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Thread: The Darth Maul Problem...

  1. #1

    The Darth Maul Problem...

    So I've spent a lot of time wondering just why Lucas killed Maul in TPM. This was a character that, in the summer of 1999, you could not escape his gaze. He was draped on everything from billboards to soda machines, every store aisle was filled with his tattooed visage. He was the poster-child of the film. He was the top of the action figure list, everyone wanted THAT character when the merchandise was released...

    ...and then the film comes out. What was thought to be essentially the new Vader ultimately got about two or three short lines, zero character development to the point of his character essentially being that he has no personality, and then he's killed off. Can you say wasted potential? This sadly also became a running trend in the Prequels, expendable (albeit aesthetically awesome) villains. But Maul is truly where it began. I can't even understand what the actual aim of the character really was. He's literally there just to kill Qui Gon Jinn.

    Now we could talk all day about how he's not really dead, but honestly, I always found that story to be far fetched glorified fan fiction designed to redeem what clearly was a mistake. Whether we like it or not, Lucas killed Maul. I accept it (flawed as it is) far more than some wildly contrive explanation on how he could possibly survive that. That's just my opinion; but the entire existence of his survival is clearly a commentary on one thing; Maul wasn't done justice.

    But my point is; what should have been done with Maul? For starters, rather than having an extending list of continuously shallow and largely unexplored villains, do quality over quantity. He should have been the villain of the prequels, it seems this is pretty much unanimous agreed upon. However, I think to make that satisfying or even possible, Maul has to be drastically re-written. I'd composite Maul with Dooku. Give him actual character and purpose beyond just, essentially, a Bond villains muscle sub-villain whom exists JUST for one fight sequence. For as wonderful as Duel of the Fates is, at the end of the day, there's no emotion. It boils down to just three people saying "I'm good, you're bad, we're going to fight now!" There's no connection, no real purpose, gravity, or resonance to the fight. They barely (in the case of Obi-Wan don't at all) know each other. It's just pretty glow sticks swinging around in a giant lightshow room. There's no investment! There's no history...

    Except there is...there is history between Jedi and Sith. There's just no history between these specific characters. I read an idea where, in the subplot of Maul tracking the Queen and Jedi to Tatooine, an idea could be that he'd question Palpatine, stating that Jedi would never go to the outer rim. This could emerge into his background, how his world was war torn and the Jedi never interfered, causing a resentment for the Jedi order. He was in poverty, homeless, a street rat when Palpatine found him. Perhaps before he begins to trail the heroes, show a lot of him training with Sidious, vocalizing his backstory. Then have him actually speak to Qui Gon while fighting him originally, mocking him, eventually coming to kill him in much the same way, but not explaining to Obi-Wan that he is indeed familiar with him. Have this create a blood feud, one that runs through the entire trilogy.

    That's all I got so far...but I would def. have Dooku included, but Maul is the Sith behind the separatists...just Dooku being more a corrupt politician and former Jedi and figurehead for the public persona of the separatists.
    Last edited by MysterioMaximus; 03-29-2019 at 07:58 PM.
    'But I don’t want to go among mad people,’ Alice remarked. ‘Oh, you can’t help that,’ said the Cat: ‘We’re all mad here. I’m mad, you’re mad.’ ‘How do you know I’m mad?’ said Alice. ‘You must be,’ said the Cat, ‘or you wouldn’t have come here.’ - Lewis Carroll 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland'

  2. #2
    Very well thought out and written, but I respectfully disagree.
    Alot of people hate the PT but I love them.
    Maul was perfect. The silent but strong hitman for Sidious. But the point is, he was never meant to be too strong. He wasn't meant to outshine Vader in the OT.
    I'm glad thers was a different villian in each prequel movie (Maul for TPM, Dooku for AOTC and Sidious for ROTS). The first two weren't meant to appear stronger than Vader of the OT and, rightfully so, souldn't have lasted the entire trilogy.
    Only Sidious, who became Emperor Palpatine should have returned for more than one movie.

  3. #3
    Believe it or not there is actually a very important reason for Maul and Dooku to die. It serves as a void that Sideous needs to fill. This search ultimately comes full circle with the discovery of Anakin and his rise to Jedi powerhouse then fall from grace. Like it or not Sideous and Anakin are the focal point of the trillogy. By taking notice of all of the potential character traits, you see that Maul and the Count both display some traits that make them formidable, yet they are a contrast of one another. Whereas carefully laid plans steer Anakin on a path that he gains the more favorable traits of both of them but surpasses those levels and is seemingly less flawed due to his power level. Vader is mostly an amalgamation of both Dooku and Maul. I think Maul was fascinating however and could have lasted until the next film. But when could you possibly flesh out the count? One of the curses of being limited to three films.
    Last edited by Lobotscomb; 03-29-2019 at 09:10 PM.

