Welcome to Character Histories. In this series, I will look at the whole story of a character or group of characters from the Star Wars canon and try to give the main events. As I do this, I will also be letting you know where you can find this story (which I will put in yellow so that you can easily see and avoid that section if you want to avoid spoilers). I will look to stick to the details confirmed in canon, but will also make note of any information that I believe to be the case that may not have been expressly confirmed.
Some of you may remember that I did a couple of these a long time ago on here, but the final season of The Clone Wars has meant that we now have more confirmation as to how these stories played out, while I also think that I can do a better job on these articles now I am more experienced at writing on here.
Today, will be looking at one of the coolest villains from the franchise, Darth Maul, and attempting to show how he was a character not born to evil, but forced into a spiral of evil actions and failure. There are still some large gaps in his story that will hopefully be filled in the future, but this should hopefully go some way to explaining one of his most surprising appearances.
Joining the Sith
From the comic miniseries Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir
The young Zabrak was born to Mother Talzin on Dathomir, but the name of his birth is something that has never been revealed. One of the Nightbrothers, he had 2 blood brothers: Feral and Savage Opress.
When he was still a young child, his potential with the Force was noted by Darth Sidious, who was allied with Mother Talzin to exchange wisdom and power. Initially intending to make Mother Talzin his apprentice, Sidious instead took the young Zabrak with him to train instead, giving him the title of Darth Maul.
From the comic miniseries Darth Maul
While he was still a child, Maul was taken to Malachor by Sidious, to the site of a great battle that had occurred thousands of years earlier between the Jedi and Sith, leaving the petrified remains of many warriors due to the activation of an ancient Sith superweapon. Sidious forced Maul to breathe in the ashes of the fallen Sith, which caused him to have visions of the Sith being struck down by the Jedi, with Maul feeling every slash and the death of those that came before him. This incited in Maul a hatred for the Jedi and a desire for revenge.
Apprentice in the shadows
From the comic miniseries Darth Maul
Maul grew into a skilled warrior and deadly assassin, but as the Sith remained hidden, he was not allowed to go after Jedi. This left him restless and he would often go on hunting trips to face off against some of the most dangerous predators in the galaxy.
With Sidious aligning with the Trade Federation, Maul was sent to help them deal with a group of pirates in the Kellux system. During this defence, Maul found out that the Jedi Padawan Eldra Kaitis had been captured and was being auctioned off to the highest bidder by Xev Xrexus of the Xrexus Cartel.
Maul hired a group of bounty hunters – Cad Bane, Aurra Sing, Vorhdeilo and Troo-til-tek – and together they found the auction. Though they did not have the funds to win the auction, Maul and his group successfully stole Kaitis from the winning bidders, though Maul’s actions in doing so revealed his identity as a Sith to her. Trying to escape with their prize, their ship was rigged with an explosive, which caused them to crash on a nearby moon. Xev Xrexus named them the prey of a hunt, with all the losing bidders being able to buy into the chance to join the hunt.
With their pursuers coming, Maul had the bounty hunters acquire a new ship, while he and Kaitis (who he released and armed with her lightsaber) drew the majority of the hunters away and defeated them. Having defeated their pursuers, Maul and Kaitis duelled, and Maul managed to kill her. Guessing that Xrexus had identified him as Sith, Maul went back to kill her, before returning to Palpatine, where he found that this was all a test from his master.
From the comic Age of Republic – Darth Maul 1
Maul used the name of the defeated Padawan to create a fake cartel, the Kaitis Cartel, and used this as a way to develop alliances in the lower levels of Coruscant. One such alliance he made was with a thief called Zek Peiro. Maul had Peiro help him on a job to determine that he was Force-sensitive, at which point Maul killed him.
Sensing Maul’s impatience, Sidious took Maul back to Malachor and had him inhale the ashes again. Maul once again had visions, but this time they were of an alternate life where he had grown up as a Jedi, but Maul became disgusted and killed the innocent Zabraks he was feasting with. From this lesson, Maul learned the need for patience as it would take more than just rage and hatred to destroy the Jedi.
