Darth Maul was always one of the most enigmatic characters in the Star Wars saga. The potentially interesting villain’s time was cut short (literally) in The Phantom Menace, but he was brought back for The Clone Wars and now, Ray Park, the actor to have originally played him, has returned for the show’s final season. Sort of.
Park only ever played Maul physically, as his three lines in the Prequel Trilogy’s first entry were dubbed by Peter Serafinowicz, and in The Clone Wars he was voiced by Sam Witwer. However, the Sith Lord’s physicality was a significant aspect of the danger he posed, and to recreate it, Park provided motion capture for the series’ latest episode “The Phantom Apprentice.”
A behind the scenes video talks about the making of the outing, which brings to life the long-awaited Siege of Mandalore, and also sees Ahsoka face off with Maul, both verbally and in a duel in the Mandalorian throne room. Beginning at 1:37 in the video above, Park can be seen in a mo-cap suit spinning a bō staff in an all-too-familiar manner, while series producer Dave Filoni talks about the actor’s enthusiasm for returning and the importance Maul has to the story, most significantly the parallels his situation has to Ahsoka’s.
This arc will likely be Maul’s final appearance in the series, as its events are now starting to overlap with Revenge of the Sith, and Maul’s survival of his apparent death in The Phantom Menace had not been established when the movie was released. He can therefore have no place in the events directly relating to it and some kind of temporary exit will be necessary to take him out of the main saga narrative until his subsequent chronological appearances in Solo and Rebels.
For a character who was originally a glorified henchman with less than ten minutes of screen time, Maul quickly became popular among Star Wars fans and The Clone Wars has only served to expand upon motivations that could otherwise have only been speculated upon. Plus, bringing Park back to lend his talents to the character’s realization one last time have proved essential in giving him the send off he deserves.