Obi-Wan Kenobi is the next live-action Star Wars series, bringing back Ewan McGregor's titular Jedi. The upcoming Disney+ show is set a decade after Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, meaning that it will be during the Empire's dominance over the galaxy. As a result, the highly-anticipated rematch between Hayden Christensen's Darth Vader and McGregor's Obi-Wan will be featured.
Before Vader was revealed to be the show's adversary, another key villain tied to Obi-Wan was reported to be included instead. Ray Park's Darth Maul was rumored to be featured as a prominent antagonist. Fans will recall Maul as the Sith Lord who killed Obi-Wan's Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. However, a Lucasfilm executive debunked the report, saying that "bulls--t has been spilled."
Now, as the show's release inches closer, Obi-Wan Kenobi's director chimed in on the Darth Maul debacle.
Darth Maul Report Debunked by Obi-Wan Kenobi Director
Obi-Wan Kenobi director Deborah Chow sat down with Total Film, via Gamesradar, to talk about the previous report of Darth Maul's original inclusion in the Disney+ series.
The Hollywood Reporter previously shared that Darth Maul was initially slated to appear in the show, but the idea was ultimately scrapped due to a creative overhaul behind the scenes.
Despite the report, Chow confirmed that "[they've] never had Darth Maul" in any of the show's plans, pointing out that The Mandalorian and Star Wars: The Clone Wars showrunner Dave Filoni already did a "beautiful job of telling that story already:"
"As long as I’ve been involved, we’ve never had Darth Maul in any of it. Dave [Filoni] did a beautiful job of telling that story already."
Maul's story was brought to a close in Star Wars Rebels, with the character being defeated by Obi-Wan once and for all, ultimately leading to a peaceful death.
Chow unveiled that she took ideas from the initial development of Obi-Wan Kenobi, saying that even then Maul was never in the conversation:
"For anybody trying to tell a story in the middle of these two trilogies, there were only certain elements that made sense in where [Obi-Wan] is."
Chow continued by revealing that the decision to bring Darth Vader onto the show "was not made lightly," saying that it made sense to tell the story of Obi-Wan and Vader since it's a "very profound part" of the titular Jedi's life:
"With a lot of the legacy aspects, the decision to bring Vader into it was not made lightly. We’re 10 years after Revenge Of The Sith. Where is Obi-Wan’s starting place? What has been important to him in his life? Anakin and Vader are a huge and very profound part of his life. We ended up feeling that he made sense in telling this story. And Vader casts such a dark shadow in this, that to have Maul as well, it might be a little bit much."
Will Darth Maul Ever Return?
Darth Maul's story was brought to a close in a poignant way during Star Wars Rebels, meaning that another appearance during the same timeframe risks invalidating that beautiful ending.
Deborah Chow mentioned that Darth Maul is not included in the planning stages for the show as long as she's involved. Given that a creative overhaul happened during Obi-Wan's early development, it's possible that Darth Maul was part of the plan, but it ultimately shifted once Chow and writer Joby Harold entered the project.
Even though Maul is absent in the upcoming series, there is still a wide array of villains that Obi-Wan will face. Aside from Vader, the Inquisitors and the full force of the Stormtroopers are still significant threats to the Jedi Master.
Picking Darth Vader over Maul served as the right choice, mainly because of the storied history between Hayden Christensen's character and Kenobi. This option also allows for a more powerful story, since seeing two former friends go at it once more would serve as a fitting showcase on the small screen.
The first two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi are set to premiere on Disney+ on May 27.