Darth Maul is easily one of the most iconic characters of the Star Wars prequel trilogy. So much so, in fact, that his death would be, pardon the pun, short-lived. Too popular a character to leave dead, Dave Filoni brought the character back for the animated series The Clone Wars. Maul’s return was a roaring success, as voice actor Sam Witwer truly brought the character to life. Eventually the character would meet his destiny at Obi-Wan Kenobi’s hands in Star Wars Rebels…. But that wasn’t how he was originally supposed to die.

One of the best episodes of the entire Star Wars Rebels series was the Season 2 finale. Maul, the rebels, Ahsoka, and even Darth Vader all converge on the Sith temple on Malachor for control of a Sith Holocron. Fans’ hearts shattered when it appeared that Vader had defeated Ahsoka. Had Filoni’s original story played out, however, Vader would have also battled, and bested, Maul in much the same fashion.

Maul as he appears in The Clone Wars. Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Maul death scene originally much different

As we learn in the video from Stupendous Wave above, it wasn’t originally Inquisitors that would have hunted Maul. To the contrary, the Emperor would have sent Vader to destroy the Dathomirian. That would have been the ultimate showdown of Palpatine’s two best apprentices. But, according to Dave Filoni, a Maul/Vader matchup would have just convoluted the story:

There were just too many story lines, and there isn’t enough emotional material between Vader and Maul. It’s more of a fan-fiction, fun thought that they fought; the emotional drama was really between Vader and Ahsoka. So we decided to let Maul live.”

~ Dave Filoni
Darth Maul
Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.

In hindsight, the decision paid out handsomely. In fact, by letting the character live, Filoni was able to produce one of the other, best episodes of the entire Rebels series. In the episode “Twin Suns” he finally meets Obi-Wan again. Whereas Kenobi learned, and grew, in the years that separated them, Maul clung to his emotional rage. His refusal to adapt was his undoing. His eventual death scene was far more emotional and poignant than perhaps fans expected… And ultimately better than had his death played out as original planned.

What do you think? Would you have preferred that Maul died at Vader’s hands, or Kenobi’s? Let us know in the comments below.