Darth Maul has become the central protagonist of The Clone Wars TV series. The show didn’t transform him from the violent animal that we saw in Episode I, but added to his existing personality. He thinks, plans, waits. He is as intelligent as he is brutal, a strategist with Palpatine’s patience. The Clone Wars has expanded Maul, using Sam Witwer’s brilliant performance as a catalyst for the Sith’s character development. Maul hasn’t been given this big of a spotlight since 1999, and he’s never been more interesting than now.
All of this leads up to an announcement from Del Rey that makes perfect sense – a new Darth Maul novel.
One of the most exciting aspects of this novel is that its tied in to the wildly successful Darth Plagueis. As the blurb says:
Darth Plagueis and Darth Sidious dispatch Sith apprentice Darth Maul on a secret mission to infiltrate a criminal empire operating from inside Cog Hive Seven-a hidden prison teeming with the galaxy’s most savage criminals.
Looping it in with Plagueis is always a good idea. The prison infiltration is intriguing, to me. Maul is mixing it up with some of the galaxies most notorious criminals, something that he’ll become years later. Is this fan service, or a genre novel, Chris Carey?
And where others may worry, I have no fears about the announced author. It’s ironic, because my only fault with Joe Schreiber is that he didn’t make me fear anything with Death Troopers. That book was billed as a horror novel and it was just a gore novel. Nothing remotely scary, and really not very suspenseful. It was a fun story, but it didn’t live up to the “I-can’t-read-this-at-night” hype. But that’s not what this Maul: Lockdown story is being presented as. If anything, it looks like this is more up Schreiber’s alley than his previous Star Wars books. “Gladiatorial death matches” sound like Joe’s idea of a good time – this is something he can excel at.
Honestly, if it weren’t for Sam Witwer providing a masterpiece with every performance, I’d be a little overwhelmed by so much Maul material. But as Club Jade points out, this is the first Darth Maul novel since 2001. He hasn’t been a focus in the EU for a while. Let’s see what Schreiber and Del Rey can do with him in 2014 (i09 says 2013, but Frank Parisi insists it will be early next year).
And if you only knew what he’s going to do on the TV show in the next few weeks.