Back in January, a Season 2 preview for Star Wars Rebels teased a connection to The Force Awakens, with the presence of a lightsaber similar to the one used by Adam Driver's Kylo Ren. However, another scene from that footage raised even more questions, a mysterious, cloaked figure who told young Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray) to call him "Old Master." Today we have a new clip from the one-hour season finale, which reveals this mysterious figure is none other than Darth Maul.
Darth Maul first debuted in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, the first movie in George Lucas' prequel trilogy, and even though he was presumably killed by Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), he went on to be a fan-favorite. The animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and a Dark Horse comic book revealed that Darth Maul actually survived, rebuilding the lower half of his body with a set of mechanical legs. Sam Witwer, who voiced Darth Maul on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, returns to voice the character in Star Wars Rebels, with this new scene showing him encountering Ezra Bridger as they both explore the ruins of a Sith temple on a planet known as Malachor. Here's what executive producer Dave Filoni had to say about bringing Darth Maul back once again.
"The genesis of this idea is actually kind of an interesting one. I had pointed out several times in story meetings that we have an opportunity - if we wanted to - to actually have Darth Vader fight Darth Maul. That was something that [co-producer] Simon Kinberg and I were like, 'Oooh...' Then there was the opponent in the story meetings who would say, 'Well, that's fan service,' and I'm like, 'Yeah - exactly.' [Laughs] I don't see the problem with that, but you know we were very careful that we don't just do things because they're cool. We want to do things that are story driven."
This scene shows a side of Darth Maul we haven't seen before, an aging warrior reflecting on his past, revealing he was once a "force-wielder" long ago, although he wasn't a Jedi. When Ezra says he's a Sith, Darth says the Sith cast him aside and abandoned him, which could provide a very interesting dynamic moving forward. While Dave Filoni wouldn't say for sure if fans will get to see Darth Vader and Darth Maul engage in an epic lightsaber battle, the executive producer had this to say, when asked if there is any "good" left within Darth Maul.
"He's this person who has been on the dark-side, that has been thrown out repeatedly from the Emperor's hierarchy but that doesn't mean he doesn't have a lot of the same tendencies as the Emperor and have the same desire for power. It became a really interesting story to tell, and a challenge, because at face value, Maul isn't a guy you look at and go, 'I trust you, devil-looking guy with horns on your head.' So we had to paint an interesting picture here to get this kid to perhaps believe in him."
Darth Maul appeared in six episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, but it isn't quite clear how often he'll be used in Star Wars Rebels, following the Season 2 finale. The show has already been renewed for Season 3 on Disney XD, so it's possible we could see more of this intriguing character. When asked if Darth Maul is a "lost" person and if this is his "final chance," Sam Witwer had this to say.
"That's a very accurate description. Life kind of passed him by. At one point he had this incredible potential and it looked like success was a given. And then the whole thing happened in Phantom Menace where he became, um, a lot shorter. [Laughs.] And then he lived a very miserable existence until it looked like he began to put this life back together. Right as he was about to achieve a measure of success, his old master Palpatine took that from him. And then later if you read some of the comics, no sooner does he discover who his mother is but she's killed. He has this ambition that still exists inside him and that ambition is eating him up -especially now that he's past his prime and his glory years. Yeah, he's a sadder character than we perhaps remember in Clone Wars."
Along with this clip from the Star Wars Rebels finale, we also have two photos which give us a better look at the aging Darth Maul. What do you think about Darth Maul returning in Star Wars Rebels? Do you think he'll become a force to be reckoned with in the finale and beyond? Chime in with your thoughts after checking out the clip and photos.