Did You Know That Darth Maul Was Originally Going To Be Scarier?


Darth Maul is considered to be one of the most well known antagonists of the Star Wars series. Originally a one-off villain in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace he quickly became the prequel trilogy’s equivalent to Boba Fett in terms of popularity.

His devilish appearance and his dual saber made a lasting impression for those who saw the film. Not to mention the work of actor/stuntman Ray Park making the duel between Maul and the two Jedi one of the best sword fights in film history.

Even though he was killed on screen his popularity brought him back in the 2008 Clone Wars TV series where he became a massive threat to the Jedi and the planet Mandalore. He also appeared in the Star Wars Rebels TV series to which he finally met is end at the hands of Obi-Wan.

But did you know that he was originally going to be scarier? 

The design for Maul was given to artist Iain McCaig. When George asked him to create the character he said “Draw your worst nightmare“. McCaig described the process in an interview with StarWars.com:

I drew my worst nightmare, which was that face that’s peering in the window at you late at night, and it’s barely alive. Like a cross between a ghost and a serial killer staring in at you, and it’s raining, and the rain is distorting the face. So I drew that, a stylized version of it, red ribbons instead of rain, and put it in a folder, and at the meeting passed it over to George. George opened it up and went, ‘Oh, my God,’ slammed it shut, handed it back, and said, ‘Give me your second worst nightmare.’

The result was this terrifying monstrosity that feels like a mix of the girl from The Ring and a corpse.

Iain then went back to the drawing board:

I tried to figure out what I’d done wrong in my thinking because you don’t want less, ever. I started thinking, ‘Star Wars is not real life. It’s mythology.’ So I looked for my first best mythological nightmare, and that’s easy because that’s clowns. I was scared to death of Bozo the Clown as a kid. So I made my big scary clown, and I’d run out of faces to draw, so I used mine. I drew myself into a clown. The patterns became very stylized patterns of the muscles underneath the skin that give expression to the face.

He then made something that felt a lot closer to the design we eventually got. He had feathers tied to his head as some sort of way to focus his energy but after further revisions they became horns.

And the rest is history.

How do you feel about Darth Maul’s early concept? Are you glad that we got the version we did? Or perhaps would you have preferred his original design? Should they re-use this design for a new character in the future?

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