One of the more controversial decisions George Lucas and Dave Filoni made during their original run on Star Wars: The Clone Wars was to resurrect Darth Maul. The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural. One of those paths, apparently, is being so full of rage and hate that you can survive being bisected by a lightsaber and falling down a pit. However, the return of Maul ended up being one of the greatest decisions, because it allowed for an under-utilized character to shine once again. In fact, the showdown between Obi-Wan and Maul in Star Wars Rebels is easily one of the best lightsaber fights in the whole canon. Yet, his final fight in The Clone Wars is also in the running, if only because actor Ray Park performed Maul via mo-cap for the first time in the series’ history.
In a new video, which you can see below, released by Star Wars, Filoni says that this fight was the first time they’ve used motion capture technology for the show. Just like with Solo: A Star Wars Story, the two most iconic Maul actors – Ray Park and Sam Witwer – join together to bring the character to life. Witwer continues to voice the character, but this time his performance is matched with Ray Park’s mo-cap performance. The result is a Maul that feels authentic, looks fantastic, and brings an element of realism into one of the biggest and most fantastical fights in the series.
As Ray Park says in the video about his final fight mo-cap performance for Maul:
“It’s amazing to play Darth Maul again. We’ve just been hitting it hard, you know? Coming up with new stuff. It’s been really nice to try to do as much as we can. Butterfly twists and flips and corkscrews. It will be fun.”
Of course, Park can’t do it alone. The video also highlights stunt performer Lauren Mary Kim. While Rosario Dawson might be playing Ahsoka in The Mandalorian, Kim is (technically) the first actor to play her in “live-action.” Dressed in a mo-cap suit, she matches Park’s efforts in making this one of the biggest and most epic fights on The Clone Wars.
With two episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars left, we know that only tragedy lay ahead. A teaser clip, posted below, shows Ahsoka and Rex talking about the end of the war. This means that, in the timeline of events, Obi-Wan has likely destroyed Grievous already. This means that Anakin’s fall and Order 66 is imminent. So, this behind-the-scenes video showing Ray Park’s return to Maul is a feel-good palliative in advance of two heartbreaking episodes sure to come.
What do you think? Are you excited that Ray Park performed Maul in mo-cap for his final fight in The Clone Wars? Share your thoughts and reactions in the comments below.
Featured image via Lucasfilm.
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.