The Sith revealed
“At last, we will reveal ourselves to the Jedi. At last, we will have revenge.”
From Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Sidious’ plans kicked into gear with the Trade Federation’s invasion of Naboo. With the actions of the Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi helping Queen Amidala of Naboo escape without signing a treaty to make the invasion legal, Maul was given the job to track the Queen down. Maul traced a distress call from Naboo’s governor Sio Bibble to Amidala, which revealed that they were hiding on Tatooine. Maul took his ship, the Scimitar to Tatooine and used a number of probe droids to find his targets. After a probe droid found Qui-Gon Jinn leaving Mos Espa, he managed to catch up with the Jedi and engage him just before he could reach the Queen’s starship. Jinn managed to delay Maul while the starship took off and jump aboard as they fled. Maul’s skills would lead Jinn to inform the Jedi Council that he believed Maul to be a Sith.
Under orders from Sidious, Maul made his was to Naboo to join with the Trade Federation. With Queen Amidala choosing to return home to free her people – with Jinn and Kenobi accompanying her – Maul was ordered to let them make the first move. Maul did so and eventually confronted Amidala and her forces as they left the palace hangar. Jinn and Kenobi stayed to fight Maul while Amidala and her security found an alternative route into the palace. Though Maul was outnumbered, he successfully managed to separate the Jedi and mortally wound Jinn. Anger and grief at his master’s death increased Kenobi’s aggression and he managed to cut Maul’s lightsaber in half, reducing him to one blade. Maul managed to outmanoeuvre Kenobi and Force-push him down a reactor shaft, though Kenobi managed to grab an input nozzle to avoid falling down the shaft. Maul kicked Kenobi’s lightsaber down the shaft and began to taunt him, but was caught out by using the Force to leap over him and use Jinn’s lightsaber to cut him in half at the waist, with both halves falling down the shaft.
While both the Jedi and Darth Sidious believed Maul dead, he had actually survived his duel with Kenobi. Through his hatred and will to survive, Maul managed to use the Force to grab an air vent as he tumbled down the shaft, and eventually managed to bring the top half of his body to a trash container. Taken as part of the trash, Maul found himself transported to the junkyard world of Lotho Minor. Maul used the Force to create a 6-limbed lower torso out of junk (held in place by the Force). He also made an arrangement with an Anacondan named Morley, who agreed to bring Maul food in return for his leftovers.
Return to the galaxy
From The Clone Wars season 4 episode 21-22 “Brothers”, “Revenge”
Over 10 years after Maul’s defeat on Naboo, his brother Savage – who had been turned into a weapon by the Nightsister Asajj Ventress in her quest for revenge against Count Dooku, before going off on his own – was sent on a quest by Mother Talzin to find Maul. Finding his way to Lotho Minor and led by Morley, he eventually found Maul, who had been driven mad and could barely remember his identity, though his lust for revenge against the Jedi still burned hot.
Savage took Maul back to Dathomir, where Mother Talzin was now residing alone following the Battle of Dathomir. Using Nightsister magic, Mother Talzin was able to repair Maul’s mind, make his body strong again and replace the lower torso Maul had made with a pair of robotic legs made from the remains of the fallen battle droids.
With his mind restored, Maul’s lust for revenge against Kenobi led him and Savage – who he took as his apprentice – to draw out the Jedi Master through the slaughter of civilians. Though they managed to capture Kenobi on Raydonia, the arrival of Ventress (who was tracking down Savage for a bounty) led to her and Kenobi facing the brothers and managing to escape.
From The Clone Wars season 5 episode 1 “Revival”
The Jedi began a hunt for the brothers, with Kenobi and Adi Gallia tracking them down to Florrum, where they had convinced a large proportion of Hondo Ohnaka’s pirates to turn against their captain and side with them. The Jedi engaged the brothers, but Gallia was killed by Savage. Kenobi eventually managed to cut off one of Savage’s arms, while Maul’s pirates reconciled with Ohnaka and turned on the brothers. The brothers managed to escape, but it cost Maul one of his legs. The pirates managed to shoot down their ship as they fled, but the brothers escaped in an escape pod.
