The Force Unleashed triggered Darth Maul’s Redemption

We look back at the video game and consider how voice actor Sam Witwer would eventually release The Phantom Menace’s coolest character.

The Force Unleashed triggered Darth Maul’s Redemption

Lucasfilm

By Brad Gullickson · Published on April 22, 2022

Star Wars Explained is our ongoing series in which we dive into the latest Star Wars shows, movies, trailers and news stories to predict the future of the franchise. This post examines Sam Witwer’s role in reviving and reviving Darth Maul, and why we owe it all to Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.


Television is not the only realm that has been flooded Star wars contents. While many are obsessed with what’s going to be streamed next time on Disney +, just as many, if not many more, are skimming to the next Star wars video games. The latest release of Lego Star wars: The Skywalker saga has touched something in the Force. In its wake, several other games are under development.

From Zenga (the Farmville folks), which is the new PvP game Star wars: Hunters, which will be released for iOS, Android and Switch later this year. EA may have lost the exclusive Lucasfilm game license, but they are not slowing down. In collaboration with Respawn, we will soon receive an unnamed first-person shooter, an unnamed strategy game and a sequel to Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

Aspyr has one Knights of the Old Republic remake on the way to PS5. While already working on a long delay Avatar games, Ubisoft Massive also has an open world Star wars fairy tale. The French studio Quantic Dream is under development Star wars: Eclipse, an action-oriented multiplayer. And finally Amy Hennig, who worked with Naughty Dog on Uncharted franchise, leads the team on the upcoming Skydance Star wars vehicle, hoping to achieve a cinematic action experience.

If you lean towards nostalgia and you are one Star wars fan, so of course you lean towards nostalgia, which you are perhaps most excited about Star wars: The power unleashed finally finding its way to the Nintendo DS more than a decade after its first release. The video game is important for several reasons, but the most important among them is how it introduced the actor Sam Enkemand to our beloved franchise.

Years before he said Darth Maul and Emperor Palpatine on Star wars: The Clone Wars, Star wars: Rebelsand so on (yes, inclusive Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker saga), gave the actor a voice The power unleashed‘s central figure. Galen Marek, aka Starkiller, aka The Apprentice, lost his father to Darth Vader during the Great Jedi Purge. The Dark Lord of the Sith stole the child and raised it in secret.

The power unleashed gave us the opportunity to play through Marek’s twisted moral narrative, and Witwer gave the character an emotional depth often lacking from previous franchise games. Following the acquisition of Disney, Lucasfilm eventually made the story non-canonical. Yet they folded Witwer into their troops. When it was time to revive another mad apprentice, one who took a mutilated tumbling underneath Phantom threats climax, de de Witwer asked to borrow his voice once more. The decision helped correct a major failure from Star wars prequel trilogy.

Darth Maul looks great. And Ray Park, in live-action, no doubt injected the character with skill and a menacing boast. But beyond his design and badass fighting skills, instructor George Lucas delivered very little with Maul. He was a villainous sidekick who was considered disposable with a slash from Obi-Wan Kenobi’s lightsaber.

I remember leaving the theater in 1999 and thinking, “Is that so? We’re not getting any more from the coolest guy in the whole movie?” I could not appreciate it at the time, but Lucas’ random Maul dismissal would kickstart one of the franchise’s most tragic and deliciously pathetic story lines, Maul would go from Palpatine’s Dark Sidekick to a deadly Shakespearean weasel. Sam Witwer.

Maul reappeared The Clone Wars episode, “Brothers”. We learned that after his body had been flung and discarded on the scrap yard planet Lotho Minor, Maul went mad among the pieces. He constructed a spider under his torso, and when his brother Savage Opress finally spotted him, Maul was a scrambling psychotic. The creature had nothing left but a blood-boiling vengeance against the emperor who discarded him and the Jedi who cut him in two.

Sam Witwer drilled into Maul’s wounds. The trembling rage he gave Maul’s voice became a little softer as the series progressed and as the character continued his hateful quest into Star wars: Rebels, but he never totally gave up on Maul’s trembling insanity. Witwer delivers Maul’s poisonous whispering lilt with a roar rumbling below.

Every word that is said sparkles with rage and jealousy. Just as villainous and horrible as Maul behaves, Witwer drags us into the killer’s painful situation. Witwer is the reason why we often find ourselves messing around with the superpowered gangster, and we need him to miraculously overcome Palpatine. And maybe, just maybe, even get better over Obi-Wan Kenobi.

“Brothers” was the penultimate episode of The Clone Wars season three. Although Maul’s narrative was not the most important for the rest of the show’s lifetime, it developed into a catastrophic narrative that affected almost every character going forward. His actions in The Clone Wars and Rebels marked in The Mandalorian and The book about Boba Fett. And if director Bryce Dallas Howard is to believe the impact of the comic book universe on the upcoming Ahsoka Tano series, we can assume that Maul’s sad saga will continue to resonate there.

Maul would eventually have his showdown with both the Emperor and Obi-Wan Kenobi. In either case, he failed. The second confrontation led to his death in Rebels the masterpiece “Twin Suns”. We do not expect the former Sith to perform in ObiWan Kenobi The Disney + series since the return of Anakin Skywalker is the show’s big promise. However, we should prepare for how Maul’s animated input continues to reveal troubling consequences in the live-action world.

Maul returned to Star wars four years after Star wars: The power unleashed. Fandom’s fascination with him guaranteed his resurrection, but Sam Witwer inside drove Maul’s story into an essential mythos ingredient. Witwer made us take care of the character, who was basically a glorified action figure before “Brothers”.

All too often, we reset our focus on Star wars movies and TV shows. We should pay more attention to the expanded universe. Black Krssantan began in the comics. Cad Bane and Ahsoka Tano came from the cartoons. And while Maul achieved his looks in the movies, he found his heart in The Clone Warsserved on a cracked silver platter by Sam Witwer.


Star wars: The Clone Wars now streamed on Disney +.

Related topics: Star Wars, Star Wars explained

Brad Gullickson is a weekly columnist for film school rejections and senior curator of One Perfect Shot. When he’s not tumbling about movies here, he walks around comics as a co-host of Comic Book Couples Counseling. Hunt him on Twitter: @MouthDork. (han / ham)

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