GENESIS: Bk1 of The Kingdom Come Series Reviews

GENESIS: Book One of The Kingdom Come Series (All Reviews)

 Ok, Now they're all in one place: Amazon, B&N and Goodreads :) Amazon Customer September 29, 2016 5/5 A great read wit...

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Be Honest—Darth Maul: Love to Hate and Hate to Love.

Who didn't want to see Star Wars Phantom Menace simply cause of Maul? That's right, everyone. HE was the guy! THE MAN! You wanted him to kick ass and take names and leave a swath of dead Jedi in his path. He was so cool. So bad ass. His tattoos. His horns. All in black. COME ON! You loved it. You loved him. He was the most popular character in the new movie(s). The most popular toy. The most popular costume. Everything his image was put on was GOLD.

Then the day came and you saw it. Sure he didn't talk alot. Sure he really wasn't the main bad guy—Darth Sidious/Palpataine kinda made him into more of a henchmen, assassin instead of being the #1 Sith in-charge, but ya know what, you didn't care. Why? HE was awesome! A Duel Light Saber! HE had a huge two-on-one duel with Obi Wan Kenobi and Qui Gon Jinn, who he finally killed after having earlier fought him in the movie. That was the "Lets Get to Know Each Other" round. :)

Then it happened. :(
You were hoping somehow he'd live, make it into the next movie. Hell, maybe he'd be around for all three. You could even see the plot unfolding...but no, he died. But you were ok with it because of how he died. How final it was. G.L even said so:

George Lucas: I didn't really have anything for Maul to do after The Phantom Menace. I needed a Jedi vs. Sith showdown at the end of The Phantom Menace and I wanted the battle to have significant consequences, which is why Qui-Gon Jinn dies and Darth Maul is cut in half. Darth Sidious needed Count Dooku to lead the Separatist droid military. Dooku was a military genius while Maul was not.

BOOM! There you have it.
Maul's dead and though you wished he'd lived, you're were ok with it. 

Fast Forward nearly a DECADE.
A D!E!C!A!D!E without word or approved rumor or w/e in any form of media besides things that didn't effect the overall plot of the story or were otherwise considered non-canon. Remember, you can't write-in/effect/change the "Expanded Universe" without Lucas' OK. Issue #17: The "thing" Luke destroys, isn't Maul, but a solid hologram (whatever that b.s is) Issue #19, a young Darth Vader fights/kills Maul, which is a clone recreated by a cult—both "maul's" don't alter/f-up the main plot, which up-until now, was that Maul DIED. It's why the story in Dark Horse with the robot legs wasn't considered canon; that idea really changed things.

So it's Late 2011/Early 2012:

“I found it funny in The Phantom Menace when Darth Maul got cut in half,” Clone Wars supervising director Dave Filoni says. “I thought George was definitively saying to the fans, ‘There’s no way this character is coming back. This is not a Boba Fett/Sarlacc Pit situation where, because of fan love, Boba gets out of that thing any number of ways.’ Fast-forward ten-years, and I’m the one to bring Maul back.”

WTF????
This most certainly was another Boba moment.
1) They booth were the coolest looking characters.
2) They died too quick, Boba Fett dying like a newbie and Maul coming back to later die like a punk.

So, what Filoni had to overcome:
A) Fans cursing “No way!” 
B) Then, “First of all, how does he survive getting cut in half?” says Filoni.“Plus, he fell!" And not only that, he was abandoned...

Oh, but she had some good'ol Star Wars B.S to work her magic with:
The Dark Side of the Force is the pathway to many abilities some consider to be…unnatural,” Darth Sidious says in Revenge of the Sith. 
Vader did it, so"...Couldn’t Maul have picked up on some of that too? Said Filoni, “He’s suffered through a lot to keep himself alive and implemented the training of his master to do so.”

This is the magic way to fix any horrible mistake in the Star Wars Universe.
Like an Etch-a-Sketch "POOF" it never happened.  

Filoni acknowledged the order came from George Lucas himself, who became more interested in his Phantom Menace creation while developing Savage Opress for the last season of The Clone Wars. Awesome as Maul was in the movie, he barely got to do anything before the old chop-chop. When asked if Maul’s return is motivated by the feeling that he was underutilized in The Phantom Menace, Filoni said, “I think in part.”

How do you make such a horrible choice? Then repeat with this deus ex machina move?
So what was the other part of that equation? I'll tell you: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

You can look all this up online in the same places where I found many of these quotes or interviews, sites sadly I'm too lazy to source out, sorry: How popular was/is Maul vs every other character in the Star Wars Universe; How popular/profitable was/is everything with his face on it; How all the non-canon comics and books sold simply because they gave just barely more information into a character that really had almost no background at the time of his first death? Which opened up another huge can of WTF: if you do your research into Maul's photocopy of a backstory, there are tons of webpages filled with fans fighting over the specifics, all the changes, which is canon, which isn't, why and how and every other question. 

