Darth Maul: The 6 best moments for the Star Wars Sith Lord so far

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Mar 17, 2017, 11:41 AM EDT

Maul (no longer Darth) returns this Saturday on Star Wars Rebels, as he finally finds the exiled Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tatooine -- yes, that Tatooine, Star Wars fans -- and has a much-anticipated showdown.

The old rivals have faced off several times before, and that's only part of the story for Darth Maul. The first apprentice to Darth Sidious, who you probably know better as the Emperor, Maul originally looked like his time would be short, cut right in the middle of his big debut. Thanks to some creative writing, he returned to fight again, and evolved into a much deeper character, primarily at the hands of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels showrunner Dave Filoni and voice actor Sam Witwer. Here are the six Darth Maul moments you should relive before his next big appearance this weekend.

Star Wars Rebels airs Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on Disney XD.

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace lightsaber duel

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace - Darth Maul vs. Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi

Darth Maul's first appearance, in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, is a universally praised part of an otherwise oft-derided film. The climax of the movie saw Maul face off with two Jedi, Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, as they had the most spectacular lightsaber duel put on screen to that point (not to mention the phenomenal score from John Williams in "Duel of the Fates"). Memorable moments include Maul pacing like a caged lion while Qui-Gon calmly meditated (a beautiful portrayal of the difference between Sith and Jedi), Maul killing Jinn, and Kenobi eventually getting the best of him, slicing the Sith Lord in half. For anyone else that would've been the end, but for Maul it was just the beginning of his larger story.


Star Wars: The Clone Wars - The Return

Maul's first canon appearance after his vivisection saw him barely holding on to life and sanity. He survived the interim years seemingly on nothing but the dark side of the Force (well, and by eating junkyard scavengers...), driven mad and having created a set of robot spider-legs for himself. Discovered by his brother Savage Opress, Maul went through some swift rehab, and immediately embarked on his quest for revenge against Kenobi. We got to see the pair fight for the first time since Phantom Menace, with Kenobi flanked by Asajj Ventress and Maul teamed with his brother. The arc closed out Season 4 of the series, and the popular character was front-and-center for much of Season 5.


Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Ruler of Mandalore

After assembling together a massive crime syndicate, made up of several notable names like Black Sun, Death Watch, and the Hutt Cartell, Maul and his army of criminals took over Mandalore. When Pre Vizsla challenged Maul for rule, the Sith Lord killed his rival, and took control of the legendary Darksaber, a one-of-a-kind black-bladed lightsaber constructed by the first Mandalorian Jedi a thousand years earlier. He used the blade on "the one that got away" from Obi-Wan, Duchess Satine Kryze, in one of the saddest moments in Star Wars history; it directly led to the next moment, though...


Star Wars: The Clone Wars - An Apprentice Put in his Place

In the same eventful episode of The Clone Wars, S5E16, "The Lawless," Darth Maul and his brother Savage seemed to come out ahead; Obi-Wan had to flee and it seemed that Maul and Savage would rule Mandalore for the forseeable future. Then his master, Darth Sidious, came a-calling, and with little more than a flick of his wrist took the sons of Dathomir down with such ease as to be nearly comical. It's not Darth Maul's best moment, but it's still one of his most memorable, and one of the most important ones he'd experience.


Star Wars Rebels: Maul and the Jedi Versus Inquisitors

It's hard to pick the best moment of Maul (no longer Darth) in his first appearance in Star Wars Rebels. Aside from a comic book appearance that took place after Sidious put him in his place, this was the first time the masses saw Maul, about 20 years after his last appearance in the timeline. While much of his dialogue in the episode, Season 2, Episodes 21-22, could fill a "best moments" list of its own, and his final battle in the episode against Kanan certainly changed things in the series, we first got a moment of triumph. Having revealed something akin to compassion, Maul made it clear that his hatred of the Sith and their agents, the Inquisitors, at least outweighed his hatred of the Jedi - at least for the time being. Maul takes up arms, teaming up with the Jedi against the Inquisitors, and even kills the enemies. The alliance... didn't last.


Star Wars Rebels: Joining the Holocrons

That brings us to one of his most recent appearances, in Star Wars Rebels Season 3, Episode 3, "The Holocrons of Fate." Here, we see a wholly different side to Maul. He's desperate; yes, he's driven by revenge, but there's something more. Indeed, his purpose in joining the holocrons and looking into the Force is simple: he is searching for "hope." Meanwhile, Ezra's motivation is searching for means to destroy the Sith; their roles are reversed. It's a moment that gives Maul, through dialogue and character development, more than any of his amazing lightsaber battles ever could, and should stand the test of time as one of his best even after his latest return.