Star Wars: The Clone Wars Revisited - 4.21 Brothers
Eleven years ago, George Lucas and Dave Filoni introduced the world to Star Wars: The Clone Wars, an animated series that filled in the gap between Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The story takes place during the Clone Wars, with the Jedi-led clone army facing off against the droid armies of the Separatist Alliance. With the announcement of a surprise seventh season by Disney, The Digital Fix will be revisiting the animated series, looking back at the most important episodes and story arcs of the show’s five seasons, highlighting the elements that made this show so beloved by Star Wars fans.
We return with a look at Brothers, which originally aired back in 2012...
One of the most notable feats Star Wars: The Clone Wars accomplished during its run was the retconning of Darth Maul's death in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace to reintroduce him to the story. Originally hinted at in the season three episode Witches of the Mist, Maul is finally reintroduced in the penultimate episode of season four.
While the episode begins with Savage Opress still searching for his lost brother, the true centerpiece of this episode is the scene featuring Maul's introduction. The missing Sith apprentice is discovered on the junkyard planet of Lotho Minor, rendered completely insane by the trauma he's had to endure. For The Clone Wars, Maul was voiced by Sam Witwer (Starkiller in The Force Unleashed video game) and his performance as the insane, almost schizophrenic Maul is spellbinding. Witwer injects a genuine feeling of pain into Maul's voice and his actions. Despite being a Sith, it is very easy to feel sorry for him.
When we first meet him, Maul is constantly muttering to himself, seemingly moving between different parts of his past. In place of his legs, Maul has amassed a spider-like prosthesis of junk which, if you look closely, is only being held together by the Force. It's a shocking fall from grace considering how Maul looked at the peak of his power in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Aside from his insanity, this episode also introduces the obsession that will define Maul for the rest of his life: his desire to get revenge on Obi-Wan Kenobi for what he did to him on Naboo all those years ago.
Overall, Brothers does an excellent job of bringing Maul back into the story in a way that feels believable. Maul is clearly damaged by his experiences, but the idea that he survived with the help of his immense hatred and the Dark Side of the Force is not too hard to believe. In fact, it mirrors how Anakin Skywalker will later survive his injuries on Mustafar at the end of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. For re-introducing Maul, Brothers remains one of the most important episodes of The Clone Wars.