If you got over the plausibility—Yes I know it's Fantasy/Scifi, but as writers/readers we're only willing to accept certain things as they pertain to that universe, meaning, if Jedi just suddenly start FLYING like Superman, fans might take issue—what’s left could be fun. So hoped Filoni and Lucas.

I'll admit too, it looked good. All the Light Saber fights that season were awesome, but like a movie with tons of CG, if the story doesn't pan out...what did you really end up with?

"To go through all the trouble and believability [a labyrinth which only the blind might escape, or so I've heard] to bring this character back, it would be a shame if it was once again a short-lived thing," Filoni sayid. "A lot of effort went into the resurrection of Darth Maul, and I'm going to make it worthwhile for the fans, that's for sure."

OK, so have you seen the show since Maul came back and hooked up with his previously non-existent Bro? Let me recap and you should note the timely reductions in power/skill at key moments so the story goes on and on and on:
1) Savage fought both Anakin and Obi and held his own pretty well; a little too well given future events.
2) Dooku is drugged, ambushed by Ventress and 2 Night Sisters and beats them all, some overlooked coup de grâce time.
3) Savage fought with Ventress against Dooku then later it was a three-way-dance and held his own pretty well; again, a little too well given future events.
4) Maul returns as a wacked-out spider? Yep.
5) Maul gets legs, though not "human-like" and beats Savage to become Top Dog.
6) Obi gets jumped by both Maul and Savage and gets handed his hat but isn't killed despite plenty of time for a coup de grâce. He's eventually allied with Ventress (left alone long enough to recover Obi) and they fight off both Maul and Savage though Obi's actual lines in the episode were "We're out matched."
7) Obi eventually faced off against both Maul and Savage again and though this time alone, he fights them off, wounding Savage in the process.
8) Maul (finally with "human" legs) and Savage are finally confronted by the Emperor. Who, I'll note, rarely Force Chokes anyone if he's not breaking their neck, suffocating them or repeatedly smashing them into nothing, unlike all the other baddies who could simply kill Jedi that way, but instead throw them around for effect. Anyway, it doesn't take long before Savage is killed and Maul reduced to a sniveling punk. "Have mercy" he says, then cries, "PLEASE!" What a punk.

Of course, the Emperor didn't kill him.
Why would he? There's no profit for Lucas or Cartoon Network/Disney otherwise.
So what happened? Pass to Marvel (owned by Disney)

In the aftermath of the events of The Lawless Darth Maul has been captured by Darth Sidious, his former master, and imprisoned in the Spire, a Sepratists prison on Stygeon Prime. Sidious is followed by Gar Saxon and Rook Kast, two of Maul's Death Watch followers, on orders for Mandalorian Prime Minister Almec to free Maul from imprisonment. Once freed, Maul and the warriors are to rendezvous with Death Watch forces on Zanbar.
Sidious speaks to Maul in the Spire and reveals that he still has use for his former apprentice, before the two are interrupted by Count Dooku. The arrival of Sidious' new apprentice angers Maul, who views Dooku as a Sith pretender and unworthy of the title of Sith Lord. Sidious and Dooku leave to confer with one another, as Sidious explains that he imprisoned Maul to draw out Mother Talzin, leader of the Nightsisters, so she can be destroyed as a potential threat to the eventual Sith rule of the galaxy. Sidious also reveals that he has a history with Talzin, from whom he received Maul when Maul was a child. Sidious orders Dooku to find out more information about Maul's Shadow Collective, as Maul will end up believing that the Sith want to destroy his arm, and seek out Mother Talzin for help.
After Dooku briefly interrogates Maul, Kast and Saxon mount their rescue. The two Mandalorians reach their captive leader and free him from his restraints, before blasting out a wall of the interrogation cell. Maul and the Mandalorians make their way down the mountain, via zipline, that the Spire sits upon and escape aboard a Gauntlet fighter. Separatist forces, led by General Grievous, pursue the ship, while Dooku makes it clear that Maul is not to be killed, only weakened. That way, he can seek out Mother Talzin for help. With Separatist forces in pursuit, Maul and the Mandalorians reach Zanbar. Once again in command of his army, Maul reclaims his Darksaber, the weapon that belonged to the previous Death Watch leader, Pre Vizsla, and tells the Mandalorians that war is at hand.
The Separatists arrive on the moon and launch all of their forces against Maul. Death Watch is overwhelmed by the droid soldiers, while Maul faces Grievous in single-combat. Maul's army is left badly damaged, but Maul orders his fighters to bomb the area, taking out many Separatist forces as well. Maul escapes in the chaos and orders his surviving forces to retreat. After the battle ends, Grievous informs Dooku of what happened, leaving Dooku satisfied that Maul will seek to find Mother Talzin.

