Palp Fiction

The future of Star Wars could lie in Palpatine and Darth Maul's past

A forgotten comic fleshes out how Darth Sidious met his first apprentice.

Darth Maul is one of the most interesting Star Wars characters. To those who only know the movies, he's the daunting, red-faced Sith who Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan face off against at the end of The Phantom Menace. But that's just the tip of the evil spikey-headed iceberg. Before his surprise cameo in Solo, The Clone Wars and Rebels fleshed out the character enormously, giving him a redemption arc for the ages, but one thing we never see on-screen is how exactly he met Palpatine and adopted the dark path.

That's a shame, because a closer look at the original encounter between the Sith lord and his ill-fated apprentice could reveal not only where Star Wars has been, but where the franchise may be headed next.

In the comic series Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir, Maul's origins are finally brought to light. Palpatine was looking to master the art of wielding the Force for evil and so turned to the Nightsisters, a coven of what are essentially witches of the Force. He consulted with Nightsister Mother Talzin and considered making her his apprentice, but instead stole her young son away from her, a son who would later go on to be known as Darth Maul.

Canonically, Darth Maul has been the ward of Palpatine since childhood, but next to nothing is known about these years where Maul was growing up under Palpatine's tutelage, probably in hiding while Sheev advanced his political campaign.

Palpatine flashes back to his past with Darth Maul.Marvel Comics

Darth Maul is a fan favorite from the Duel of the Fates fight to his heel-turn in Rebels, so his return would be a welcome addition to the Star Wars canon, even if that return is a glimpse of Maul in his adolescence. This means the best hope for seeing a Darth Maul of this era lies with a possible sequel for Solo. Maul's cameo at the end of Solo ties him to the franchise, and what better story for a spinoff Star Wars film than Darth Maul on a quest for familial justice?

That's not the only option, though. Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir is an adaptation of a Clone Wars episode script that ended up on the cutting room floor, so perhaps this story will be adapted into an episode of the upcoming The Bad Batch spinoff series, with flashbacks back to Darth Maul's past. Even Darth Maul's voice actor seems to hint at a cameo.

Darth Maul's surprise appearance in 'Solo.'Lucasfilm

The story would need a little augmentation, as Son of Dathomir has Maul facing off against Count Dooku, who had his head lightsaber-scissored off before the events of The Bad Batch. But a story of Maul's vengeance against his former Sith master for the sake of his mother seems timeless within the Star Wars universe.

Whether it's in a sequel to Solo, The Bad Batch, or a spinoff of his own, there are many gaps in Darth Maul's story as we've seen it on screen. Even if it's just in flashback, seeing Maul being kidnapped as a child would lend his character more humanity, and draw some parallels between him and his eventual Sith apprentice successor: Anakin Skywalker.