Darth Maul, the horn-headed villain of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, was reportedly cut from the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi Disney Plus series. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Sith apprentice (and ludicrously popular Star Wars character) was supposed to play a crucial role in the sci-fi series, and actor Ray Park had already started training to reprise the role.
Unfortunately for fans of the red-faced villain, he got the boot during a creative overhaul that saw Vader replace Maul as the TV series main antagonist. There had been rumours of turbulence behind the scenes at Lucasfilm, with initial reports claiming Disney paused pre-production because suits weren’t happy with the quality of the Kenobi scripts.
Those reports, however, are slightly more nuanced than people were led to believe. The issue wasn’t so much about their quality but about their resemblance to The Mandalorian’s story. According to THR’s sources, the initial outline for the Obi-Wan show saw the former Jedi Master come out of retirement to protect a young Luke Skywalker from Maul.
This is obviously quite similar to the lone wolf and cub storyline of The Mandalorian. Apparently, Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau pushed Kenobi director Deborah Chow to think bigger, which is when Vader and the Grand Inquisitor entered the picture, pushing Maul out.
Interestingly, a Lucasfilm source contradicts this account, claiming Park was never involved in the production and that Maul was never the series villain.
Whatever the truth, it’s probably for the best. The animated series Star Wars: Rebels already gave Maul an incredibly poignant send-off during a duel with Obi-Wan. Bringing the character back, regardless of his popularity, would have only split fans.