When it comes to Star Wars, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone more passionate or knowledgeable than Sam Witwer. He doesn't just play Maul on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, he also voiced many other roles on the series and returned to give life to Maul in Star Wars Rebels and provide his voice for Solo: A Star Wars Story as well. He's learned directly from Dave Filoni, who learned directly from George Lucas.
He also played Starkiller in both games in The Force Unleashed series, and outside of the GFFA he's still no stranger to genre audiences, notably appearing in Battlestar Galactica and much more. However, most memorable is the hateful, deadly-silk tone he gives to Maul, a Sith no longer, and it's something fans can look forward to experiencing once more in the final arc of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. We've had an arc with the Bad Batch, and we've just started an arc of Ahsoka finding herself again. After that, it will be time for the long-awaited "Siege of Mandalore" arc to wrap everything up, and if you weren't already excited about it, then prepare yourself.
Witwer has been listed under the "additional voices" column for every Star Wars movie that Disney has made, notably voicing many a stormtrooper. For instance, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story features him talking about obsolete T-15s on Scarif's beach.
Witwer says that the running gag of the T-15s (and T-16s) continues in The Rise of Skywalker, he just doesn't know where they ended up. One contribution of his that is definitely in there, though, no question, comes during scenes on the secret Sith planet Exegol. Matthew Wood of Skywalker Sound appropriately brought Witwer in to help with those scenes.
"When the Sith audience is chanting and stuff, that's stuff that I came up with for Matt Wood — he'd asked me to come up with some Sith language stuff," Witwer says. "I wrote for the population of Exegol. We all performed it, [but] Matt allowed me to make some suggestions about how that was gonna go."
Long before the escapades on Exegol, however, the GFFA had to deal with the Siege of Mandalore in The Clone Wars. We see Maul before these episodes, and we see him after them — how important is this four-episode bit of business?
Witwer explains: "I think it's beautifully pivotal, he's trying something new. We see him play with some ideas, and experiment with some things that he's never really tried before. The thing we keep saying about Maul is he's this character who is locked in this cycle of rises and falls. He's Sisyphus … cursed to push the boulder up the hill, and right as he gets to the top of the hill he loses his grip and the boulder falls all the way to the bottom of the hill, and he's got to go back and start again and do that for eternity."
He added that the time period in Maul's life between Solo and Rebels is something that they will be "very careful" about if they ever decide to explore it. Witwer says Filoni has maintained that he himself would have to be at the helm of that tale and that everything involved there falls under "protected status."
He wouldn't want it messed up as a fan himself, which it's clear Witwer very, very much is.
"There were certain details we had to re-acclimate ourselves to, certain details we had to remind ourselves about," he says of returning to the Clone Wars era. "Stuff that the fans would have been very angry with us about."
It is seven years after they ended the series, so he adds, "Every time you bring out one of these characters, you have to show something new to the audience. Having said that, I'm building off Clone Wars Maul, not the Rebels Maul. Clone Wars Maul is quite different from Rebels Maul."
In terms of the season as a whole, Witwer points out that fans will see "an interesting progression." As he says, "The cinematic nature of the show will shift a bit. The way that Dave put it to me … Bad Batch was, 'Hey, it would be great to finish that. We already put so much work into it, it would be great to deliver that.' When it came to the Ahsoka arc, there was a good deal of work done, and a good deal of story reels complete, but not all of them. Not everything was done in terms of the planning of how those episodes went down. A lot of new stuff came to the table as you had to finish a lot of that work. The work was not ready to go."
The long-awaited "Siege of Mandalore" arc, though, had received story discussions and meetings, but not much more.
"That's the fun of the final arc," Witwer explains. "[With the] new stuff, you're gonna see Dave Filoni bringing the experience that he gained doing Rebels and the experience he gained doing The Mandalorian ... the Bad Batch is classic Clone Wars, it's pretty close to what they would have done years ago. The Ahsoka arc is 50/50; you're gonna see some new stuff.
"And then the final arc, it's every trick that they have learned since Clone Wars [ended]," he continues. "Every cinematic tool that they have newly developed since Clone Wars to tell the best Clone Wars story that maybe we've ever told. We'll see if people agree with me on that."
He also mentions that Filoni himself wrote the last arc, and that they are meant to be seen as one big movie; they're "designed a little bit differently" from other episodes because of that. If that's not enough hype for you, he also says the following:
"Dave's script, I felt like it was the best Clone Wars script I'd ever read."
For more exciting Sith-bits from our conversation with Sam Witwer, check out the special bonus episode of Jabba the Pod below, or wherever you get your podcasts.