Obi-Wan Kenobi, which is all set to premiere May 25, includes plenty of familiar faces but one Star Wars fan favorite will be noticeably absent. Darth Maul, a chief antagonist of Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi who first appeared in Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace, is not expected to appear in the series.
According to reports of The Hollywood Reporter, not only was the Sith Lord initially slated to return to the live-action Disney+ series as a key villain, actor Ray Park was in active prep to reprise Maul. Though it was before those scenes were scrapped amid a creative overhaul that ultimately saw other antagonists, including Darth Vader, added to the show. Mauled: Ray Park, who originated the character with ‘The Phantom Menace,’ was expected to reprise as the character but was then written out.
Hossein Amini, the original writer, worked with director Deborah Chow on the six-episode series. while it was reported that preproduction paused in early 2020, the reasoning behind the pause, according to reports was that Chow showed the scripts to Star Wars stewards Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau, (who were coming off the success of The Mandalorian, freshly launched in November 2019) were concerned about Obi-Wan covering similar ground as Mandalorian — the Lone Wolf and Cub-like story of Kenobi coming out of hiding to protect a child-aged Luke Skywalker.
Maul was one of the villains who would participate in the hunt for the pair; Vader was nowhere to be found in this faraway galaxy at this stage, according to those with knowledge of the project. Also, Filoni and Favreau pushed Chow and the show to “go bigger.” In any case, those concerns made their way to Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy, who pressed the pause button. (Joby Harold was eventually hired as the show’s new writer.) A boy was chosen to play young Skywalker, but no scenes with him were shot. As far as Park’s Maul goes, the picture is cloudier.
According to the Hollywood reporter, Lucasfilm cleared that Maul was never intended to return for the series, nor did Park come to set. The overhaul also led to a new search for a young Skywalker, and a new actor was picked. THR has learned the new Luke is Grant Feely, whose only credit, according to IMDb, is an episode of Creepshow.
Maul stands as one of the more popular villains in Star Wars lore, appearing in animated series including Clone Wars and Rebels, which depicted the final battle between Maul and Kenobi. Maul (and Park) returned to live-action for a cameo in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) that suggested there was more for the actor to do in the galaxy far, far away. Solo bombed, scuttling those plans, but soon fans speculated he could appear in Obi-Wan, given that Maul was responsible for the death of Obi-Wan’s master, Liam Neeson’s Qui-Gon Jinn.
The first trailer for Obi-Wan Kenobi launched March 9 and gave viewers a look at McGregor return as Obi-Wan Kenobi, as well as glimpses of a young Luke Skywalker and Uncle Lars, played by Joel Edgerton.
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