The Shadow Collective
From The Clone Wars season 5 episode 14-15 “Eminence”, “Shades of Reason”
With oxygen running out in their escape pod, the brothers were found passed out and half-alive by the Mandalorian terrorist group Death Watch. Realising they were enemies of the Jedi, their leader Pre Vizsla had them taken to their base on Zanbar, where the brothers were healed, Savage’s missing arm was replaced with a cybernetic one and Maul’s legs were replaced with a new pair of more natural looking cybernetic legs.
Due to their shared enmity with both Count Dooku and more importantly Kenobi, Maul and Vizsla agreed to an alliance and began planning to claim Mandalore for Death Watch. At Maul’s insistence, they created an alliance of 3 of the galaxy’s top criminal cartels: Black Sun, The Pykes and the Hutts, creating the Shadow Collective.
Maul led the Shadow Collective in attacks on Mandalore, with Death Watch arriving to “drive off” or “capture” their forces, making Duchess Satine Kryze look weak and Pre Vizsla strong. Maul predicted that Vizsla would betray him, and he was soon proved right as Vizsla had the brothers arrested, declared himself ruler of Mandalore and ordered the arrest of Duchess Satine.
From The Clone Wars season 5 episode 15-16 “Shades of Reason”, “The Lawless”
The brothers soon broke out of their imprisonment and found the former Prime Minister Almec in his cell. Maul released him, with the intention of taking control of Mandalore and using Almec as a puppet ruler.
Maul challenged Vizsla to a fight to the death for leadership of Death Watch and won the duel. While most of Death Watch accepted Maul’s leadership, Bo-Katan Kryze and her followers refused, beginning a civil war.
During a failed escape attempt, Duchess Satine managed to transmit a distress call to the Jedi, which led to Kenobi mounting a rescue attempt on his own. Kenobi successfully broke her out of prison, but Maul’s forces managed to shoot down their ship and the brothers disarmed him. Taking them back to the throne room, Maul taunted Kenobi to give into the dark side, but when this failed he chose to make Kenobi suffer by stabbing the Duchess right in front of him and letting her die in his arms, before ordering Kenobi’s imprisonment.
The Master returns
From The Clone Wars season 5 episode 16 “The Lawless”
With the help of Bo-Katan, Kenobi soon escaped, but Maul was not there to stop him as his former master Darth Sidious had come to Mandalore. Seeing that Maul was planning to become the Lord of the Sith himself, Sidious attacked the brothers, managing to kill Savage and defeat Maul, leaving him begging for mercy.
From the comic miniseries Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir
Maul was imprisoned in the Spire, a prison on Stygeon Prime. Death Watch forces including Rook Kast and Gar Saxon rescued Maul, who regrouped with the Shadow Collective. In a series of battles, the Separatists chased after Maul and the Shadow Collective – which began to fall apart as the cartels left to save themselves – but Maul managed to capture Dooku, who allied himself with the Zabrak.
Maul retreated with Dooku to Dathomir and Mother Talzin, who began feeding off Dooku’s life force as a sacrifice to bring her back to physical form. However, the reason for Maul’s escape was revealed as Sidious appeared with Grievous. As they fought, Sidious’s power was too strong despite Mother Talzin now having enough power to have a physical form. Mother Talzin ordered Maul to retreat as she held off Sidious’ Force lightning and as he was dragged away by Kast and another member of Death watch, Maul could only watch as Grievous fatally stabbed Mother Talzin.
Sidious had only chased after Maul in order to track down Mother Talzin. With her dead, Sidious no longer considered Maul a threat, so allowed him to escape.
The Siege of Mandalore
Maul returned to Mandalore, and after a while the Pykes and Black Sun returned to the Shadow Collective and Crimson Dawn also joined.
From The Clone Wars season 7 episodes 8-10 “Together Again”, “Old Friends Not Forgotten”, “The Phantom Apprentice”
Maul’s continued links to the Pykes was discovered by the former Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano as she attempted to escape imprisonment by the Pykes. After seeing a hologram of him speaking to Pyke leader Marg Krim, Ahsoka traced Maul’s transmission back to Malachor.
