Ever since his brief and short-lived appearance in the Prequel Trilogy, Darth Maul has turned into one of the most iconic villains in the world of Star Wars. But the process of turning the mindless puppet of Darth Sidious into a compelling character wasn’t as simple as you’d imagine.
Originally, Ray Park and Peter Serafinowicz provided the physical appearance and voice of Maul in The Phantom Menace, respectively. Over the years, though, Lucasfilm turned to another actor to bring the dark-side warrior to life. And so, Sam Witwer and his deep voice slowly took over Maul throughout his scattered roles in the various media set in that galaxy far, far away.
But even within the confines of the narrative, he’s gone through several developments over the course of Dave Filoni’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars. In fact, at one point in the story, Maul goes toe-to-toe with his former master Palpatine. So, it makes sense why the producers at Lucasfilm decided to recast the role. The Dathomirian returned one more time for the final season of the animated series, where he essentially took up the mantle of an antihero in a quest to stop the Emperor and his plan to take over the Galactic Republic.
Witwer recently spoke with IGN and explained how he perfected Maul’s unforgettable and iconic voice, saying:
“With Maul’s voice, it changes,” he said. “Maul’s voice now is different than the younger Maul. I always ask, ‘What era Maul are we doing?’ The older he is, he starts becoming more colorful and weird.”
The voice actor also revealed why Palpatine remains a huge influence for Maul, even though the character is terrified of the dark lord, explaining:
“Between the Serafinowicz voice that was established in The Phantom Menace, I took a lot from Palpatine,” He continued. “Because that’s his dad, really, so he would have learned a lot of things from Palpatine. His sense of humor is Palpatine’s sense of humor. When things are going well for these gentlemen, everything is hilarious. Only when things are going well.”
From his last appearance in the final episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars to his final moments in Rebels, there’s still a lot of unexplored territory in the life of Maul. And if recent rumors are to be believed, the character’s return in the near future is basically inevitable at this point.