Published April 11, 2017

Darth Maul: Going to Extremes

Cullen Bunn calculates the conflict headed the Sith Lord’s way!

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Only a Sith deals in absolutes. There’s no gray areas for them and it shows in writer Cullen Bunn’s DARTH MAUL limited series where the famous horned Sith Lord hunts down a Jedi Padawan against his master’s wishes.

To find out the why, we decided to delve further into the Dark Side—and Star Wars lore—with Cullen before issue #3 drops on April 26. We’re about halfway through Maul’s five-issue run. What can you tell us about the things we’ve learned about this character and the Sith so far that fans haven’t seen before?

Cullen Bunn: As for Maul, we’ve learned how unsatisfied he is with his master’s plans. We’ve learned that he’s not one to sit around waiting and that he’s been roaming the galaxy testing himself. We’ve learned that he has connections to some notorious bounty hunters. And we’ve seen a bit about the cruel training he’s endured. With the Sith, we’ve delved a bit into their past—something I’m not sure readers really expected—and saw some of their downfall. We’ve explored a bit about how the Sith see their differences from the Jedi. We’ve also seen how Maul sees the Sith as compared to the Jedi. How does this story differ tonally and thematically from the other comic-based Star Wars stories that have explored the past exploits of other iconic characters like Obi-Wan and Han Solo?

Cullen Bunn: This is a darker story than some of the others you’ve seen. Maul is cruel and cunning and devious, and he is walking a dark path. I wanted to embrace that for this series. We also get into Maul’s head in a very big way since we’re seeing how he justifies his actions in his inner monologue. He’s currently in Liam Neeson mode, trying to find a Jedi padawan who’s been kidnapped and is now up for auction. What does he want with a Jedi-in-training and how will it satiate his hunger for revenge?

Cullen Bunn: Maul is itching to test his skills against the Jedi. He’s been trained to hate them, to want them dead; but he is forbidden to strike against them. He wants to secretly rescue the Padawan Eldra Kaitis for one reason: so he can kill her. How does his plan overlap with the complex machinations of his master, Darth Sidious?

Cullen Bunn: His plans fly in the face of Darth Sidious. Sidious works slowly, weaving an intricate web of deception. Any Jedi entanglements could jeopardize everything he is working toward. If Sidious finds out about Maul’s betrayal, the punishment will be severe.

Darth Maul #3 cover by Rafael Albuquerque This is a character who is filled with hate and a penchant for taking action against his master’s wishes. In other words, he’s not the most pleasant fella in the galaxy, but since he is the protagonist of this series, how did you make him come across as the hero or at the very least, someone readers could sympathize with?

Cullen Bunn: I don’t think he comes across as a hero in any way. He is, after all, embarking on a quest to murder a Jedi. But I try to dig into his head and help the reader understand what he is thinking and where he is coming from. I show the reader some of the trauma he’s endured to get to this point. And I throw in a healthy dose of other villains who are worse than Maul, so we get a little bit of a black hat vs. black hat feel. As this series serves as a prequel to “Phantom Menace,” what was your approach to keeping readers surprised even though they know where Maul’s story eventually ends up in “Episode I”?

Cullen Bunn: My hope is that this series shines some light into some unexpected corners of the Star Wars mythos. Yes, we know what becomes of Maul in the future, but we don’t know how this adventure might have helped shaped what’s ahead. We also don’t know what becomes of some of the new characters you’re meeting in this book, and I think readers will come to care about some of them quite a bit. I also hope some of the connections to other corners of Star Wars lore will surprise readers. There’s lots of connective tissue to the movies, TV shows, and comics here if you pay close attention. Are there any other characters or stories in this universe that you’re itching to tackle?

Cullen Bunn: Oh, of course! I dearly hope this isn’t my last foray into the Star Wars universe. You’re talking to a guy who, as a kid, had Star Wars wallpaper and bedsheets, who had models of the ships hanging on fishing line from his ceiling, who sent away proofs of purchase to make sure he got Boba Fett and Bossk action figures. I love these characters and these stories. I could name a handful of characters I’d love to write about. Most of them would probably be bounty hunters—because I have a penchant for dastardly types—but I love Star Wars as a whole. Anything you can tease about DARTH MAUL #3 before it comes out in a few weeks as well as the rest of Maul’s solo story?

Cullen Bunn: In issue #3, Maul and Eldra Kaitis come face-to-face, and I think readers are going to get a real kick out of this new character. His planned abduction of the Padawan, though, will not go as planned. It might even mean that the two must work together in order for even one of them to survive.

Cullen Bunn and Luke Ross continue their Sith saga with DARTH MAUL #3 on April 26!