Darth Maul was cut from ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’
In a sad piece of news for fans of one of the Star Wars fandom’s favorite rivalries, it has been revealed that Darth Maul, who has been one of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s main nemeses since his debut in 1998’s The Phantom Menace, would not be appearing in the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi solo miniseries, despite having been initially slated to return.
Update June 8 8:41pm CT: Deborah Chow has confirmed fan-favorite Star Wars villain was never in Obi-Wan despite rumors according to an interview with the director in the latest edition of Total Film.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Maul was initially slated to return as an antagonist, and the studio had even enlisted Maul’s original portrayer, actor and stuntman Ray Park, to reprise his role as the slayer of Kenobi’s master, Qui-Gon Jinn.
Producers have already stated that the series will see a rematch between Ewan McGregor’s Kenobi and Hayden Christensen’s Darth Vader. The series will also feature The Inquisitorius as a big bad as well — a group of force-sensitive agents of the dark side previously introduced in the Star Wars animated series, Rebels, that are tasked with hunting down the last of the Jedi.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Mandalorian showrunners, Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau, became concerned that the original Obi-Wan plot — which relied heavily on the Jedi Knight protecting his young charge, Luke Skywalker, from the villainous Maul — bore too much resemblance to the plot of The Mandalorian, and its relationship between Din Djarin and Grogu. Although by this time in the filming, Park was already on set for preproduction, and a young actor had even been cast as Luke, Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy made the decision to pause and overhaul the script.
Filoni and Favreau pressed director Deborah Chow to “go bigger” according to The Hollywood Reporter‘s sources, with Filoni suggesting a way both to integrate Vader, and to feature The Grand Inquisitor, an antagonist made popular by Filoni in Rebels.
Maul was originally brought back in the animated properties Clone Wars and Rebels, which featured an ultimate duel between Maul and Kenobi. Maul has only been seen in one live-action Star Wars feature since Phantom Menace, in a brief cameo at the end of Solo where he was once again played by Park.
The Kenobi trailer, which dropped March 9, was conspicuous in its use of the John Williams “Duel of the Fates” theme, which was first used during Kenobi’s first (and Qui-Gon’s last) meeting with Maul.