Realising that the end of the Clone Wars was approaching – and with it the final stage of his former master’s plan to rule the galaxy, Maul began looking for ways to stop Sidious. Maul found that Anakin Skywalker was being groomed to become Palpatine’s next apprentice and play a key role in Sidious’ plans. Maul escalated the conflict on Mandalore with the intention of drawing out Kenobi, knowing that Skywalker would come as well, giving Maul the chance to kill him. Unfortunately for Maul, his plans were undone as Separatist forces attacked Coruscant and “captured” Chancellor Palpatine, leading Kenobi and Skywalker to abandon their plans to join the Siege of Mandalore in order to save the Chancellor. The Siege continued with Tano and Bo-Katan Kryze’s forces augmented with the 332ⁿᵈ – who had been created from within the 501ˢᵗ.
“I was hoping for Kenobi. Why are you here?”
The allied forces successfully started pushing back Maul’s Mandalorian forces, though this was in part due to a plan by Maul to lead the Jedi (who he still believed to be Kenobi and Skywalker) into the undercity. The plan worked and successfully surrounded the Jedi and killed the clones accompanying them, allowing Maul to reveal himself. Finding that he had captured Tano rather than his intended quarry, Maul realised that the end was even closer than he had thought. Tano ordered him t surrender but he informed her that son the Jedi and Republic would be gone and the galaxy ruled by Darth Sidious. Clone reinforcements arrived and Maul retreated, though after Tano left he attacked the remaining clones and took one of the older ones, Jesse, who he interrogated to find out more about Tano and her plans on Mandalore. While this was happening, Tano found out from the captured Almec that Maul’s plans involved Skywalker, though Almec was assassinated before he could say any more.
Maul revealed himself to Tano, Kryze and Rex in the throne room, freeing Jesse as a show of good faith. With Maul’s forces launching a retaliatory attack in the capital, Tano was left alone with Maul. Maul referred to Tano’s past with the Jedi Order to remind her of their hypocrisy and informed her that Sidious would soon rule the galaxy. Maul offered Tano the chance to join him to take down Sidious. Tano initially agreed, but refused to believe Maul when he said that Skywalker must be killed or else become Sidious’ apprentice.
The pair duelled and Maul retreated, making his way into the rafters of the dome around the city, with the intention to escape by being picked up from the top of the dome by a ship. Tano chased after him and they duelled in the rafters. Maul successfully disarmed her but became overconfident and angry at her refusal to join him, giving her an opening to throw him off the beam and catch him in mid-air with the Force. As Maul begged for her to let him die and warned them they would all die, clones arrived in LAATs, captured and stunned him.
From The Clone Wars season 7 episodes 11-12 “Shattered”, “Victory and Death”
The Mandalorians imprisoned Maul in a device intended for Force-users – the last remaining from Mandalore’s war with the Jedi. Maul was to be transported to Coruscant on a Star Destroyer, with his personal prison placed inside a detention cell, escorted by Ahsoka, Rex, Jesse and a proportion of the 332ⁿᵈ.
While the Star Destroyer was at lightspeed, the clones received Order 66 from Darth Sidious. After Tano escaped initial attempts to kill her, 2 clones were sent to execute Maul. The pair opened his prison but were knocked out by Tano, who freed Maul. As Ahsoka explained that the clones had turned on her, Maul finally realised the specifics of Sidious’ plan. Maul suggested a team-up, but Tano rejected this, sending him instead to cause chaos as a distraction for her.
Maul certainly did this despite being unarmed, killing any clones that got in his way as he went to the hyperdrive room, where he used the Force to cause irreparable damage to the hyperdrive generators. This caused the Star Destroyer to drop out of lightspeed and get caught in the gravity well of a nearby moon, slowly pulling the Star Destroyer towards the surface.