  4. #4
    Maul was whacked because Lucas just never meant for him to be as cool as he was and he never expected him to gain such traction with fans. On the script pages he's probably just another evil, Bond style henchman, with a target glued to his back. Designed to be killed from the very beginning. But, as manifested on screen, he became much more, even if it really was only in people's heads. He doesn't really do that much in the movie. However, he made for a very interesting villain, even if much of that interest rests on his visual design. He's far more interesting than the insipid (and ridiculously named) Dooku and the absurd (and equally ridiculously named) Grievous.

    I've always thought the prequels were incredibly dumb films, but I thought Darth Maul was a brilliant creation. He's probably the best thing about 'The Phantom Menace' and to kill him off showed a real lack of understanding from George Lucas, who once had the wherewithal to keep Darth Vader (another henchman) intact at the end of his 1977 film, even though he thought the chances of a sequel to 'Star Wars' were slim enough.

    What's even worse than killing Maul off in Episode I, was the awful decision to resurrect him, with half a metal body. I don't even know where to begin with that silliness.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Lobotscomb View Post
    Believe it or not there is actually a very important reason for Maul and Dooku to die. It serves as a void that Sideous needs to fill.
    But this would have worked had he lived. Replace Dooku with Maul and have Anakin decapitate him instead, thus adding another notch on his darkside bedpost and another step toward Palpatine. Dooku himself was only created to fill the void that Maul left anyway, and he doesn't do it terribly well.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by CellBlock1138 View Post
    But this would have worked had he lived. Replace Dooku with Maul and have Anakin decapitate him instead, thus adding another notch on his darkside bedpost and another step toward Palpatine. Dooku himself was only created to fill the void that Maul left anyway, and he doesn't do it terribly well.
    This is the first post in a long time that I find interesting. Talking about SW that still fits with the pre Disney EU. I have to confess though my thinking has always tended more towards making the EU fit together, rather than What If? alternate theories, so I hadn't considered some of the ideas suggested. Having said that, just off the top of my head I had two thoughts to reply regarding perhaps Anakin killing Maul instead.

    The first is that it is an early sign (to the viewers) that Kenobi can be a great Jedi. The Jedi, Jinn and Kenobi, are caught off guard with the presence of a 'dark' Jedi; someone trained in the arts but obviously not one of them, and evil. Though I believe Jinn is finding peace and strength in the Force while being cut off from Maul in that electric hallway, I never necessarily bought into the idea that he was an older man and had speed/strength/endurance limitations compared to his youth, as well as current younger Jedi. I don't know if I buy that he was fighting aggressively, perhaps beyond his talents, and thus needed to recuperate strength. But being older, he does have experience, we can assume. So the fact that Maul killed him, I won't say easily, but held the two of them off simultaneously, and did kill Jinn without a protracted battle, shows that Maul is someone with considerable ability and is a genuine threat. And Kenobi beats him, again I won't say easily, but uses cunning as opposed to brute force to win. You have a young Jedi best what was shown to be a strong opponent who just bested a top Jedi himself. So Maul's purpose is to generate a powerful blow against the Jedi, and allow Kenobi to top him in return, thus revealing the potential within Kenobi.

    The second is that we have already seen the order rebuke Jinn about training Anakin, and Kenobi bringing up that if he stopped bucking the order he could be on the council and perhaps have better luck influencing their course that way. So Kenobi seems like he would side with the council in regards to the training of Anakin. Having Maul kill Jinn, he being held back only to watch as it happened, then face death himself only to defeat Maul, this really was an incredibly emotional moment for Kenobi. With Jinn still being alive to speak briefly to him, the emotional strain and pull on the heartstrings with the deathbed request is needed to get Kenobi to promise to train Anakin. The situation is the manipulation to get Kenobi to train Anakin.

    I think if you keep everything in the movie intact beforehand, and let Maul live, you have to now formulate some new plot line to get Kenobi to train Anakin, and who knows how convoluted that addition may make everything appear? Otherwise, the question might be why even have a Jinn in the first place, why not just have Kenobi and Anakin, and then you start playing with ages and the movie might have to occur later in the timeline (as I know many have said we should have met Anakin older and seen more teen or young Jedi stories.) So what I'm saying is that to keep as much of the story intact, but not have Kenobi kill Maul, would add a complication of more plot. The other option being a rather large revision of Lucas' intended story, and who knows what other weak points or concerns something else may have caused?

