Star Wars: The Rise of Darth Maul

Darth Sidious’ first apprentice receives his own five-issue limited series in DARTH MAUL, written by Cullen Bunn and illustrated by Luke Ross, debuting in February of 2017.

Set before the fall of the Galactic Republic, the book reveals new insight into Maul, his training, and his servitude to the man who will bring about the rise of the Galactic Empire. We chatted with Bunn for additional intel on what to expect.

Marvel.com: Cullen, what was your reaction when you first saw Maul on-screen in “The Phantom Menace”? At that moment, what was the allure in him for you?

Cullen Bunn: Darth Maul was, as you might imagine, my favorite character in the film. At this point, the only Sith we had seen on the big screen were Vader and the Emperor. But here we have this menacing, devil-like creature with these piercing, evil eyes. And he moved! He wasn’t slow and menacing. He was quick, moving in blurs, and lethal! I loved that we were seeing a new kind of Sith. Though he was only in the movie for a few short scenes, he left his mark. I couldn’t help but wonder what had driven his brash, impatient anger. That’s part of what we’re exploring with this book.

Marvel.com: Who is he as we head into DARTH MAUL? How much of an identity does he possess apart from his obedience to Sidious?

Cullen Bunn: That’s one of the things I’m most excited about with this project. In “The Phantom Menace,” Maul is presented as a rage-filled attack dog. But Maul is a complex character. This story allows us to really dig into the things that make him who he is. His hunger for revenge is caged, yes, but he’s cunning and tricky. He’ll find a way to indulge his desires. My hope is that we’ll see many unexpected sides of Darth Maul in this series.

Marvel.com: How much of a role does Sidious play here and of what kind?

Cullen Bunn: Because of his connection to Maul, Sidious has an important role in this series. He does not appear in every issue of the series, but his presence is felt throughout the story. Sidious has been the guiding hand leading Maul down a particular path for so long, and he is a very strict master. His rules trouble Maul because they seem to contradict themselves. Embrace your anger and impatience. But stay hidden and bide your time. This both drives Maul mad and seemingly pleases Sidious. We’ll really explore their relationship in this book.

Marvel.com: Overall, what’s the atmosphere and mood like in the galaxy at the time of this series? How much of that will we see in the story?

Cullen Bunn: There is a sense of impending danger that permeates the galaxy. The power of the Force is weakening. The Jedi can feel a growing darkness. That sense of foreboding—the sense that the other shoe is about to drop in a catastrophic way—is reflected throughout the galaxy. Much of this story takes place in the shadows. That is, after all, where Maul must operate in order to keep his existence secret. We’re going to be seeing the dark underbelly of the galaxy.

Marvel.com: Has Maul been tasked with the hunt that kicks off the book? Is it important to his growth as a Sith, or to Sidious’ schemes?

Cullen Bunn: While this adventure is important to Maul’s growth as a Sith, he has not been tasked with this hunt. Quite the contrary, in fact. He has been operating under very strict orders from Sidious, and the most important of those orders is to avoid the Jedi. But Maul has been taught to hate the Jedi, to hunger for revenge, and to give in to his emotions. He discovers through his own channels that a Jedi Palawan has been captured by a galactic crime lord. He decides to act on this knowledge without his master’s knowledge. He’s going rogue.

Marvel.com: What is his prey like? Where are they in their own learning of the Force?

Cullen Bunn: Really, Maul is stalking several different individuals in this story. He’s testing himself by hunting some of the most dangerous prey in the galaxy. His primary target, though, is the Jedi Padawan Eldridge Kaitis. She, like Maul, is quite powerful, but she is still learning to use her gifts. Also, like Maul, she finds herself struggling against the rules and codes imposed upon her by her order. She and Maul have more in common than either one would at first believe.

Marvel.com: And what do you love about what Luke Ross will be doing on DARTH MAUL?

Cullen Bunn: Luke is a terrific artist, and I’m a huge fan. I think his gritty sensibilities and skill with action sequences will really wow fans. He gives this series a very distinct feel from the other Star Wars comics.

DARTH MAUL by Cullen Bunn and Luke Ross makes its mark beginning in February of 2017!