Turns Out Darth Maul Could Have Returned As A Different Star Wars Character After Phantom Menace

Side-by-side pictures of Darth Maul and General Grievous wielding lightsabers
(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Darth Maul didn’t have much to say when he debuted in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, but he racked up a lot of coolness points with his badass look and double-bladed lightsaber. Still, after Maul was cut in half by Obi-Wan Kenobi, it didn’t seem like the character didn’t have a future beyond his pre-Episode I exploits being explored in other media, but he ended up resurfacing years later in the computer-animated version of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Prior to that, though, apparently there was consideration into making Maul a disguised General Grievous (a role almost voiced by Gary Oldman).

Before he served as a supporting antagonist in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, General Grievous first appeared in Genndy Tartakovsky’s Star Wars: Clone Wars microseries. It didn’t take long for the cybernetically-enhanced, lightsaber-wielding Separatist general to prove how big of a threat he was, and Star Wars franchise creator George Lucas once said that the idea for Grievous was for him to be “an alien in a droid shell, which is sort of an echo of what Anakin is going to become.” However, according to Henry Gilroy, a writer on Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, Lucas and his concept artists kicked around the idea of Grievous being Maul’s cover, telling Slashfilm:

George was considering that Grievous was Maul behind the armor plate. It made sense. He's cut in half, and he's in this robot body or whatever. I'm glad that Grievous is his own thing anyway, but I thought it was interesting that the concept guys almost talked George into that.

A half-cybernetic Darth Maul was destined to happen anyway, as when the character was brought back into the Star Wars fold in the later Clone Wars series’ fourth season, he was walking around with robotic spider legs and was living on the junkyard planet of Lotho Minor with his sanity broken. But had Darth Maul been a disguised General Grievous, that would have provided the opportunity for moviegoers to watch him and Obi-Wan Kenobi lock lightsaber blades again. Remember, following the death of Count Dooku at the beginning of Revenge of the Sith, the Jedi Master traveled to Utapau to eliminate Grievous, though their lightsaber battle ended up being significantly trimmed.

Ultimately though, George Lucas decided to make General Grievous a separate character: a Kaleesh male warlord originally known as Qymaen jai Sheelal who agreed to be converted into a cybernetic being when he was recruited by Count Dooku and Darth Sidious. As for Darth Maul, although he cameoed in Solo: A Star Wars Story, the character’s post-Phantom Menace journey was primarily depicted in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, with the Zabrak living more than a decade after Grievous met his demise on Utapau. Ultimately Maul did get that rematch with Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Rebels episode “Twin Suns,” but the duel didn’t last nearly as long as their first battle.

Use your Disney+ subscription to look back on all of General Grievous and Darth Maul’s best moments while watching the Star Wars movies in order and looking through the franchise’s TV offerings. Speaking of TV, the first show set in a galaxy far, far away lined up on the 2023 TV schedule is The Mandalorian, which premieres its third season on March 1.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.