Darth Maul has had an unexpectedly long life since his first memorable appearance back in 1999's "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace." While it appeared he was killed by a young Obi-Wan Kenobi to avenge his master, fans loved the intense, tattooed character so much that he was subsequently brought back for both "Star Wars" television shows: "Clone Wars" and "Rebels." Now, after much anticipation, this week's episode of "Rebels" will see a long-awaited rematch between Obi-Wan and Maul -- but the Sith apprentice's storyline originally had a much swifter end.
“Originally, Maul perished in the season two finale where he returned. It was a one-off appearance,” executive producer Dave Filoni explained to io9. "So originally in that episode you were gonna get Vader fighting Maul, Vader would have killed Maul, and then fought Ahsoka.”
Now sporting some cybernetic legs and a lousy attitude, Maul has had an extensive character arc on "Rebels" and has proven to be a small but integral part of the plot. After uncovering some important "Star Wars" lore with Ezra last season, he then supplied the link between Sabine and the Darksaber. While a Darth Vader vs. Darth Maul showdown would undoubtedly cause most fans to froth at the mouth in excitement, Filoni and the rest of the "Rebels" crew decided it was just too much to jam into a single episode.
"It just became unwieldy," he said. "It’s more of a fan fiction fun thought that they fought. The emotional drama was really between Vader and Ahsoka. So we decided to let Maul live.”
So why have Maul face off with the Jedi who bested him once before, other than for the simple fact that audiences can't seem to get enough of the double-blade-wielding baddie? "You always felt Obi-Wan had this great track record of taking out a Sith Lord in the past,” Filoni said. “We wondered, [by bringing back Maul], did we rob him of what he was able to accomplish?”
Fans who can't get enough Maul in their lives can check out his standalone comic book series that recently hit shelves. Darth Maul's next "Star Wars" appearance will take place this Saturday, when the "Rebels" finale airs at 8:30PM ET on Disney XD.