Warning: Spoilers follow for Solo: A Star Wars Story. Jump into hyperspace and away from this page if you haven't seen the movie yet.
Solo: A Star Wars Story surprised me. I went into the movie thinking I knew what to expect from the tale about a young Han Solo becoming the scoundrel with a heart of gold we know and love, but I didn't expect a big connection to the existing Star Wars universe. But then Darth Maul appeared, and I gasped in shock. Seeing the villain on the big screen again was thrilling. If you thought the character's potential was wasted with his apparent death in The Phantom Menace, you'll be excited to know his story continued.
Maul has had a powerful, revenge-fueled, kind of tragic arc in the animated series and comics. If you've ever cared about the character, I highly recommend setting aside a day and going full Maul to catch up with these canonical stories, in chronological order.
A five-part Marvel comic miniseries, Darth Maul is set before The Phantom Menace. Darth Sidious is training Maul, preparing him for their conquest of the Jedi. Sidious is patient, more than willing to wait for the long game, but Maul is ready to strike. Some of Maul's act now ask questions later attitude is shown in Episode I, but this miniseries really shows his impatience and gives important insight into his dynamic with Palpatine.
The Phantom Menace
Darth Maul is criminally underused in The Phantom Menace. He lurks around the story's edges, pacing like a wild cat ready to strike. His fight with Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi showcases his incredible martial arts prowess that's all about brute strength with only a little finesse. Obi-Wan cuts him in half but...
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Fans learned Darth Maul wasn't killed by Obi-Wan's blade in 2011 when Maul's existence was mentioned in the third season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. We didn't encounter Maul face to face until the end of season four, which is set about 10-11 years after The Phantom Menace. Maul's long lost brother, Savage Opress, finds him on the planet Lotho Minor, living in a literal dump, emaciated and not in his right mind. He's used the Force to craft spider-like legs for himself out of trash...I know it sounds ridiculous on paper, but it's actually a little heartbreaking.
In subsequent episodes, he gains cyborg legs (and, arguably regains his sanity), seeks revenge against Obi-Wan, and starts establishing his own power conglomerate called the Shadow Collective, comprised of slimy criminal organizations such as the Pyke Syndicate, Death Watch, and Black Sun. These episodes are key:
- “Shades of Reason”
- “The Lawless”
Darth Maul—Son of Dathomir
After The Clone Wars was canceled, unproduced scripts for the TV series became the four-part Dark Horse Comics miniseries Darth Maul—Son of Dathomir. This comic ties the most closely to the events of Solo (and takes place about nine years before the movie), because it details how an annoyed Darth Sidious stepped in to handle Maul and destroyed the Shadow Collective. Darth Maul flees Dathomir at the end of this comic.
He eventually goes back to Mandalore, just in time for the Siege of Mandalore; you can read about portions of the battle in the novel Ahsoka.
Star Wars Rebels
Star Wars Rebels continues Maul's story about seven years after his appearance in Solo. He still calls Dathomir home, but when we meet him, he's living on Malachor alone because he was stranded there when his ship crashed on the planet. He's become bitter about the Sith and the way he was abandoned by Sidious and goes only by Maul. When he gets off the planet courtesy of the Ghost crew, he tracks down Obi-Wan on Tatooine because he's still driven by revenge. Watch these episodes to learn how Maul's story ends.
- “Twilight of the Apprentice”
- “The Holocrons of Fate”
- “Visions and Voices”
- “Twin Suns”
The entirety of Star Wars: The Clone Wars is streaming on Netflix. You can purchase episodes of Star Wars Rebels on iTunes and Amazon Video. Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir was recently reprinted by Marvel Comics and can be found wherever you buy comics, as can Marvel's Darth Maul.
Images: Lucasfilm, Dark Horse Comics, Marvel, Disney XD
Amy Ratcliffe is the Managing Editor for Nerdist. She likes Star Wars a little. Follow her on Twitter.
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