Why Is Darth Maul Red & What Happened to His Black Marks?

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Not many Star Wars characters are as popular as the dreaded Darth Maul, who has always been right up there regarding the coolest characters in the lore. Of course, we first met Maul during the events of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, where he was introduced as a red-skinned and horned figure that fought for the side of the Sith. But while he may have a demonic look, fans should understand that his face may have evolved over the years as he grew older, especially when you consider that he seems unique among his people. So, why is Darth Maul red?

Darth Maul’s red skin was never explained, but it is possible that this was a creative choice on the artist’s part to make Maul stand out compared to the other Dathomirian Zabraks. Meanwhile, in the Legends side of Star Wars, Maul’s black marks were removed and replaced with black Sith tattoos.

The thing about Maul is that he has always been very unique compared to the other characters in Star Wars, as he has a menacing look that goes well with his angry and vengeful personality. Of course, while he isn’t the only Zabrak we’ve seen in Star Wars, he certainly stands out due to the color of his skin. Now, let’s look at what we know about Maul’s color and black marks.

Darth Maul Is Unique Among His Kind

When it comes to the most popular and iconic characters of Star Wars, there aren’t a lot of evil-doers that are on par with Darth Maul’s own popularity. He is one of the few Sith Lords introduced in the canon side of Star Wars and was the first Sith Lord that the Jedi Order officially encountered in a thousand years. In that regard, he has a special place in the hearts of different Star Wars fans, especially when you consider just how cool and menacing his appearance is.

savage and maul

Speaking of Maul’s menacing look, one of the things that has always made him incredibly cool is the design of his character. Maul is a horned humanoid being with skin that’s red and marked with different black patterns. As such, his appearance complements his overall theme as a character that’s aligned with the dark side of the Force, as we all know that the Sith Lords are often associated with black and red colors.

But the thing about Maul is that he is unique among his kind. As the storyline of Star Wars continued through the events of Star Wars: Clone Wars, we met many more Zabraks. But before we get there, it is important to differentiate Maul from some of the other Zabraks in the storyline because he is a Dathomirian Zabrak. On the other hand, the Iridonian Zabraks are the most common in the galaxy.


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Iridonian Zabraks come with grey skin and have long hair. On the other hand, because the Dathomirian Zabraks have already interbred with the Nightsisters native to Dathomir, they have almost no hair and have yellowish to grayish skin. This explains why Maul’s appearance may differ from the other Zabraks in Star Wars.

But even when compared to the other Dathomirian Zabraks we’ve seen in Star Wars, Maul has an appearance that isn’t similar to any of the Nightbrothers. That’s because most Nightbrothers have greyish-yellowish skin that may even be orange at times. On the other hand, Maul has red skin that’s on the darker side and isn’t remotely close to the orange color that some Zabraks come with.


This means that Darth Maul is a unique case for his people, as he may be the only Dathomirian Zabrak with this red skin. This could indicate his strong connection to the dark side of the Force, especially when you consider that he is a lot more powerful than most of the other Force-sensitive Zabraks. Of course, Maul’s skin color could be a creative choice for the artist responsible for designing him. As such, it might be possible that this red skin color was chosen so Darth Maul would stand out compared to the other Dathomirian Zabraks.

Maul’s Black Marks Were Removed and Replaced

Another thing that makes the Dathomirian Zabraks stand out compared to their Iridonian counterparts is the remarkable black marks on their skin. While some Iridonian Zabraks also have black marks, the Dathomirian Zabraks tend to have more prominent marks. And when we look at Maul, he also carries the black marks that give him a more menacing look.

In the canon storyline of Star Wars, Darth Maul was born with these black marks on his skin, as that was always one of the things that made the Dathomirian Zabraks stand out compared to the other Zabraks of the galaxy. But that wasn’t the case in the Legends storyline of Star Wars.


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The Legends counterpart of Maul had to undergo a Dathomirian Zabrak ritual that required him to undergo a magical oily bath that covered his entire body with red and black tattoos. This explains why he has the menacing red and black appearance he was always known for. However, when he became a Sith apprentice under Darth Sidious, he was subjected to a new “ritual.”

Maul’s skin was stripped of the black markings that the Nightbrothers were known for. As such, as a child, he was red-skinned and didn’t have any black markings. But Palpatine personally applied Sith tattoos on his skin in an agonizing manner so that he could “cleanse” Maul’s mind and make him angrier and hateful. The tattoos also symbolized Maul’s dedication to the dark side of the Force.

But, as mentioned, Maul was born with red skin and black markings in the canon storyline of Star Wars. There was never a true explanation for why he is unique, even compared to the other Nightbrothers on Dathomir. As such, we don’t know why he is red and has black markings all over his skin.

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