Star Wars Best Villains Once Fought To The Death

By Zack Zagranis | Published

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If you’ve read my other articles, then you know I still carry a torch for the Star Wars Expanded Universe though not all of the EU was gold. There was a lot of crap that could give the worst of Disney Star Wars a run for its money. But when it was good, it was really good–take, for instance, the What If? style duel between Darth Maul and Darth Vader in Star Wars Tales #9.

Star Wars Tales

Star Wars Tales was a sometimes canon/sometimes non-canon anthology comic published by Dark Horse Comics. The stories ranged from a single page in which Mace Windu and Yoda recreate the diner scene from Pulp Fiction to longer stories like the one I mentioned above. “Resurrection” is a 48-page story from 2001 based on a single idea: Who would win in a fight between Maul and Vader?

Maul Vs. Vader

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The matchup was one that I and other fans had been fantasizing about since we saw The Phantom Menace two years prior. Remember, books and comics aside, Darth Maul was only the second Sith Lord we’d ever witnessed onscreen. He may have only had about 10 minutes of screen time before Obi-Wan sliced him in two, but those 10 minutes were like nothing we had ever seen in a Star Wars movie.

Vader was clunky and slow when he fought, relying on raw power instead of technique. Darth Maul, on the other hand, was a whirling dervish leaping around and twirling his double lightsaber like a majorette after 10 cups of coffee. And his look–people can make fun of the prequels all they want but no one can ever convince me that the devil-like Maul wasn’t an S-tier character design.

It Seemed Impossible

Since Vader and Maul were the only two dark siders I’d seen up to that point—not counting pruney old Palpatine, who I didn’t even know had a lightsaber yet—of course, I wanted to know what would happen if they fought. There was one teensy, weensy problem: Maul died over 10 years before Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. Sure, Star Wars: The Clone Wars would see Darth Maul brought back and given cybernetic legs—a concept actually first introduced in a different EU comic, Star Wars: Visionaries, in 2005—but that was still over a decade away.

I assumed I was SOL—Sith out of Luck—when it came to seeing the two biggest bad boys in Star Wars engaging in mortal combat. Thankfully, the folks at Dark Horse had my back.

Prophet Motive

“Ressurection” takes place shortly before the events of A New Hope. Darth Vader’s search for the stolen Death Star plans has taken him to a volcanic moon called Kalakar Six. Upon arrival on the moon, a hooded assassin wielding a red lightsaber starts dispatching the stormtroopers sent to escort Lord Vader. Vader soon discovers the hooded stranger is actually Darth Maul—his master’s first apprentice.

It turns out a Sith cult calling itself the Prophets of the Dark Side has resurrected Darth Maul using Sith magic. The Prophets of the Dark Side then lured Darth Vader to Kalakar Six so that the two Sith Lords could have a duel to death.

The way the Prophets see it, Darth Vader isn’t worthy of being Palpatine’s apprentice because he used to be a Jedi. They see Maul’s dedication to the Dark Side of the Force as purer and more absolute.

The Duel

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In one of the more brutal lightsaber duels, Maul and Vader go at it full force, holding nothing back. In the end, Darth Maul cracked Vader’s helmet and was about to deliver a killing blow when Vader pulled one of the sickest moves in the history of Star Wars. Summoning up all of his anger and hatred, Vader took Maul’s saber and plunged it through his own chest, killing Maul in the process.

Right before he dies, Maul asks Vader what he could possibly hate enough to give him the strength to destroy the other Sith Lord. Vader then coldly replies, “Myself.”

A Great Story

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That was all I needed to see. After reading that comic, I never again questioned what would happen if any other force-wielder went up against Darth Vader because I knew the answer: death. Yeah, I know Luke and Obi-Wan are exceptions, but anyone not connected to Anakin Skywalker will always go down if they challenge the Big V. Anger is a powerful motivator, but no force in the universe is more powerful than self-hatred.

Or at least that’s what my therapist tells me.

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