Archive for Darth Maul

A long awaited return

Posted in Geeking out with tags , , , , on March 19, 2012 by halbard100

First off, this is going to be a fanboy heavy post, so fair warning. Though I hope that would be some what expected.

I am a huge, HUGE, Star Wars fan. I have been for nearly as long as I can remember. Watching the original trilogy on VHS with my family is one of those memories I’ve held onto with my dad reading the opening scrawl so my brother and I could keep up. Secondly, Darth Maul is by far my favorite character in that universe. The striking visual, his movement, that saber, everything, I just love the character. That being said, I’ve kinda enjoyed where he’s fallen into the history of the saga and with fans. A lot of fans love him especially given that he got so little exposure since he died nearly as fast as he was revealed. And as such, his essence has been attempted to be brought back a lot over the years. Personally, I’ve come to like that he was killed off so quickly. You always tend to elevate that thing you can’t have beyond what it really was. Darth Maul was awesome, and all the thinking about what could have been if he had more time just makes him seem even better, since you end up picturing what you’d like the most. On top of that, he’s gotten a sort of mythical presence in all the extend universe stuff. People just keep want to bring him back in some shape or form.

Despite all this, he’s never really been brought back whole-sale. Its always been some sort of bad copy never quite equaling the original. So hearing that LucasArts had decided to full on bring him completely back to life, I was just a little iffy on it. I had 2 concerns: A) He’s been messed with so much over the years, he’s got a pretty interesting back story, and the Clone Wars series has been making a lot of changes to the cannon, and B) one of the defining characteristics that (I thought) made him cool were his physicality and his demeanor. Ray Park really defined the awe inspiring abilities of the character. I’ve never thought a picture could capture that, and the down side of a CGI series is that you’re not able to give that since of speed, agility, and most importantly, flow and grace. As for demeanor, Darth Maul was a wraith in my mind. Going purely from the movie, the guy never talks, or blinks for that matter. He’s a specter looming or a dervish, and the show aimed to give him more of a voice. He had a few lines in the movie, but usually he was just there.

All that said, damn did they ever give him an amazing come back. I can begin to describe how impressed I am with Sam Witwer’s performance. He just nails it. If you haven’t seen the episodes yet, currently they’re on starwars.com. He does an amazing job keeping that slightly quiet, cold voice of Maul. On top of that, the character growth he’s gone through is great. I was worried at first, but after watching the episodes, its amazing how much they could tell in less than an hour. They’re able to show a transformation from being crippled and insane into being even more cold that before. He’s spent his time wallowing in pain, alone, and consumed by the dark side. Broken. No explanation is given about how he got to where he is, but you can see it etched out across his broken form that it wasn’t easy. They’re able to keep some mystique about him. Then, they bring him back into form, or as close as they can, and we see an even stronger character. Sure, he’s not quite spinning around like he use to, but you don’t really expect that, and even then he does show some glimpses of it. One of the biggest growths is shown thanks to Witwer – the voice. He’s cold, cunning. Darth Maul is showing a sharp, dark intelligence and Witwer does an amazing job with it. It could have ruined the character, but the writing team did wonders and combined with Witwer’s voice talents, they really added to the character without ruining what made the character so striking to begin with.

Well done, I can’t wait to see where the series will take him in the future.