Maul made his way to the hangar and used Ahsoka and Rex’s fight with the rest of the 332ⁿᵈ as a distraction to go for the shuttle. Evading Ahsoka’s initial attempts to stop him, he managed to take off and begin to fly the shuttle out of the hangar, but Ahsoka used the Force to grab the shuttle, only relenting when the pressure form the attacking clones forced her to switch her focus to defending herself and Rex. Maul took his opportunity to escape and jump to hyperspace.
From Solo: A Star Wars Story
Very little is known about Maul’s activities in the early years of the Empire, but what is known is that he continued to lead Crimson Dawn, though he remained in the shadows on Dathomir while Dryden Vos was the public face of the syndicate. At some point in the 10 years following Order 66, it is likely that he came faced and defeated an Imperial Inquisitor and took their lightsaber, while he also had the Darksaber kept on a shrine in Dathomir.
10 years following the Rise of the Empire, Maul was contacted by Dryden Vos’ underling Qi’ra, who informed him that Vos had been murdered by the criminal Tobias Beckett, who had stolen a shipment of coaxium meant for Crimson Dawn. Maul had Qi’ra take over Vos’ role on at least a temporary basis and ordered her to come to Dathomir as they would be working more closely going forward.
What happened with Maul, Qi’ra and Crimson Dawn is currently unknown as their are no records currently linking Maul and Crimson Dawn beyond this point. At some point within the net 7 years, Maul attempted another trip to Malachor in the hopes of finding an ancient weapon in the Sith Temple, however his ship crashed and he found himself stuck on Malachor and cut off from the rest of the galaxy.
From Rebels season 2 episodes 21-22 “Twilight of the Apprentice”
Maul came across the Jedi Padawan Ezra Bridger when Bridger, his master Kanan Jarrus and former Jedi Ahsoka Tano came to Malachor in search of knowledge to help them fight the Sith, only for Bridger to get separated when they were attacked by the Eighth Brother – an Inquisitor who had been hunting down Maul.
“Your passions give you strength. And through strength you gain power. You have seen it. You feel it. You must break your chains.”
Maul kept his identity a secret, only revealing that he was a Force-user with a vendetta against the Sith for them taking everything from him. He teased out Ezra’s passionate and aggressive side and taught him some of the ways of the dark side, allowing the pair to retrieve a Sith holocron from inside the temple. Emerging from the temple they found Jarrus and Tano engaged in combat with 3 Inquisitors: the Eighth Brother, Fifth Brother and Seventh Sister. Bridger immediately went to help his friends, while Maul also engaged the Inquisitors, forcing them to fall back.
With Ezra convincing the Jedi to accept Maul, he led them towards the top of the temple, where Maul said the Jedi would find the knowledge they needed. The group were attacked again by the Inquisitors, separating Maul and Bridger from Jarrus and Tano. Maul managed to overpower the Seventh Sister and held her helpless while he implored Bridger to kill her. Bridger could not bring himself to kill the Seventh Sister in cold blood, so Maul executed her, making a point to Bridger that hesitation could cost him the life of his friends in the future. Maul sent Bridger on towards the top of the temple while he went to help Jarrus and Tano deal with the other Inquisitors.
With them defeated, Maul turned on Jarrus, striking him and blinding him while making clear his intent to make Bridger is apprentice. He began to duel Tano, when the Temple activated. Maul revealed that the holocron would activate and power an ancient superweapon, which Bridger had clearly unknowingly activated. Tano left to find Bridger while Jarrus – who had composed himself after being blinded – engaged Maul. Maul underestimated the blind Jedi, who used his other senses and the Force to throw Maul off the side of the temple. Maul survived the fall and escaped the planet in one of the fallen Inquisitors’ TIE Advanced v1s.
From Rebels season 3 episode 3 “Holocrons of Fate”
A few months later, Maul took the crew of the Ghost hostage while Bridger and Jarru were absent, promising the Jedi the lives of their friends in exchange for the Sith holocron and a Jedi holocron Jarrus possessed. While the Jedi attempted to get the Sith holocron, which they had left with a being called the Bendu, Maul probed the mind of Hera Syndulla to find the location of the Jedi holocron on the Ghost.
