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Darth Maul in Star Wars explained - the lethal Sith warrior’s story

Dathomir's Zabrak warrior is among the most ferocious Star Wars characters, but there's much more to him than that in our guide to Darth Maul explained.

Ray Park as Darth Maul in Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace

Here’s Darth Maul in Star Wars explained. To say this dark Force user who first appeared in The Skywalker Saga is one of the coolest figures in a galaxy far, far away is an understatement.

While Star Wars: Episode 1 is often the bane of fans’ existence during their Star Wars movies in order rewatch every few years, Darth Sidious’ vicious apprentice is a bright spot. While the horned villain was short-lived (or so we thought), he made a lasting impression. For fans old and new, here’s the nitty gritty on the Sith who cut down Qui-Gon Jinn.

Darth Maul in Star Wars explained

Darth Maul is a Sith from Dathomir who was The Emperor’s apprentice. He worked with him to throw the galaxy into chaos, and is iconic thanks to his double-ended lightsaber.

Maul is a Zabrak who became Darth Sidious’ apprentice early in life. Known for his double-sided lightsaber and focused intensity, he strikes fear into the hearts of opponents and was a quiet supplement to Sidious’ schemes before being supposedly killed by Obi-Wan Kenobi.

From The Clone Wars‘ canon, we know he was a crime lord during the Galactic Empire’s reign when he was thought dead. Trained in the ways of the Force by one of the most powerful Sith, Maul is a formidable warrior mentally, strong with the Force, and lethal in lightsaber battles.

Ray Park as Darth Maul in Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace

Darth Maul’s backstory explained

Maul was born on Dathomir in 54 BBY to a Nightsister mother. Showing potential as a child, Sidious took him on as an apprentice.

Born during the Galactic Republic era, Maul was one of three children born to Mother Talzin, leader of the Nightsisters of Dathomir. Sensing his Force sensitivity, Sidious took him as an apprentice in 40 BBY when he was still a child.

Anointed as Darth Maul, he was unsurprisingly reared to despise the Jedi. Wanting the downfall of the Jedi Order, he trained in secret for the day when the Sith would reemerge to threaten the Jedi’s standing.

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Darth Maul in the Star Wars movies explained

Darth Maul only shows up in one Star Wars movie (Episode 1), when the dark side makes chess moves after waiting patiently in the wings. Believed by the Jedi to be extinct, the Sith reestablished themselves.

Sidious, who had ingratiated himself in the Galactic Senate as Palpatine, waited for the right time to strike. When that moment came, Maul was the opening play in what would become an outright war.

Revealing themselves to the Jedi in The Phantom Menace, Maul and Sidious seeded chaos in Naboo’s political affairs. This led to a showdown on the beautiful planet — a battle that set the bar for many of the best science fiction movies to follow.

Maul made multiple attempts on Qui-Gon’s life before finally succeeding in The Phantom Menace. This spurred Obi-Wan on, leading to the Jedi apprentice besting him after a grueling fight (one of the best Star Wars scenes ever, by the way). Maul was portrayed by an impressive Ray Park in the Star Wars cast.

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Darth Maul’s powers and abilities explained

Darth Maul, studying under Sidious, became one of the deadliest Siths in history. He’s a skilled acrobat and merciless with his double-sided lightsaber.

These abilities are on full display in The Phantom Menace, where he takes on Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan simultaneously, expending only as much effort as necessary. He fends them off while traversing their environment with high agility, flipping between bridges and using his unique combat style to defend and move with pace.

His unwavering pursuit of them also stands out as exceptional; while Qui-Gon meditates, patiently awaiting the next stage of the battle when they’re separated by a barrier, Maul restlessly paces, eager to unleash on the Jedi.

While Episode 1 isn’t one of the franchise’s best movies, Maul is an example of what the most efficiently trained Sith can amount to — singular goals, relentless approach, and channeled rage.

Rod Reis' Darth Maul #1 cover for Marvel Comics

Darth Maul in The Clone Wars explained

In The Clone Wars, it was revealed Maul had survived the events of Episode 1 and had abandoned his former Master in a fit of rage.

The former Sith Lord retreated to the Outer Rim, where his brother found him at the behest of their mother. Maul had become unstable and had suffered a lapse in identity.

His mother restored his memories, and Maul sought revenge against the Jedi by drawing out Obi-Wan Kenobi. The pair dueled for the first time in years, but Maul escaped. Later, Maul became a member of the Death Watch, a Mandalorian terrorist splinter group that opposed the pacifist Mandalore government.

Commanding the Death Watch, Maul would go on to face Obi-Wan and other Star Wars characters in the series multiple times. He even eventually fought Darth Sidious, who he had lost faith in, thinking himself a more faithful representation of the dark side.

How did Darth Maul survive and get his legs back?

Maul’s body was discarded on the junkyard world Lotho Minor after his top half fell into a trash container. He survived on vermin and made an apparatus that allowed him to walk. Later, his mother eventually used an incarnation to give him new legs using droid parts.

After being retrieved by his brother in The Clone Wars, Maul’s mother — Mother Talzin — made him cybernetic legs through an incantation on Dathomir, using parts of destroyed Separatist droids.

The thing that trips people (us too) up about Maul’s appearance in the Star Wars series is the fact the last time we saw him, Obi-Wan had severed him in half. Not only that, but he fell down a reactor shaft. Just like “somehow, Palpatine returned” in new movies, there’s always an explanation… We didn’t say it was a good one.

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That’s the 411 on one of the best Star Wars villains, but you can keep up with the latest news on new Star Wars movies and shows in our guides to Andor season 2 and The Acolyte release date. Or, read our thoughts on why Finn’s story isn’t over.