Ahead of Maul’s return in Star Wars: The Clone Wars season 7, fans should read the Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir comic to better understand his arc. Even though most Star Wars fans thought Darth Maul’s time in the galaxy far, far away ended with Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, one of the many important developments that came in Clone Wars was his return. The series explained that Maul didn’t die when he was cut in half by Obi-Wan Kenobi and instead spent years in a junkyard where he got robotic legs.
This is only a part of Maul’s story in Clone Wars though, as he would go on to be reunited with one of his Dathomir brothers, take over Mandalore, and feud with both Count Dooku and Sheev Palpatine. That confrontation is where Clone Wars last left Maul, with him defeated by Palpatine. Instead of killing his former apprentice though, Palpatine told Maul that he had other plans for him. Those plans were not revealed in the rest of season 5 or season 6, and instead of Palpatine’s plan for Maul being revealed in season 7, that story already happened in the comics.
Lucasfilm and Marvel showed what happened between Palpatine and Maul after season 5 in a four-issue comic series Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir. The series was released in 2014 and was created as part of The Clone Wars Legacy project that brought stories to life that were going to be included in future seasons of Clone Wars prior to the original series cancellation. The main plot of Son of Dathomir revolves around Palpatine using Maul as bait to discover where Mother Talzin, the leader of the Nightsisters, is located. Palpatine wants to kill her because he believes she could be a threat to the Sith takeover.
The series begins with Maul imprisoned by Palpatine and Dooku, but he is freed from their capture by his Death Watch members and regains possession of the Darksaber. Maul and Death Watch battle General Grievous and his droid army early on, but Maul suffers heavy losses to his army, forcing him to go find Mother Talzin. After speaking with her, Maul assembled the Shadow Collective, but they are attacked again by Dooku and the droid army. But, the Shadow Collective is able to win this battle and captures Dooku and Grievous. When the Jedi investigate the battle and pursue Maul, they then believe that Maul and Dooku could be working together, making Dooku the Sith Master they’ve been searching for.
The end of the series sees Maul and Palpatine fight once again, but this battle has a bit of a twist on it compared to the prior encounter. Mother Talzin, who did not have a physical form before, manages to use her magic to possess Dooku’s body and fight alongside Maul, with Grievous fighting next to Palpatine. Once Palpatine gets the upper hand on Mother Talzin, he uses Force lighting to torture her until she emerges in her true form. She ends up saving Maul and making sure he escapes, even though Grievous kills her. Palpatine is ultimately satisfied with these results as Talzin has been defeated and does not consider Maul a threat anymore.
This story is pivotal to understanding where Maul is at as a character when Clone Wars season 7 begins. While it’s possible the series will re-explore portions of this story through exposition, the marketing for the show has teased that Maul now wants to bring down both sides of this war. He’s set to battle Ahsoka Tano once again and play a key role in the Seige of Mandalore storyline as well, but now he’ll have to defend his rule without the help of the allies he collected during his rise to power. But, those who aren’t familiar with Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir could be confused with the state of Maul during the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, making the comic a piece of the larger canon worthy of checking out.
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