The Jedi rendezvoused with Maul on a Mandalorian asteroid outpost that the Shadow Collective had used during the Clone Wars. While he had a couple of droids direct Bridger to the control centre, Maul supposedly led Jarrus to the Ghost crew but instead ejected him into space through an airlock. Maul sent his droids to kill the Ghost crew while going to join Bridger. At Maul’s insistence, he and Bridger combined the holocrons, which would answer their questions: Maul looking for “Hope” while Bridger wanted to see the key to destroying the Sith. In a vision, Maul saw that Kenobi was still alive, but Bridger – who saw Kenobi’s location but not Kenobi himself – broke the connection before Maul could see what Bridger saw. The energy from the holocrons separating caused a blinding flash, which Maul used to cover his escape.
From Rebels season 3 episode 11 “Visions and Voices”
The shared visions formed a mental link between Maul and Bridger, which allowed Maul to discover the location of the Rebel’s base on Atollon. Threatening to reveal the location of the base to the Empire, Maul convinced Bridger to go to Dathomir with him to share the remaining fragments of each other’s visions, so that Maul could track down Kenobi and Bridger find the key to destroying the Sith. Bridger agreed to come with him and they went to the old Nightsister lair and underwent a ritual to share their minds, allowing each of them to see the other’s vision. With the ritual complete, Nightsister spirits demanded a sacrifice of flesh and blood and after possessing the bodies of Jarrus and Sabine Wren – who had tracked Bridger to Dathomir- they attacked the pair. The pair managed to escape beyond the territory that the spirits could reach and Maul gave Bridger another chance to join him and become his apprentice, but Bridger refused to abandon his friends and Maul left alone to find Kenobi. His hasty exit meant that the Darksaber was left behind, and it was picked up by Wren, a Mandalorian who knew of its history.
“Of course… It ends where it bean: a desert planet with twin suns!”
Maul made his way to Tatooine but was unable to track down Kenobi. Maul used his connection to Bridger to make him believe that Kenobi was in danger, leading to Bridger coming to Tatooine to warn Kenobi. Bridger was unable to find Kenobi either, but his distress during a sandstorm drew out the Jedi Master, who found him unconscious. Once Bridger awoke, Maul revealed himself to the pair. Kenobi sent Bridger away and the old rivals found themselves taunting each other over the remains of a campfire in the middle of the night.
Maul realised that Kenobi wouldn’t have come to such a place merely to hide and deduced that he was protecting someone important. Knowing that Maul could not leave with such important knowledge, Kenobi prepared to fight him. A change in Kenobi’s ready stance from the Form III stance he used in the Clone Wars to the Form IV stance Jinn had used on Naboo tricked Maul into using the same attack he used to defeat Jinn, which Kenobi expected, bringing his lightsaber down and cutting through Maul’s hilt and dealing him a mortal blow. Like his victims Satine Kryze and Qui-Gon Jinn before him, Maul died in Kenobi’s arms, while Kenobi’s confirmation that he was protecting “the Chosen One” led Maul to believe that they would be avenged. Kenobi burned Maul’s body on a funeral Pyre.
And so ends the history of Darth Maul. While undoubtedly a villain, it is a tragedy of a boy taken from his family at a young age and forced into a life of hatred and anger that would ruin him. Ultimately this led to his continued failures as the dark side would ultimately never triumph over the light side. Such was the nature of his upbringing that even when his ultimate goals lined up with those of the Jedi – the defeat of Darth Sidious – his hatred would always stop him from going to the Jedi for help, which eventually led to the Jedi having no prior warning of Palpatine’s identity as a Sith Lord or his plan to make Anakin Skywalker his new apprentice.
And the most exciting thing is that this is almost certainly not the full story, as this history shows that there are 15+ years of his life during the reign of the Empire that are currently unaccounted for. What separated him from Crimson Dawn? Was he betrayed by Qi’ra? Or was he just presumed dead when he never returned from Malachor? I sincerely hope that we find out more in the coming years.
What did you think of this history? Is there someone you would like to see me cover?
Thanks for reading. May the Force be with you…