In the #StarWars fandom, a few things are absolutely true: First, Han shot first. Two, Jar Jar Binks is the most annoying character of all time. And three, Darth Maul was one of the best parts (read: only good part) of #ThePhantomMenace. At the time the film was released, killing off Darth Maul seemed like such a horrible move; why kill off such a fascinating? Luckily for us fans, #DarthMaul survived (as seen in the canonical animated series #StarWarsRebels) and is alive and well. With that information in mind, one can't help but wonder what the future holds in store for one of the most menacing villains in Star Wars lore. However, you might be asking yourself, "Why would Darth Maul be making a live-action appearance anytime soon?"
This is why - and tip of the hat to my editor, Alisha, for pointing me at this theory of hers.
Marvel Is Releasing A Darth Maul Comic Book Series
Yesterday broke the news that Darth Maul is getting his own spinoff comic book miniseries written by Cullen Bunn and illustrated by Luke Ross.
On the surface level, a comic book series might not seem like a huge deal. As we've established, Darth Maul is a wonderful character and any effort to further explore what makes him so villainous is welcomed.
However, if you look a bit closer you'll notice that this is a trend that has become #Marvel's M.O. The company tends to launch a new series (or restart an existing one) just before they announce a film adaption. It's a well-established pattern. First, a comic series, then the announcement of a new movie. Sometimes the project is already in the works when Marvel launches a new comic book series. Either way, Marvel often uses #comicbook series in two ways: 1. to gauge audience reception for a potential project or character before an announcement or 2. to prime the pump and build buzz among its fanbase for upcoming films or TV shows.
Could Disney be teasing a Darth Maul return? It's not entirely impossible. With the prospect of seeing Darth Maul on the big screen once again in the new future, let's take a look at the four ways he might make his way back into the ever-expanding Star Wars universe.
4. A Role In 'Star Wars: Episode VIII'
There are so many fan theories out there, I've forgotten how many of them I've actually read and how many I just thought I've seen. Maybe Darth Maul is #BobaFett, maybe he's Leader Snoke, or perhaps he is #Rey's father (I hope my sarcasm is coming across through text). Whatever the case may actually be, there are several ways Darth Maul could have a role in #StarWarsEpisodeVIII and then a larger role in #StarWarsEpisodeIX.
In Rebels, it's established Maul hates Sith, so perhaps he's the reason they've been replaced by the Knight of Ren? Perhaps he helped established the Knights of Ren or served as their battle master and taught them the way of the saber. Maul has been showcased as an extremely powerful Force-user, but even more so he's one of the most skilled warriors in all the galaxies.
However, I don't see this as a very likely option. First off, the majority of moviegoers have never seen Rebels and therefore the movie would have to spend a substantial amount of time explaining how this Sith last seen in Episode I is somehow still alive in Episode VIII.
3. Revival Of Battle Of The Sith Lords
Although the canonical status of #videogames within the Star Wars universe is best described as confusing, anything made after should be considered canon unless otherwise stated. With that in mind, I wouldn't be surprised if the reason Marvel is launching a Darth Maul comic has nothing to do with the movies but rather is a means to test the waters to see if there is still an interest in this fascinating character. Of course, you're probably asking yourself, "What is #BattleoftheSithLords?
All the way back before Disney purchased the rights to Star Wars, #LucasFilm had ordered a video game from Red Fly Studios. The game was set to focus on Darth Maul and other Sith Lords in an epic, stealth-eccentric and action-heavy setting. Unfortunately, things fell through in 2011 (most likely due to #GeorgeLucas selling the rights to Disney) and the game never happened. Perhaps the revival of Darth Maul will pave the way for the revival of Battle of The Sith Lords (especially since Red Fly Studios expressed interest in resurrecting the game just a little over a year ago).
2. A Cameo In 'Rogue One'
Rogue One hits theaters in about a month, so we won't have to wait very long to see if this theory pans out. As far as timelines go, #RogueOne fits in pretty well; according to the canon Darth Maul is alive and well in between the events of Star Wars Episode III and the original Star Wars. What's that? Rogue One is set in the same time-frame? Yes, it is. And that's why this would make so much sense.
Some fans were upset when it was revealed #DarthVader would make an appearance in the film, as they felt that he should have been kept a secret for a bigger reveal in the movie. But what if it was all clever distraction? What if the reason Disney revealed Darth Vader's involvement was so we wouldn't wonder if any other villains would show up? Perhaps Darth Maul will make a surprise cameo and come back from the dead for a huge plot twist few will see coming. I'm not sure how likely it is, but I definitely want to see it play out that way.
1. His Own Anthology Film
When the anthologies were first announced, dozens of names were thrown around in regard to which preexisting characters deserved their own feature film. And though I'm fine with Han Solo being the first to get his own spinoff movie, I've always been a huge supporter of Darth Maul getting his own movie. There are so many possibilities; they could focus on his origin story, showing off what makes him tick and what turned him to the dark side. Or they could follow his apprenticeship days under #DarthSidious — what kind of lessons does a Sith Lord receive? And what happens when a Sith turns on his master?
Or they could show his epic trek from death to revenge-seeking menace, revoking the ways of the Sith and wanting to see the downfall of all those who harmed him. They could take the character in so many different ways; there's so much potential for character growth, for the introduction of new characters, and for some of the most epic fight scenes in all of the Star Wars universe. This is the path I'm hoping for and given Marvel's pattern it makes the most sense, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
The character of Darth Maul is severely underdeveloped, and regardless of whether or not he returns to the big screen anytime soon, the fact that he is getting his own comic series is exciting in and of itself. If the comic series is paving a way for his big screen reveal, hopefully he'll come in through one of the ways above. However, I'm not opposed to waiting a few years to finally see him make his long awaited return.