It's been a while since fans have seen Darth Maul. Though he was sliced in half at the end of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, the character was later resurrected on the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television show with a robotic lower half and a fiery hatred for Darth Sidious, his former master.
But before the character's full story arc could be fully told, Disney acquired the rights to Star Wars and The Clone Wars ended, leaving Maul's new future uncertain.
The cancellation of The Clone Wars paved the way for Disney's Star Wars: Rebel television show, set prior to the events of A New Hope. It's now been revealed that Darth Maul is set to make his grand return in Rebels during the season two finale, this time stepping out of the shadows to "train" a young Ezra Bridger.
EW recently sat down with Rebels executive producer Dave Filoni and Maul voice actor Sam Witwer to talk about the revenge of the sith, and what the double-bladed lightsaber wielding villain will be up to. If hints from Filoni and Witwer are any indication, Darth Maul might be facing off against Lord Vader himself.
Asked why the decision was made to bring back Maul during the era of the Empire, Filoni said it was specifically because of a potential match-up between Vader and Maul.
"I had pointed out several times in story meetings that we have an opportunity — if we wanted to — to actually have Darth Vader fight Darth Maul," Filoni says. "That was something that [co-producer] Simon Kinberg and I were like, ‘Oooh....' Then there was the opponent in the story meetings who would say, ‘Well, that's fan service,' and I'm like, ‘Yeah — exactly.' [Laughs] I don't see the problem with that, but you know we were very careful that we don't just do things because they're cool. We want to do things that are story-driven."
When EW presses on whether fans should expect a duel between the two sith, Filoni responds with the following:
"I have to say that by the end of it, the story was completely different than where we had started. I don't want to necessarily promise something that doesn't happen — the Vader/Maul thing is interesting at a fandom level. [But] the more compelling personal story becomes about Ahsoka and Vader."
So will Vader and Maul face off in a battle more than a few fans have likely dreamed about over the years? That remains uncertain. The Clone Wars and Rebels haven't been afraid to resort to fan service thus far (as proven by the fact that Darth Maul is alive to begin with), but it remains to be seen if showrunners will take that extra step and have two of the most prominent sith in the franchise's history lock lightsabers. Fans will need to tune in for the season two finale on Disney XD March 30 to find out.