The first Star Wars prequel, The Phantom Menace, is often considered to be the weakest entry of both the prequel trilogy and the Star Wars franchise in general. One of the biggest complaints from Star Wars fans was how underused Darth Maul (Ray Park) was, despite being an incredibly promising villain. As it turns out, this sentiment is shared by one of the franchise's most important actors, Mark Hamill.
Luke Wants More of the Dark Side!
During this year's highly anticipated #D23 celebration, Mark Hamill shared his thoughts about the famed character. The man who saved the galaxy in the original #StarWars trilogy was just as disappointed as viewers who felt that the prequel movies would have benefited from more #DarthMaul.
"Darth Maul was just the coolest looking. I couldn’t believe they disposed of him so quickly. I thought he would last through all three movies!"
Hamill has a great point, and clearly sides with the majority of Star Wars fans on this particular detail. As cool as Darth Maul may have looked, he barely had an impact on the entire prequel trilogy. If Lucasfilm had kept Darth Maul alive, they would have benefited from having a consistent antagonist, instead of introducing a new villains every installment (namely Count Dooku in Attack of the Clones and General Grievous in Revenge of the Sith).
In The Phantom Menace, Darth Maul had an estimated six minutes of screen time and only spoke 31 words. Mere seconds after finally killing Qui-Gon Jin (Liam Neeson), Maul was killed by a young Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and was never featured in a live action feature again.
Darth Maul was featured prominently in the advertisements for the film, leading to even more disappointment among fans who were impressed by his intimidating, devilish appearance and signature twin-bladed lightsaber.
To make matters worse, Benicio Del Toro was supposed to play the character, but ultimately left the project due to Lucas's removal of Darth Maul's dialogue. However, it seems that the creative minds responsible for Star Wars have taken these criticisms constructively, because the fan favorite has emerged in multiple Star Wars spin-offs in recent years.
Redemption For Maul: Star Wars Rebels
Maul reappeared in the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and then continued his animated run with Star Wars Rebels. It's revealed that he actually survived his defeat to Obi-Wan, giving the character a vengeful motivation throughout the series.
With Star Wars Rebels, Darth Maul's character was given the screen time he deserved. Revealed to be a member of the Nightbrother warrior clan, Maul had mechanical legs and had been on a violent warpath with his brother ever since the end of The Phantom Menace.
Maul has since clashed lightsabers with well-known fighters such as Ashoka, Dark Sidious, and even had a number of rematches with Obi-Wan. In the comics, Darth Maul (or at least a copy of him) even fought Darth Vader - although the fight was not considered to be canon.
The chance of seeing Darth Maul reappear in future Star Wars movies is slim, but it's great that he finally got the story he deserved. Darth Maul was a missed opportunity for the Star Wars movies, but he has since made a name for himself in the ever-growing Star Wars lore.
Do you think the prequel trilogy would have been better with Maul as a lead antagonist? Share your thoughts in the comments below.