Darth Maul’s on-screen non-demise is one of the highlights of the Star Wars prequel trilogy. From the iconic battle preceding his demise to the death plunge that we later learn was just a plunge, it’s a high-point in an oft-maligned movie. However, a behind-the-scenes photograph of that fall helped put things into perspective and give the fans a little fun in the process.
Who is Maul?
According to Fandom, Maul was once the evil Darth Maul, a Sith Lord who served as the main protagonist throughout The Phantom Menace. With his double-sided lightsaber and willingness to do what many are too good to do, Maul was a silent, evil presence lurking in the days when people did not yet know who the Sith leadership was.
After a thrilling lightsaber battle at the end of the first film, however, both Maul and his reign of terror were cut short after an angry Obi-Wan Kenobe defeated him in a saber battle that ended with Maul falling to his presumed death and being cut in half in the process. However, fans of the extended universe will tell you that this was not his death.
Still conscious, Maul escaped through an air vent during his presumed death fall and lived in silence for several years. Afterward, he re-emerged with anywhere from two to six cybernetic legs and a new purpose in life. While most of his further adventures were summed up in the animated universe, he reappeared in Solo during a final act twist that established him as one of the mysterious villains.
Maul is one of the most memorable villains in Star Wars lore thanks to his mysterious presence and ability to seemingly conquer death to get ahead. However, a behind-the-scenes photo from the first movie has fans laughing at an alternate explanation of Maul’s would-be death plunge.
Maul’s Episode I demise, which SyFy gave a behind-the-scenes look at, is the thrilling culmination of a three-way battle between him, Obi-Wan, and the late Qui-Gon Jin, who perishes in the battle. For all of the film’s faults, all of which Star Wars fans will gladly remind anyone within earshot of, the saber battle is consistently regarded as one of the better in the entire franchise.
Its thrilling conclusion, the plunge, is, in some ways, the antithesis of Luke Skywalker’s legendary fall after losing his hand and finding out that Darth Vader is his father. In this case, Obi fools the Sith Lord and gets the upper hand, watching him tear apart during the fall. However, a behind-the-scenes photo is far less intense.
This one shows Maul falling not through miles of metallic corridors but a hole in the ground with a blue mattress to catch him three feet below. More humorously, Liam Neeson can be seen lying off to the side, playing dead amidst the excitement. It’s a humorous look at the movie magic process that transports us out to outer space. Fans decided to run with it and use it to explain why Maul survived the harrowing three-foot plunge.
‘Star Wars’ Fans have fun
Fans on Reddit put on their irony-drenched tin-foil hats to make the behind-the-scenes image canon. One user, u/ConnArt1st saw it as an opportunity to throw some shade at the Jedi Council, writing, “You mean Maul didn’t actually fall down an endless pit? How many other lies have I been told by the council?!”
U/sidv81 even wrote some dialogue to explain the photograph. “Kenobi: You just assumed the pit was endless Anakin, but of course, it wasn’t. The pit had a bottom. We just never bothered to check for Maul’s body down there. Hope that sloppy laziness on our part won’t come back to haunt us in the future.”
Of course, many fans, like u/Dark Samus64, just had to laugh at Neeson’s lifeless body.
“Liam Neeson’s just laying there. The cameras aren’t even pointing at him,” they wrote. “Was this for ease of returning to his original position, you think? Sure, moviemakers, I’m sure, are good at that but do you think he was just like, ‘Nah, it’s cool. I’ll just wait here. Just try and get these shots done quick.’ “
This photo shows the fun side of Star Wars fandom. Yes, fans are often passionate and opinionated about the latest project, but deep down inside, it is something that they love unabashedly. As such, when photos such as this appear, they have to put aside the fan theories and criticism and poke a little fun at the saga that they love so much.