    I think that the credit for Maul's impact with fans comes down to Ray Park and his physical performance, as well as the facial makeup design. Come up with a different design, even color scheme, or have a different actor, and I don't think Maul has such an impact with fans. You've got two different guys on the council that I believe are of the same species, with bland tannish color, and to me those are almost two weak extras from the alien design and prop department. Of course they were peaceful Jedi and not evil Sith, but I found more interest with Ki Adi Mundi or even Kit Fisto. Maul's red and black paint scheme and yellow horns was a very striking combination backed by a powerful physical performance.

    I think Jinn is just as much a 'sad' casualty as Maul. For me, the three best performances in the PT, or the ones that have the greatest emotional impact with me, are Palpatine, Maul, and Jinn. Neeson's Jinn resounded with me as a teacher, a scholarly leader, a wise man to follow. Someone with wisdom that touches the heart and soul, and not simply intellect. Neeson played a bigger part than Jinn's intended role was.

    With Maul I feel almost terror at his evil viciousness, which is different from OT Vader. With OT Vader it was simply the fear of being killed. With the Force chokes, his calm physical demeanor, it was more panic and fear of death. Yeah, you might get drugged or electrocuted in torture, but Maul seemed to generate a ruthlessness like he would scowl and take pleasure in the killing of you. So it wasn't jut a fear of dying, but a fear of the dying/killing process. With Maul it would be a more brutal physical assault, and I think in real life, that scares people more than the idea of death. The how. I think most people would rather just die than to suffer for any length of time, and still die anyway.

    And then Palpatine, just watching his evil unfold, his machinations come to be, his calm, under the surface disdain, that was a chilling performance of evil.

    Dooku and Grievous leave a very flat, boring impression on me, compared to Maul, Palpatine, and Jinn.

    I also feel that Maul's revival, and portrayal in The Clone Wars reduces the impact created in TPM. While I can understand a person perhaps cracking psychologically from being bested, and trying to survive with half a body, I think that dramatically alters Maul's nature. You can say he bounced back from it, but to me it was a weakness I didn't like seeing in the character, in the same way that I feel the PT drastically changed my impression of Vader from the OT. I understand how that arc came to be, how he became Vader, but to look at him as a character overall, he's more pathetic and tragic than fearful and mighty, which is how I originally thought of him from the OT.
    Last edited by Sizzzler; 03-30-2019 at 10:12 AM. Reason: fix a few type-o's
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by CellBlock1138 View Post
    But this would have worked had he lived. Replace Dooku with Maul and have Anakin decapitate him instead, thus adding another notch on his darkside bedpost and another step toward Palpatine. Dooku himself was only created to fill the void that Maul left anyway, and he doesn't do it terribly well.
    Not reallyn and here's why... Maul was the essence of violate power, a living embodiment of terror. His appearance alone induced fear and his physical attacks were just as frightening. But he did not posess the cunning that Dooku did. The count was wise and calculating. Ruthless enough to manipulate situations as well as people. Maul was in short the ultimate thug. Dooku was the opposite, a cold and calculated villain. Had Maul lived through it all it would make Sideous' journey weak. One could argue that swapping the villains could work, but the emotional damage to Obi Wan and our impressions would likely change. Qui gon was a father figure to Obi wan. To see him defeated by a viscious thug type instills fear and doubt in Ben. We already know he is wise because we have the benefit of future knowledge. But is Obi wan strong enough both physically and mentally to overcome his adversary? Will his training be strong enough to overcome fear itself? These are the character developments required to move Ben along. I will admit they translate poorly to the screen because the directing and film making were not too good.
    This sets up Ben as a wise and strong mentor for Anakin. We now know Ben had the goods all around and is worthy to learn from. Remember as awll some of us (MYSELF INCLUDED) never wanted to watch Clone wars...so we only take away what we see in the films. This is the only source we have of measuring who is capable of what.
    Dooku represented something entirely diffetent. He was the evil lurking in plain sight.if Maul was fear Dooku was deceit. This is reinforced when they acknowledge that Dooku was a Jedi and incapable of vile acts. Surely nobody would ever corrupt a Jedi and steer him away from his teachings... And part of that is true. Again poor film making confuses the audience. Dooku is a lot more than what people perceive him as. He is NOT purely evil. He is manipulated by the dark side itself. He easily could have killed Obi wan when he took him prisoner. But instead told him exactly what was going on. That the entire Jedi order was being mannipulated as well. Read between the lines and there is much more meat on the bone of the story than Lucas allows to be absorbed. This entire exchange is also foreshadowing what will happen to Anikin.somewhere between films i feel Dooku was set to betray and kill Sideous.though at this point his dabbling in the dark side had corrupted him enough that had he completed his initial mission, the lure of power would not allow him to restore peace. Thus Palpatine had Anakin execute him.
    The traits of deceit and fear rolled into one was exactly what Palpatine wanted. He was steering Anakin there. He would be the ultimate Sith...power..fear...and deceit all in one. Sideous didnt merely fill a hole with Dooku, he saw the limitatins of Maul and knew that if his plan was to unfold he had to go a different route.
    So if they were swapped or if maul was an amalgamation of himself and Dooku the entire conflict changes. So we could never have our cake and eat it too....
    Btw Sizzler you raise a lot of great points as well... Bringing back Maul lessens the imact of the character as badly as having Greedo shoot first....
    Last edited by Lobotscomb; 03-30-2019 at 08:04 AM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Sizzzler View Post
    The situation is the manipulation to get Kenobi to train Anakin.
    But, Maul can still kill Qui Gon and get away though. Thus Kenobi still takes on the responsibility of training Anakin as Qui Gon's last words advises and he promises to do.

