Benjamin Percy, writer of issue #1, talks to StarWars.com about the sinister Sith.
Twenty-five years on from his debut in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Darth Maul continues to fascinate fans. Whether it’s his look, his deadly agility, or evolution into underworld mastermind, Maul connects on a number of levels. And of course, there’s that lightsaber, still undeniably awesome.
So it’s little surprise — and welcome news, which StarWars.com is excited to reveal — that Palpatine’s Sith apprentice will be the focus of Marvel’s next gritty Black, White & Red tale. Star Wars: Darth Maul – Black, White & Red will be a four-issue miniseries, each installment written and drawn by a different creative team.
Issue #1, written by Benjamin Percy and illustrated by Stefano Raffaele, arrives April 25, and finds Darth Maul dispatched by Palpatine to investigate a prison ship that goes offline. The vessel, however, is transporting a group known as the Final Occultation, and horrors await. StarWars.com caught up with Percy to discuss all things Maul and this new enemy, and offer a first look at the issue’s covers. “At last we will reveal ourselves to the Jedi?” He’ll have to deal with the Final Occultation first.
StarWars.com: Maul was introduced in The Phantom Menace as something of a silent assassin, but was then developed into quite a complex character. How are you approaching him in Darth Maul – Black, White & Red?
Benjamin Percy: I've been a lifelong, obsessive fan of the Star Wars galaxy — it's such a foundational part of my imagination — and it's a thrill to be able to contribute to it now. My mind is busy with nightmares, so it's especially a treat to step into the mind of Darth Maul, one of the great villains of this galaxy far, far away.
The silent assassin has a busy inner world. He is loyal to Palpatine, but that does not make him a puppet or a tool. He is willing to make his own decisions — ones that could shake the very fabric of the galaxy — as is the case in this chiller and thriller of a story, "The Final Occultation."
StarWars.com: What can you tell us about the Final Occultation? If Palpatine is worried about them, that's saying something.
Benjamin Percy: Palpatine believes in order, control — whereas the Final Occultation believes in chaos. They both channel the dark side, but with different intents. When you meet this cult, you'll know that most could not withstand their violence and dark intents...but Maul might have a chance.
StarWars.com: The Black, White & Red format of atmospheric, violent tales seems like the perfect venue for Maul. How have you enjoyed writing him here?
Benjamin Percy: This is pure joy. And it's such a rush to see Stefano's art as he brings to life Maul and this nightmarish journey. I've always loved blending genres, and horror and science fiction make for great bedfellows. The dark, cold void of space invites awe and terror. We're leaning into that.
StarWars.com: Why do you think Maul continues to be one of Star Wars' most popular villains?
Benjamin Percy: His iconic look is part of it. He's one of the coolest looking characters of all time. From the spiked head to the red skin to the double-bladed saber — he's seared into our minds as the definition of badass. His single-minded drive and vicious capability is another; he's an unstoppable force that Palpatine depends on as a walking weapon of mass destruction.