The Star Wars saga has predominantly focused on the members of the Skywalker family. For more than four decades, the Skywalker family has been at the center of the action. But after Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Disney will hopefully explore other interesting characters who have been sidelined for far too long.
Despite having no dearth of villains in the Star Wars lore, the movies have focused only on a select few. While Darth Vader was the primary antagonist in the original trilogy, Emperor Palpatine made his return as the mastermind in The Rise of Skywalker. Barely scratching the surface, one prominent antagonist who deserves to feature as the major villain in a future Star Wars movie is Darth Maul. One of the most recognizable villains, Darth Maul appeared in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Darth Maul’s black and red facial tattoos along with his horns give him a unique and fearsome appearance. He also wields a double-bladed lightsaber, which augments his fearsome persona.
For casual Star Wars fans, the story of Darth Maul might have ended back in The Phantom Menace when Obi-Wan Kenobi killed him. But it was later found that Maul had survived in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Maul also returned to the big screen in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Despite being such a widely popular villain, Darth Maul might never get a movie of his own. Here’s why.
1. Complex Backstory
For casual movie-goers, Darth Maul’s story ended back in The Phantom Menace. But for hardcore Star Wars fans, Maul is a prominent character with an incredibly complicated story.
For starters, Darth Maul has powerful family members. His mother Talzin belongs to the witchcraft society called Nightsisters on the planet Dathomir. His brother is Savage Opress, a member of the Nightbrother society. After Darth Maul’s resurrection in The Clone Wars, he left the Sith ways to head an intergalactic crime syndicate which was shown in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Maul is also a former apprentice of Darth Sidious aka Emperor Palpatine. Showing so many details is a costly affair for Disney which can be easily sidelined.
2. A Better Supporting Character
Despite having a fearsome appearance and wielding a dual-bladed lightsaber, Darth Maul is not a primary character. In The Phantom Menace, Maul reported to Palpatine to set things in motion. Although this is not a reflection of Maul’s characteristics, LucasFilms’s portrayal of the character has anchored him down as a supporting character.
His complicated history and extended family make him a difficult character to portray in a live-action movie. Unless handled carefully, the move can backfire massively for the already troubled Star Wars franchise.
3. Live-Action Movies Are Costlier
Getting a fearsome antagonist with horns, unique tribal facial tattoos, and a double-bladed lightsaber surely sounds great on paper. But when it comes to execution, the real trouble arises. As a former Sith Lord, fight choreography involving Darth Maul is a costly affair.
Moreover, Darth Maul got cybernetic limbs after his apparent death at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi. In the Clone Wars, Darth Maul has been involved in numerous fights, one involved in a colonial village alongside his brother, Savage Opress.
4. Disney’s Hero-Centric Policy
The Mouse doesn’t really believe in taking too many risks when it comes to its franchises. A firm believer of good triumphing over evil, it’s a long shot to even consider Disney making a villain-centric movie in the near future.
Disney’s hero-centric policy might not just pose a threat only to the Star Wars franchise but also to the successful Marvel Cinematic Universe.
5. A Truly Evil Character
What makes Darth Vader a great antagonist is his redemption arc. His journey of being the Chosen One as Anakin Skywalker to falling for the Dark Side to become Darth Vader is a classic villain story. When he later tries to redeem himself for his past crimes in Return of the Jedi by saving Luke from Palpatine, Darth Vader once again becomes Anakin and cements his place as one of the greatest antagonists of all time.
Sadly, Darth Maul doesn’t exactly share Anakin’s sentimentality. Sure, he does believe in Obi-Wan during his dying moments that Luke will avenge them. But apart from that, Maul doesn’t really regret his past actions. With little redeeming qualities, it’s hard for Disney to make a movie on Darth Maul. In the end, it’s all about sending a message, and Disney is just not ready to explore darker and more mature themes.
6. Not Interesting Enough For Casual Fans
Sure, Darth Maul is an interesting character with a terrific appearance. But sadly, that’s the extent of Maul’s importance for casual movie-goers. Having extremely limited screen time in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Maul does not really fit the profile of a popular character who can engage casual fans with a live-action movie.
Darth Maul was fleshed out a lot more in detail in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. But again, The Clone Wars was an animated series that costs a lot less and gives ample opportunities to explore. For a live-action movie, the plan is not just lucrative enough.
7. Maul Does Not Fit Disney’s Future Plans
After Disney acquired the rights back in 2012 for a staggering $4.05 billion, it revamped the franchise which was steadily declining. Using its deep pockets, Disney produced The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, The Rise of Skywalker, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and Solo: A Star Wars Story which once again brought the franchise to media attention.
Not just limiting itself to the big screen, Disney also produced The Mandalorian starring Pedro Pascal which has received widespread acclaim. With its own set of plans to explore the depths of the galaxy far, far away, Darth Maul does not appear to fit within Disney’s future plans for now.
8. Box-Office Failure of Solo
Solo: A Star Wars Story was a spin-off to explore the younger days of the beloved Han Solo. Starring Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke, and Donald Glover, Solo was an ambitious project of Disney which cost almost $300 million to produce.
Unfortunately, Solo was marred with troubles right from the beginning. From replacing directors to receiving backlash from fans, Solo became a box-office bomb. As Darth Maul had returned to the big screen in Solo, the movie’s failure most probably ruined the chances of a sequel that would have explored Maul’s exploits as the leader of an intergalactic crime syndicate.
9. Darth Maul Might Be Returning To Disney+
Despite Solo‘s failure at the box-office, all’s not lost for Darth Maul to make another live-action appearance. Riding high on Donald Glover’s meteoric popularity, Disney might have some plans for a Lando Calrissian TV series on its streaming platform, Disney+.
Yet to be confirmed, the Lando Calrissian show might once again revive the antagonist by picking up the yet-to-be-explored story at the end of Solo when Qi’ra turned out to be working for Maul.
10. Increased Focus On Diversity
The world is changing, and with it, the movie industry. As inclusivity at workplaces is gaining widespread attention, major franchises are gradually opening up to non-binary and LGBT characters for lead roles.
The latest Star Wars trilogy had Rey as the primary protagonist, which was a major shift from a mega-franchise dominated by male characters. In The Rise of Skywalker, two lesbian characters were shown celebrating after the Resistance’s victory over the First Order. As representation is becoming a major factor, introducing another male character might not be the right time.