    The scene can still roughly play out as is and Qui Gin gets skewered. But, perhaps Maul uses the force to trap Kenobi within the walls of that electric corridor (what the hell was that for anyway?) That corridor reminds me of that scene in 'Galaxy Quest' where Sigorney Weaver what possible purpose a chomping room could possibly have.

    Kenobi, trapped behind the electric forcefield, is going nuts at the death of his master, but needs to try and calm himself in the way the Qui Gon did previously and try to get free. Or, maybe Kenobi falls down the shaft and not Maul? But, it's not the bottomless pit it first seems? Or maybe he just uses the force to stop himself in freefall. Remember, the prequels turned the Jedi into supermen, so anything's possible.

    There are numerous ways that Maul lives, Qui Gon dies and Kenobi still ends up training Anakin.

    Although, I'd be for an even bigger revision of the whole story anyway. One where we never see Anakin as a small boy (because, frankly, it was bloody awful). Instead we are thrust into a story where there is no Qui Gon (even though he was a great character). There is just Kenobi and Skywalker, a man in his 40's and a 20 something apprentice who's learning from his master to use his force powers and study under his tutelage. This matches up much better with the OT too, where Kenobi is clearly a man in his 60's. There's really no need for any other tangential story lines. This would also help do away with the midichlorian nonsense, miracle births and the laughable "chosen one" gibberish that does nothing for Star Wars as a whole.
    Last edited by CellBlock1138; 03-30-2019 at 08:29 AM.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Lobotscomb View Post
    Not reallyn and here's why... Maul was the essence of violate power, a living embodiment of terror. His appearance alone induced fear and his physical attacks were just as frightening. But he did not posess the cunning that Dooku did. The count was wise and calculating. Ruthless enough to manipulate situations as well as people. Maul was in short the ultimate thug. Dooku was the opposite, a cold and calculated villain.
    I'm not sure how this really adds up in any way to support Maul's exit.

    All three henchmen are just tools for Palpatine's power struggle, so the calculations of Dooku are very much in doubt. In any case, Maul can still live, as the Emperor's apprentice (and thug), while Count Dooku is introduced as a dark sider. Even General Grievous can still take to the stage. They're all getting played by Palpatine anyway.

    For me there's no real credible scenario where Maul HAS to die.

  10. #10
    I think it would be better to simply just replace maul with doooku, TBH. and let him 'get away' at the end of TPM after killing qui-gon.
    this would explain why "qui-gon's master" had left the Jedi Order in the first place (he betrayed the order to become a sith apprentice in TPM);
    and this would add some weight to the "duel of the fates" (because qui-gon and obi-wan would be confronting "qui-gon's master" in this scene -- it WOULD be "personal"):
    qui-gon would be killed by his OWN jedi master in TPM (thus completing dooku's journey to the dark side, like Kylo wanted, in TFA, by killing Han);
    and obi-wan would need to deal with his anger and his desire for "revenge" in AOTC.(imagine the scene where dooku interrogates obi-wan in AOTC -- and obi-wan is FUMING because THIS is the guy who killed qui-gon in the previous film).

    simply put: yes! maul and dooku should have been the same character -- but NO! it should not have been "maul" in both movies.
    (it should have been dooku in both movies, for a much better story than we got).
    Last edited by Cobalt60; 03-30-2019 at 09:00 AM.
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