There’s widespread agreement among Star Wars fans that the Sith Lord Darth Maul was the best part of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace despite only having about 15 minutes of screen time in the 1999 prequel film.
While the character lived on in some of the expanded-universe stories outside the films, a group of talented fans have now given Darth Maul more of the attention he deserved in a fantastic short film titled Darth Maul: Apprentice. And for anyone who wanted more of Darth Maul, it’s exactly the sort of film you were hoping for.
Written, directed, edited, and produced by Shawn Bu, Darth Maul: Apprentice is set during an unspecified time before the events of The Phantom Menace, and follows the titular villain as he contends with a group of Jedi investigating the planet where he’s training to become a Sith Lord. As one might expect, some wild lightsaber-fights and Force-wielding action ensue.
Instead of actor Ray Parks portraying Darth Maul, Apprentice features Ben Schamma as the iconic Dathomirian Zabrak (Darth Maul’s species, according to Star Wars lore) and the actor plays the part to perfection, capturing both his lethal moves and his memorable visage. The makeup work in particular — for both Darth Maul and a Twi’lek Jedi (the one with tentacles on her skull, that is) — is impressive for a fan-made film.
The whole film clocks in at a nice 15 minutes of story, which is kind of disappointing, but it does at least effectively double the amount of time we’ve seen Darth Maul in a live-action feature. However, anyone looking for more adventures with the Sith Lord can turn to the now-canceled animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which featured Darth Maul quite prominently in post-The Phantom Menace story lines.