, Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and his padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) was tasked with negotiating with the Trade Federation. The story unravels from here and leads to the introduction of young Anakin (Jake Lloyd) after taking refuge on Tatooine, where Qui-Gon feels insistent that he is in fact the ‘chosen one’. While Anakin’s humble beginnings and the discovery that the Sith had returned were integral to the concept of the saga, the film maintains its shabby status, unable to escape its own technical faults. However, what should we be grateful for Ghost Threat because, our live-action Darth Maul is played by the talented Ray Park.
Darth Maul Becomes Highlight of ‘The Phantom Menace’
First introduced alongside his master Sheev Palpatine or alternately, Darth Sidious (Ian McDiarmid), Darth Maul looks threatening and very evil. With more understanding of Darth Maul’s past, including his intense training and discontent with taking down his first Jedi, his desire to duel a Jedi master is evident and potentially the film’s most compelling part. It’s halfway through when we first see Darth Maul in action as he engages his primary target, Qui-Gon as he and young Anakin flee through the desert. The fight is unexpected and cut short when Qui-Gonn manages to escape courtesy of the Royal Starship. On the Starship, Qui-Gon was clearly exhausted from fighting the Sith, but Darth Maul on Tatooine looked cool as a cucumber as he watched them go down.
Through boring storylines, objectively bad acting, and every moment where Jar Jar Binks (Best Ahmad) speaking, the Darth Maul scene really feels like a well-deserved moment of relief. It’s a strange dichotomy that exists in film, where, while we do love our established characters Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon, there are parts of us that both support Darth Maul. Serving under Palpatine, there was an exciting infancy about him, one that audiences were eager to see what he would do next. He dazzles audiences with his amber-red eyes and dazzling sword skills that basically make him star wars very good. It’s the same alluring trait that exists within Darth Vader, and why star wars more than just a story about good versus evil.
At the end of the film, Darth Maul returns to Naboo to begin his duel with Qui-Gon who is with Obi-Wan. The fight is epic and easily a highlight of the film, as Darth Maul expertly combats the two Jedi with great skill and agility. Halfway through, the Master and Padawan are separated and Qui-Gon is tasked with subduing Darth Maul himself while Obi-Wan watches, unable to intervene. Very intense and captivating, watching Darth Maul’s acrobatic feuds. Finally, Darth Maul managed to take down his opponent and our beloved Qui-Gon perished. Fueled by rage, Obi-Wan enters the scene and manages to avenge his Master. Darth Maul was presumed dead, as he fell into the melting pot, split in two.
Darth Maul Was Killed Too Soon
However, Darth Maul’s death did not last long. By the time the film was released in 1999, despite the mixed reaction to the film itself, fans were unanimously adoring Darth Maul. Everyone can agree that he is one of the greatest villains seen in the saga, which is saying something when he kills the other best parts of Ghost Threat (Qui-Gon Jin). Darth Maul is truly the epitome of the great Sith, the perfect antonym of the Jedi. He had a tragic start to life, born as the son of Mother Talzin who belonged to a society of power-sensitive witches on the planet Dathomir. He struggled with his own anger as a child, which manifested in the dark side and he was eventually chosen by Darth Sidious to be his apprentice, after months of abuse and torture. He also has an instantly recognizable physical appearance of evil, similar to Darth Vader, which is important in sagas such as star wars which has many characters to know and remember. Darth Maul has red skin with black tattoos covering his body, scary horns, and an iconic and unique double-sided lightsaber. In addition, as seen in Ghost Threat, Darth Maul was highly skilled in battle. Ray Park is the martial arts stunt double who literally brings Darth Maul to life and is widely approved by star wars fan.
Before George Lucas himself reviving Darth Maul, bringing the character back to life on screen in the fourth season Clone Wars. His survival was determined as a result of Darth Maul finding himself in a transport that took him to the trash world of Lotho Minor where he would spend over a decade. He is driven by his anger and hatred towards Obi-Wan, the same anger that followed him from childhood, the dark side that gave him the strength to survive this long.
What Happened to Darth Maul After ‘The Phantom Menace’?
Darth Maul continues his journey from Clone Wars where we are reintroduced to him amidst his years of madness in Lotho Minor, and then his revival. His journey in Clone Wars including several confrontations with his foes Obi-Wan, as well as Ashoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein), claimed Mandalore and savagely killed Satine Kryze (Anna’s Grave) as Obi-Wan watches — history repeats itself.
He had a brief but welcome cameo in 2018 Solo: A Star Wars Story where he is revealed to be the manipulator behind the protagonist Qi’ra’s Crimson Dawn criminal empire (Emilia Clarke) stay true to.
Darth Maul’s story ends in Star Wars Rebels, where he is known as Maul. Here, he is fueled by his search for ancient weapons when he meets Jedi apprentice Ezra Bridger (Taylor Grey), whom he later tried to make his Sith apprentice. In the series, it becomes clear that the anger Maul harbored for Obi-Wan has been shifted to his former Master, Palpatine. Having discovered many of Palpatine’s disciples since him, he demonizes Palpatine for using him as a pawn to get to his ultimate weapon, Darth Vader. Eventually, he grew content with the thought of conquering Palpatine as it would, even if it meant not being carried out by himself.
In “Twin Suns”, Maul finds Obi-Wan (James Arnold Taylor) who was hiding on Tatooine (protecting Luke Skywalker), and his end was finally fulfilled. After a brief contest, Maul is pummeled and Obi-Wan holds him as he says his last words — “He will avenge us”, regarding Luke who Obi-Wan believes to be the ‘chosen one’. This line is nuanced and complex — unlike anything we’ve ever seen Ghost Threat and in his death, we finally see the whole development of Maul’s characterization. In death, he accepts and almost finds peace in Obi-Wan, his nemesis, his only constant.
That would have been a fitting way to finish the story, his death coming true as originally written except this time, Obi-Wan and Maul are both older and wiser. From humble beginnings as the cause of Qui-Gon’s death, Darth Maul turned into one of the most popular star wars characters throughout the ages and have had a significant impact on the fictional universe. Darth Maul represents the best part of star wars, Badass lightsaber skills are entangled with conflicts that are both external and internal — a journey between the light side and the dark side.