In retreat from Zanbar, Maul contacts Mother Talzin for guidance, just as Sidious and Dooku intended. Talzin uses Nightsister magick to speak to Maul from afar, and anticipates that the Sith want to lure her into a trap. Refusing to play along, Talzin sends Maul to Ord Mantell without her, where he is to regroup with his Black Sun allies and prepare for another battle with the Separatists—one where Maul can capture Count Dooku and General Grievous. Once on Ord Mantell, Maul confers with his allies and informs them of the impending battle. Meanwhile, Dooku and Grievous prepare their own strategy en route to the planet.
Maul and his allies plan to lure the Separatists into a specific point in Ord Mantell City, where the Mandalorians, Black Sun, and Pyke Syndicate will engage in an attack against the invading droid army. A team of Nightbrothers, led by Brother Viscus, arrives on orders from Mother Talzin to reinforce Maul's army. As Maul greets the Nightbrothers, the Separatists begin their attack, using their fleet to bombard Ord Mantell City. The Shadow Collective begins carrying out their defense, while the Separatists deploy their droid forces on the surface. Once there, they are met in battle by the limited but powerful number of Shadow Collective troops—Mandalorian, Pyke, and Black Sun alike. Meanwhile, Count Dooku arrives with a number of droid guards, while Maul leaves the surface and makes his way to the Separatist fleet. He and his ships attack the Separatist command vessel, while Grievous realizes the Separatists have been lured into a trap. On the surface, Dooku is confronted by the Nightbrothers, and a duel ensues between the Sith Lord and the Dathomirian warriors.
The droid army advances on the Shadow Collective and takes Maul's forces into custody, while the renegade Sith Lord himself continues his space assault. He and Mandalorian warriors board the Separatist command ship and take General Grievous into custody, and they force the Kaleesh cyborg to disable all battle droids on the surface. The disabling of the droids allows the Shadow Collective forces to regroup and capture Count Dooku. Maul contacts Mother Talzin to tell her what has happened, and she promises that, with Dooku and Grievous in custody, Sidious will soon be captured and they will fulfill their quest for vengeance against the Dark Lord

