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Darth Maul

Darth Maul is a fictional character in the science fiction saga Star Wars. He is one of the main antagonists of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, portrayed by martial artist Ray Park and voiced by Peter Serafinowicz.

In the film, Maul serves as the apprentice of Darth Sidious, a mysterious Sith Lord who is manipulating galactic events from behind the scenes. Wielding a double-bladed lightsaber and trained as a master of lightsaber combat, Maul serves as a personal assassin for Darth Sidious, having been sent to eliminate Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn, two of the film's protagonists.

Star Wars films
Darth Maul appears in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace as the apprentice of Sith lord Darth Sidious, who sends him to capture Queen Padmé Amidala and eliminate the two Jedi, Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi. During the film's climactic scene, he hits Qui-Gon with his lightsaber hilt and swiftly kills him during the duel, and knocks Obi-Wan into a reactor chasm; at the last minute, however, Obi-Wan uses the Force to propel himself out of the chasm, equipping himself with his master's lightsaber. Obi-Wan quickly cuts Maul in half from the waist. Maul's body separates into two pieces and falls into the chasm.
Maul's murder of Qui-Gon places the responsibility of Anakin Skywalker's training into Obi-Wan's hands, setting the stage for the rest of the prequel trilogy.

2008 animated series
Maul's origins were elaborated on in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, an animated series set between Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Maul is described as a warrior of the Nightbrother clan on the planet Dathomir, who inhabit the planet alongside the dominant Nightsister clans, a society of women who practice witchcraft. The tattoos covering his body are described as the markings of a warrior, in contrast to earlier sources which identify his bodyart as the markings of a Sith Lord.
Maul is established as having two brothers: Feral and Savage Opress. Savage becomes entangled in a power struggle between Maul's Sith successor, Count Dooku, and Dooku's former apprentice and Nightsister, Asajj Ventress, being taken from his clan and brainwashed to become a killer that would obey Ventress' commands, to the point of murdering his own brother, Feral, at her suggestion. Following a failed assassination attempt on Dooku and a falling out with Ventress, the figurehead of the Nightsister clan, Mother Talzin, suggests to Opress to seek out his brother Maul, who she claims is in exile somewhere in the Outer Rim of the galaxy. Maul's death is mentioned twice in the Nightsisters trilogy. Once by Dooku, and again by Obi-Wan. It is also noted that the Jedi know Maul's name (unlike in Star Wars literature, where Obi-Wan always referred to him as the "Zabrak Sith")
Maul - who apparently survived his bisection in The Phantom Menace's climax - will appear in some form in the spring of 2012 in Season Four of The Clone Wars. He will be voiced by Sam Witwer, who previously voiced Starkiller in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and its its sequel.

Star Wars literature
As portrayed in the novel Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter, Maul is kidnapped from his Jedi training by Sidious at an early age, and is trained as a Sith, having Sith tattoos put all over his body. Maul initially goes on countless missions of terror for his master, killing politicians, crime bosses, merchants, and warlords.
Several sources depict Maul returning from the dead in several different forms. The story "Resurrection" from Star Wars Tales 9 depicts a duplicate of Darth Maul created by a cult, which is killed in a duel with Darth Vader. The story "Phantom Menaces" in Star Wars Tales #17 depicts a post-Return of the Jedi Luke Skywalker visiting Maul's home planet of Iridonia in an ambassadorial capacity, where he faces a "solid state holigram" of Darth Maul, which he destroys.
In 2005, Dark Horse Comics published Star Wars: Visionaries, a compilation of comic art short stories written and illustrated by members of the Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith art department and ILM artists. One story, "Old Wounds", considered to be non-canonical to Star Wars lore, depicts Darth Maul surviving his bisection at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi, replacing his missing bottom half with cybernetic replacements. After battling Obi-Wan on Tatooine, he is killed by a blaster bolt to the head from Owen Lars, Luke Skywalker's adoptive uncle.

Characteristics
Concept and creation:
Series creator George Lucas had described Darth Maul as "a figure from your worst nightmare". Designer Iain McCaig thus offered Lucas a design based on a nightmare of his, which was rejected, but later inspired the Nightsister Sith witch in later Star Wars tales. One day McCaig was trying to make "Sith lord versions" of the art department crew, and drew David Dozoretz, head of the animations group, with a circuit board on his face. Lucas was intrigued by the circuit board idea, and McCaig started producing similar caricatures.
After getting frustrated with a drawing of production designer Gavin Bocquet, McCaig started covering it in tape. Both he and Lucas liked the result, described as "a kind of Rorschach pattern". The final drawing had McCaig's own face, with a pattern based on three things: a concept of a "flayed flesh face", face-painting of African tribes and further Rorschach experimentation (dropping ink onto paper, folding it in half then opening).
Darth Maul's head originally had feathers, based on prayer totems, but the Creature Effects crew led by Nick Dudman interpreted those feathers as horns, modifying his features into those common in depictions of the biblical Devil. Maul's clothing was also modified, from a tight body suit with a muscle pattern to the Sith robe based on samurai pleats, because the lightsaber battles involved much jumping and spinning. Another concept had Maul a masked figure, something that could rival Darth Vader, while the senatorial characters would sport painted and tattooed faces. It was later decided to apply this to Maul rather than the senate.

Portrayal
For Darth Maul's first appearance in The Phantom Menace, he was played by Ray Park and voiced by Peter Serafinowicz in the movie, as well as Lego Star Wars: The Video Game. For the video game adaptation of the movie, he was played by Gregg Berger. He was played by Jess Harnell in Star Wars: Racer Revenge, Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds and Star Wars: Demolition. He was played by Stephen Stanton in Star Wars: Battlefront II and by Clint Bajakian in Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing. He also made an appearance as a CGI character in two additional Star Wars video games: As a PROXY training hologram in Star Wars The Force Unleashed and also in Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron, where his voice was provided by David W. Collins.

Popular culture
Since the release of The Phantom Menace, Maul has proven to be quite a popular character. IGN would name Darth Maul as the 16th greatest Star Wars character of all time. The editor of the piece noted, "Of the countless characters to walk in and out of the Star Wars saga, none look or act more badass than Darth Maul. Say what you will about Episode I, but the deadly ballet of Darth Maul makes the movie worth watching even now."
Darth Maul related merchandise was popular among Hasbro Star Wars toy lines, with plastic recreations of his double bladed lightsaber and various action figures in his likeness developed. Darth Maul will be the focal point of the toy marketing campaign surrounding the 2012 re-release of The Phantom Menace, being featured on the packaging for the toy line. Maul's double-bladed lightsaber would influence several homages and parodies, including an appearance in The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror X and a similar weapon being featured in the video game series Ratchet and Clank.

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