It's perhaps more than a little surprising that, of all the characters that have appeared in Star Wars over the last 40 plus years, one of the most constantly popular with fans has been one that, for a long time, only had one scene of any particular note in an otherwise largely unpopular movie. And yet, rather than Darth Maul's appearances continuing to make more fans, the opposite has been the case. It's been fans' desire for Maul that has brought him back into the Star Wars TV shows time and again.
From the time that we saw the first trailer for the final season of The Clone Wars we knew Maul would be back, and now, as he makes that return, let's take a look back at all the movies and shows where Maul has appeared, and rank the best moments.
10. Maul's Solo Cameo
It's a simple moment that doesn't have the flash and excitement of most of the other entries on this list, but Maul's brief appearance in Solo: A Star Wars Story is still a big deal. First off, it was a well kept secret that nobody saw coming, and while it made perfect sense to those that had followed Maul in the Star Wars animated shows. Most of the audience in the theater was likely shocked that Maul was still alive, never mind an underworld crime boss. It was a moment likely meant to set up something more down the road, that we'll probably never see. And still, just seeing Maul in live action again was an epic moment.
9. Maul vs. Darth Sidious
The battle with his former master doesn't go well for Maul, so it's difficult to rank it highly on a list of his "best" moments, but when it's one of the few times that you can see Darth Sidious throw down in a serious lightsaber battle, it's hard to not include at all. Maul may be a villain, but he has no love for the former master that simply moved on and found a new apprentice after Maul was bisected. And when you think about it, if things had gone slightly differently here, the whole of the Skywalker Saga changes. Maul could have destroyed the Empire. He still holds his own in the battle for a longtime, though Sidious eventually shows just why he is the master.
8. Maul's Rebels Return vs. The Inquisitors
While the new season of The Clone Wars will fill in some gaps in Maul's history, we know where he eventually ends up because Maul appears in Rebels, the animated series that takes place prior to the original trilogy, but following The Clone Wars. Originally going by "Old Master" Maul appears to be a much weaker version of his old self, but we all knew that wasn't the case, right? Seeing Maul fight again, and for the heroes, however briefly, was awesome to see. It's far from the best lightsaber battle Maul is involved in, even among the animated series, but it's the beginning of a very important story arc in Rebels and a great moment overall.
7. Maul Consolidates His Power
While Maul may have once been apprentice to the Dark Lord of the Sith, in his second life he tries to make himself the crime lord of the galaxy, and he succeeds. He uses Death Watch's strength to bring most of the major crime syndicates under his own power, culminating in a strike against the Hutts. Maul, Savage, and Death Watch make pretty short work of them all. Maul's biggest battle is with the bounty hunter Sugi, who actually does pretty well for herself in a one-on-one fight with Maul. She survives, which is more than one can say for one of the Hutt council members, who Maul cuts down out of pure spite.
6. Maul Kills Satine
Darth Maul is a badass who we love because, whether in live-action or animated, he can do some amazing things with a lightsaber. But make no mistake, Darth Maul is a villain. He's a terrible person capable of awful things, and the single most vile thing he may have done to date is kill the one woman Obi-Wan Kenobi ever loved. It's a "best" moment because it truly does show who Maul really is, and it's one of the most purely emotional moments of The Clone Wars. The unrequited love story of a the Dutchess of Mandalore and a Jedi is a tragic story with an even more tragic ending.
5. Maul vs. Kenobi (The Clone Wars, The Second Time)
The story of Darth Maul is, by association, also the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi, the two are linked from the moment Kenobi kills Maul (the first time). Maul swears revenge on the Jedi and most of what Maul does throughout both The Clone Wars and Rebels is linked with that goal of revenge. The two square off in battles a few times throughout the shows. The first time Obi-Wan fights alongside Asajj Ventress, but the second time he's on his own, and out manned as Maul has his brother alongside him. Although, he does fight Maul and Savage with two lightsabers, one of the few times we see Kenobi use that style.
4. Maul’s Clone Wars Reveal
The thing that shows just how big a deal Darth Maul is to Star Wars is how big an impact he can have by doing nothing. The same experience that many viewers had learning Darth Maul was alive from Solo: A Star Wars: Story, came years earlier for others during the third season of The Clone Wars. We learned that a new character Savage Opress, was not only of the same race as Darth Maul, but in fact his brother. Savage would go looking for Maul and it would be more than a full season before he would find him, but just knowing that Maul was still alive was a huge moment for fans, who were willing to wait. It was all worth it.
3. Maul vs. Old Obi Wan
It all comes down to this. The battle between Maul and an older Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tatooine isn't the best lightsaber battle between the two, it's over pretty quickly all things considered, and it's certainly not the best outcome for Maul (he died again), but this was the moment that fans who had been following this battle from the beginning had been waiting for. The outcome was, at least to some extent, predetermined, but that doesn't actually change anything. It's still the epic conclusion to to a battle that had been going on for decades. Maul finally got his closure, which, in the end may have really been all he was looking for.
2. Maul Takes The Darksaber
The darksaber recently made its live action debut on The Mandalorian, but anybody wanting to know more about the iconic weapon will need to go back to the Star Wars animated shows. It has had many owners but one of the most important was Maul himself. After Maul and Death Watch leader Pre Vizla, who used the darksaber himself, both tried using each other for their own ends, it was only a matter of time before the two did battle, and they did in what is one of the most exciting sequences in all of Star Wars, animated or otherwise. Vizla was no Jedi, but he was a warrior who knew how to use the darksaber. But in the end, Maul killed him, and removed his head him in front of Death Watch, earning their loyalty.
1. Darth Maul Vs Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Jinn
There have been a lot of great Darth Maul moments, to be sure, but in the end, it really does all come back to The Phantom Menace, doesn't it? Part of it is the beautifully choreographed fight scene that was unlike anything we had ever seen before in Star Wars. Part of it is "Duel of the Fates," one of the most remarkable pieces of music ever composed by the great John Williams. Ray Park deserves a lot of the credit for making Darth Maul who he was, few others in that era could have done it. The lightsaber battle is still the one by which all others are judged, and found lacking.
With Maul's return to The Clone Wars, it seems quite likely we'll get some new contenders for great moments that might make this list. What we see here is very likely to also complete the story of Maul, so it may be the last time we see him. Of course, we've thought that before, so anything is possible. If Maul could survive death once, why not twice? Maybe The Clone Wars will have more to say than we think.
There are, of course, some solid Darth Maul moments that didn't make this list that easily could have. What's your favorite Maul moment, is it one of these, or something else we didn't include. Vote in the poll below, or let us know in the comments.