A team of Jedi arrives on Ord Mantell to investigate the aftermath of the battle, and recognizes the connection between Darth Maul and the Mandalorians once they recover a Death Watch helmet. Jedi Master Mace Windu contacts Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, who is secretly Darth Sidious, to inform him that Maul was behind the battle. Windu hopes to use this information to capture Maul and Dooku, and to use their captures to end the Clone Wars. Windu then speaks to fellow Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi, Tiplee, and Aayla Secura, and together they surmise that Maul may have headed to a Mandalorian asteroid outpost. Fearing that Mandalore could fall to the Separatists, Kenobi volunteers himself, along with Tiplee, to investigate the outpost.
Meanwhile, on the Mandalorian outpost, Maul contacts Darth Sidious and informs the Dark Lord that Dooku and Grievous have been captured. Sidious tells Maul to kill them, for he has no use for what he sees as failures. Maul instead orders Grievous to be taken into custody. As he does so, the Jedi begin their approach towards the outpost, and Tiplee fears that Kenobi will be unable to keep his emotions under control; Maul killed Satine Kryze, the Duchess of Mandalore and a close personal friend of Kenobi's. Kenobi assures his fellow Jedi that he will not fail. As the Republic approaches, Maul offers Dooku a choice: become an ally or die. Mother Talzin appears in a cloud of magic smoke and reveals that she too was once betrayed by Darth Sidious—and that Darth Maul is her son. As Talzin explains, Sidious is even now working to find a new apprentice.
The Republic assault on the outpost begins, and the Republic ships make their way through Gauntlet fighter fire towards the base. Grievous uses the chaos to make it to an escape pod, while Dooku agrees to join Maul and fight against Kenobi's boarding party. The Jedi arrive on the outpost, where Kenobi and Tiplee are confronted by Maul and Dooku. They engage in a lightsaber duel, which is joined by Windu and Secura. Dooku kills Tiplee, while the Mandalorians shoot a small missile towards the Jedi, incapacitating them. This gives Maul and Dooku time to escape. In the aftermath of the battle, Windu contacts Palpatine and informs him of what happened. The Jedi Master also speculates that the battle proves Dooku is the Sith Master, an incorrect assessment that Palpatine, the true Dark Lord, allows the Jedi to believe.
In the aftermath of the Galactic Republic and Jedi assault against the Shadow Collective on the Mandalorian asteroid outpost, Darth Maul races towards Dathomir with his Death Watch allies—as well as Count Dooku, who had claimed to join Maul's vendetta against Darth Sidious. While en route to Dathomir, Maul is contacted by Ziton Moj of Black Sun and a member of the Pyke Syndicate. Having lost the moon of Zanbar and the planet Ord Mantell—as well as the supply outpost—in their fights against the Sith, the two allies have become worried that Maul's plan is failing and that the fight has become the former Sith Lord's personal vendetta against his old master. Maul assures them that they will be paid, and that, once Darth Sidious is dead, the galaxy will belong to the Shadow Collective. Maul then orders Gar Saxon, a Mandalorian, to keep the Pykes and Black Sun in line. Meanwhile, Maul tells Dooku that he knows the Sith Lord is not truly an ally, and that Dooku has been told by Sidious to play Maul's game. Maul then has Dooku taken into custody by Rook Kast.
Once on Dathomir, Maul speaks to Brother Viscus, who survived his encounter with Count Dooku during the battle on Ord Mantell, and Viscus tells Maul that the preparations had been made for the next phase of their plan. The Nightbrothers take Dooku before Mother Talzin, who appears in a cloud of smoke and begins to unleash a magick attack against the Sith Lord.
Meanwhile, a Sith Infiltrator arrives in orbit, carrying both General Grievous and Darth Sidious, after tracking Dooku's location to Dathomir. Sidious orders Grievous to jam the Dathomirian communications and cloak the ship, allowing them to arrive on Dathomir undetected. Maul and the Nightbrothers do not see the ship coming and continue with their plan, as Talzin uses her magic to draw the life force from Dooku so she can use it to physically manifest herself again. As Maul explains, Talzin's physical return requires a great sacrifice, and they had chosen Dooku to make that sacrifice.
As the process continues, an explosion rips through the area, and Grievous and Sidious appear before Maul to confront him. Sidious reminds his former apprentice that there is only one plan that matters: the plan of Darth Sidious to rule the galaxy. As they speak, Moj and Pykes contacts Kast, informing her that the Separatist armies have begun attacking them. The Shadow Collective allies demand to know where Maul is, but Kast says that his not their concern and that they are to fight the Separatists.
On Dathomir, Mother Talzin takes control of Dooku's body, and she and Maul engage in combat against Sidious and Grievous. Talzin fights the Dark Lord of the Sith while Maul attacks Grievous. Sidious quickly gains the upper-hand against Talzin, demanding that she release his apprentice. Sidious bombards Dooku's body with Force lightning before Talzin releases Dooku and appears in physical form once again. Kast, meanwhile, continues speaking with Black Sun and the Pykes, who inform her that they are pulling out of the Shadow Collective, leaving Maul on his own as a Separatist fleet emerges from hyperspace over Dathomir.
Maul continues his fight against Grievous, pushing him out of and away from the battle. Sidious once again unleashes lightning against Talzin, while Talzin herself sends a torrent of magical energy towards the Dark Lord. Maul pleads with Talzin to take his strength, but, as Dooku enters the fight with his own lightning attacks, Talzin tells her son to retreat without her, even if it means her own doom. Talzin uses her magic to telekinetically throw Maul from the fray, and he is pulled away by Kast and another Mandalorian warrior—but watches as Grievous returns and uses two lightsabers to fatally stab Talzin through the chest.
With his Shadow Collective in tatters, Maul and Death Watch flee from Dathomir. Sidious, Dooku, and Grievous overlook Talzin's body, while Dooku regretfully says that Maul has once again escaped. Sidious is not concerned, however, as everything transpired as he had intended. Maul's future as a Sith rival has been destroyed, while the Sith have taken another step in securing their own future.

Then in Star Wars Rebels he reappears:

And finally...

Which WAS TOTALLY LAME!!!!!!!!!!

And no defense of it makes any sense: Old People are Bad Asses

But here's the gist—

IGN: Why do you think their fight is so brief? Is it that Obi-Wan is just at that point so much stronger than Maul, that Maul has lost his edge, or is it that Maul doesn’t truly want to win? Or is it a weird combo of all that?

