Star Wars is filled with epic characters on both the good and bad sides. Ones you love, and the others, you love to hate. One such character was Darth Maul, a Sith apprentice who battled Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi on Naboo. We thought he died, but the fan-favorite Sith returned. So, how did Darth Maul survive, and who killed him the second time?
Darth Maul was first cut in half at the waist by Obi-Wan Kenobi after Maul killed his master, Qui-Gon Jinn. Maul managed to stay alive in the reactor shaft through sheer rage and will to survive. Later, in Star Wars: Rebels, he made a half-cyborg body, only to be killed for good by his former nemesis, Obi-Wan.
That’s the gist of it, but there’s much more to the story that makes Darth Maul such a phenomenal character. His final moments will actually have you feel sorry for Maul and show that he might not have been as horrible as once thought. Let’s go through Darth Maul’s ‘deaths’ and explain how he managed to return after that brutal beatdown in The Phantom Menace.
Who kills Darth Maul in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace?
Before we get to that dreadful ending of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, and the somewhat anti-climactic end of Darth Maul, one should certainly know his life story to understand the character a bit better.
Maul was taken as an apprentice by Darth Sidious, aka Palpatine, when he was only a kid. Unlike Palpatine’s other apprentices (for instance, Count Dooku and Anakin Skywalker), Maul didn’t really have a choice. Dooku and Anakin were manipulated into choosing the Dark Side, sure, but it was ultimately their choice. Maul didn’t really have that luxury.
Regardless, the Sith Order had a Rule of Two, where only two Sith could operate at a time, one master and one apprentice. This rule was broken by Palpatine when he took Maul as an apprentice, seeing that Sidious was, too, an apprentice at the time, trained by master Darth Plagueis.
Still, Plagueis let Palpatine train young Maul, seeing that the Force is strong within him and that he’s quite malleable and filled with undying rage. That made him the perfect assassin for the Sith Order, without Maul actually being a Sith. He was just a disposable card to play when needed, but Maul took the role with both hands.
Fast forward to the situation on Naboo, where Darth Maul battled Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Maul was incredibly well-trained, and his undying rage and lust for annihilation fueled his Force skills to an incredible level. He lured the Jedi into a trap and held his ground against them before separating Jinn from Kenobi.
Using his double lightsaber, Maul stunned Qui-Gon Jinn by slamming the handle of the saber in his head and then proceeded to deliver the fatal wound that would eventually kill the Jedi master.
Filled with rage, Kenobi battled Maul, but his anger almost cost him his life. Obi-Wan was disarmed and holding on to dear life before he managed to summon his master’s lightsaber, pick himself up from the edge, and slice Darth Maul in half in one strike. Maul’s body, cut in half at the waist, fell down the reactor shaft and was presumed dead.
I say presumed because we learned years later that it was not the end of Darth Maul.
How did Darth Maul survive being cut in half?
Many believe that Darth Maul died twice – killed on Naboo by Obi-Wan Kenobi, then resurrected, only to be killed again. That’s actually a false belief because Maul never died on Naboo in the first place.
In the comic The Clone Wars: The Sith Hunters, we learn that Darth Maul was so consumed with rage, hate, thirst for revenge, and insatiable will to survive that he managed to use the Force and somehow cling to life. As Obi-Wan said in that particular comic: “Only one consumed by the Dark Side of the Force would cling to life so tenaciously.”
Instead of falling all the way down the shaft, Maul grabbed an air vent and eventually ended up in a trash container.
His half-severed body used his Nightsister magic, his Sith tenacity and will to survive, and his Dathomirian physiology to survive and end up on Lotho Minor. Even when his mind started to flee him, Maul’s body remained alive in the bowels of the trash planet.
Maul used the Force to create a walking device from all the junk, debris, and even live creatures like bugs and insects there. His mind was fractured, but his body turned into a spider-like creature, slowly recovering on the planet.
During the Clone Wars, his long-lost brother, Savage Opress, was sent to Lotho Minor to save Maul. However, the former Sith’s mind was so fractured he barely knew who he was, let alone who Savage was.
Still, he was taken to Mother Talzin on Dathomir, where his mind was repaired (as much as possible), as well as his body. That is, instead of a spider-like, junk-filled bottom half, Maul received a cybernetic pair of legs made from Separatist droids that were destroyed during the Battle of Dathomir.
From there, Darth Maul’s quest to find Obi-Wan Kenobi and exact his revenge started – and it would take years and years for the former Sith to find the one who almost killed him.
Who kills Darth Maul the second time (this time for good)?
When we say ‘the second time,’ we actually mean the first time, as we now know that Darth Maul didn’t die on Naboo. However, the second time, he died for good – and died at the hands of the same Jedi who presumably ‘killed’ him the first time – Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Maul searched for years and eventually tracked Kenobi down on Tatooine, as we saw in the episode of Star Wars Rebels called Twin Suns. Maul and Kenobi were both much older than they were during their first encounter, and a lightsaber duel ensued.
Obi-Wan Kenobi tricked Darth Maul into thinking he’ll use the same lightsaber form as his former master, Qui-Gon Jinn, when Maul killed him. Maul saw the opportunity and tried to use the same move on Kenobi as he did on Jinn – bashing his head with the handle of his saber to stun him.
Little did he know, that was exactly what Obi-Wan wanted him to do. At that moment, Kenobi swished his saber downwards, cutting through Maul’s handle and into his chest, delivering a quick, fatal blow.
How did Darth Maul die so quickly in Star Wars Rebels?
The first time they dueled, Darth Maul was able to hold his own against two Jedi and almost beat both of them before the desperate move from Kenobi sliced him in half. And yet, Maul managed to survive the ordeal. So, how did Darth Maul die so quickly and so easily in Star Wars Rebels? Well, there are two reasons.
Firstly, Obi-Wan Kenobi was in much better health and shape. He continued training and garnered experience as a Jedi and was a much better warrior than he was the first time he faced Darth Maul. On the other hand, Maul was nowhere near his former self. His body and mind were repaired, but he could never return to the same level as he once was.
The second, as some fans believe, was the fact that the only thing keeping him alive in the first place was rage and thirst for vengeance. After Kenobi defeated him in the quick duel, and that rage was gone (as you can see in the video above), one wound was enough for life to leave Maul’s body.
In the end, Kenobi even comforted his rival, assuring him about the Chosen One. You can see that Darth Maul didn’t just feel hatred – he felt love towards his family and realized that his life was taken from him by Palpatine at such a young age, with his last words being – ‘he will avenge us.’ By us, he meant himself and his brother, Savage Opress.