Witwer (Maul Voice Actor): There are so many different ways of looking at that. Everything you said is valid. It could all be absolutely true. One thing I think is interesting is the Jedi in the prequels are supposed to be peacekeepers, and certainly had a very artful way of making war. They had an artful way of defending themselves and inciting violence, really. You find that the Jedi who survived all of that had a much more simpler way of going about things. Obi-Wan, for example, in the bar when Ponda Baba and Dr. Evazan pick a fight with Luke, Obi-Wan closes down that fight as fast as it begins. He doesn’t do anything flashy. He just dispatches the problem as fast as he possibly can. I think that’s what you see here. If this fight had happened maybe twenty years earlier, you would have seen a dashing display of lightsaber wickedness. I think there is something else going on in the classic trilogy, which is where we are now finding ourselves. Obi-Wan is no longer interested in expending any more energy than is absolutely necessary. If he can end a fight quickly, he’s going to end it quickly. The line between intention and results is finally a straight line. It wasn’t quite a straight line and he had powers and you have to imagine by indulging in those powers and becoming better and better at those things, administrating a war, by participating in those things they are giving in to a measure of the dark side of the Force. However, a Jedi who only fights in self defense and draws his lightsaber only to defend the innocent or to strike down his foe as quickly and painlessly as possible, that’s what the lightsaber is for. That’s what a Jedi is supposed to be. That’s how it’s supposed to go down. It’s not supposed to be pretty or flashy. It’s simply a necessary move. And that’s it. Only the most necessary moves survive into the original trilogy. 

This presumes all the Jedi and Sith in the prequels were just...showboating? Seriously? 
They weren't also/equally trying to win every encounter as quickly as possible? Really? 
Ok, by this logic, why didn't Count Dooku kill Obi and Anakin in their first fight, or their second? Why didn't he kill Ventress or Maul's brother when they fought, hell, why didn't he also kill Maul? Why did it take the Emperor so long to fight off Mace? Or, why did it take the Emperor so long to kill Maul's brother and then best Maul? But wait, why didn't Qui Gon easily handle Maul way back when? Wait, so why didn't Vader and Obi's fight in "New Hope" end just as quickly as Maul and Obi's did in "Rebels" ? Or, why didn't Vader just kill Luke, why did he take so long in just removing his hand? Finally, how did Vader finally lose to Luke, given how Elder Jedi/Sith just, ya know, cut to the chase vs their younger/prequel counterparts, who tend to rely on flash and gimmicks?
 
This is stupid.
No, the truth is: In the Orig three, the action wasn't that good for a dozen of reasons—technology, choreography, actor ability to actually sword-fight and so on. 
So, in the prequels, through to the cartoons and even the games, the designers and story-tellers wanted to make the Jedi and Sith as they should've always been—Crazy Awesome Space Samurai with super powers. And that's what we got.

That's the difference. 

Also, the producer agrees: They simply wanted to just tie that knot off—
“If there’s a character like Maul running around during one of the old films, he’s such a big-time player you think there would have been an echo of that somewhere,” Filoni said. “So it was just the right time to tell the story and bring that thread to an end.”

She adds: “It was a much-discussed thing on how that was gonna go down,” Filoni said. “The instinct would be, and probably, I admit, the expectation, is for some kind of prolonged lightsaber battle. But I’ve done a lot of prolonged lightsaber battles over the years and I think what’s most important about any kind of confrontation is what’s riding on it. What’s the tension going into it? It starts to matter less and less how you swing a sword or how creatively you do it if there’s not a lot riding on it.”

This is both an answer: "We were tired of this story-line," and a copout—implying any previous fight that was "showy" likely didn't define as strictly how much was riding on the actual fight.....seriously, WTF?

Anyway, I'll admit, the END END where Maul is cradled by Obi is good.
How they got there though......

So the whole thing is this:
When Lucas killed off Maul, everyone knew it was a horrible idea for a ton of reasons, but you have to stick to your choices as a writer. Oh well. Time passed. Maul's popularity continued. SO screw keeping to your plot, time to CASH IN—Lucas Arts spit-up Maul's brother and back-story as a way to correct things. That wasn't good enough. So he went full "AHAHA, bet you didn't see this shit coming did you: MAUL'S ALIVE!" and everyone was like WTF? Of course we didn't see it coming. And after a long extended stay, after showing all sorts of power and strength...he's taken out, once again...by the same guy who killed him so many many many years ago. :( It's no poetic, it's tired, considering the Dark Horse Comic this encounter is based off, which started the whole push to bring back Maul, was WAY BETTER than this 3second showdown. :(

In closing, Maul was once awesome. Then, following a horrible choice, he was later brought back for $. Then reduced to a Joke disguised as Eastern/Samurai poetry...
How far the Sith have fallen.

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