Animated Shows

Ahsoka and Maul Are Two Sides of the Same Coin, According to Sam Witwer

The ForceCast’s Ryan Donoho recently spoke with Sam Witwer about his new album, Revenge of the Crashtones, and Maul’s return in Solo: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

It’s a sit-back-and-relax, down-to-earth kind of conversation that surprisingly reveals how Ahsoka and Maul share a handful of similarities — something I hadn’t really taken into consideration. Before the chat heads into that direction, though, they first touch on Maul’s appearance in Solo last year.

Witwer felt he was being “difficult” during the recording sessions for Solo mainly because he had so many points of advice regarding Maul’s character and personality.

One of those points was what kind of weapon Maul would be holding at that point in time. It would either be the darksaber or the stolen Inquisitor lightsaber that we saw him wielding in Star Wars Rebels. If the creators were going with the latter, he warned them how Maul holding that particular lightsaber means he killed an Inquisitor. That also means the Empire is hunting him down in addition to him running a criminal organization. It’s amazing how Witwer is a walking encyclopedia of geek information, which no doubt came in handy during his recording sessions.

Moving away from Solo and into Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the panel at Celebration Chicago revealed how Ray Park wore a mocap suit and choreographed Maul’s fighting scenes for the new season.

“I think we’ve done some great fights in The Clone Wars, but boy, you can tell when it’s Ray,” he said, having witnessed this process in action. “You can absolutely tell. He brings something special to it and you can feel it.” He went on to say how Park choreographed some “crazy, crazy stuff and scary stuff.”

As for what’s to come in this new season, he mentioned how the scripts were “mind-blowing.”

“The thing that I really appreciated was it was an opportunity to do new things with Maul. Things we haven’t seen him do before. Things we haven’t seen him try before… You can’t bring him out without really giving him material that deserves bringing him out.”

Witwer also brought up the myth of Sisyphus and related that to Maul’s journey, as he did at The Clone Wars panel. “He’s cursed to gain power and then lose it — gain influence, gain control over himself and then lose it. He’s in this twisted cycle of obsession and revenge, and his self-obsession of feeling like he’s a victim.”

He also made note of something intriguing that happens to Maul along the way. “What’s interesting is that in this story that we’re doing, I think there’s a wonderful moment where he tries to break out of that, and I find it very interesting on how he tries to break out of it. He tries to play by a rule set that he’s never tried to — he’s never tried anything like this before.”

Witwer ultimately said, “He’s messing with stuff that maybe he shouldn’t be messing with.”

Maul trying something he’s never done before? I don’t even know where to begin with that one and what he could potentially do. Whatever it is, I can see it ending up as a failure because as Witwer said, he’s cursed to gain something and then lose it.

What we do know is Witwer’s performance will be, without a doubt, amazing and that’s partially because of Dave Filoni’s direction. With Filoni working on a live-action project, Witwer observed how Filoni pulled a “film performance” out of him for Maul. Unlike what we’ve seen of animated Maul in the past, this will be a more subtle performance, as seen in the movies. Witwer thought this was a perfect approach especially for this particular story.

Nearing the end of the conversation, Ryan brought up how Maul and Ahsoka are similar in terms of how they became more prominent characters over the past 10 years. Witwer commented how he’s “dangerously close” to certain things present in the script.

What he went on to say is truly compelling, “I will say there are parallels between those two characters. In some ways, they’re two sides of the same coin — Ahsoka and Maul — if you think about it… Obviously, they have completely different motivations, but what I think is interesting and what I can say that I think they have in common is I think every character that’s worth watching fails at things, falls flat on their face. What I think is interesting about Ahsoka and Maul — obviously, they’re completely at odds, they wouldn’t be friends, they wouldn’t see eye to eye on anything — but they both are coming up trying to find their way in the universe and failing, but then trying to persevere through it in their own way… They do have a couple of things narratively in common in terms of their purpose in the story.”

I have to admit, it never occurred to me to compare Ahsoka and Maul’s stories. They both belonged to a way of life that eventually failed them. They also struggled to find themselves in the grand scheme of things, but they continued to persevere. For example, Maul eventually creates Crimson Dawn, while Ahsoka becomes Fulcrum for the Rebellion.

In the end, Witwer said it best. There are “characters that mirror each other” and they’re a “dark reflection of each other,” and it’s fascinating to think of Ahsoka and Maul in that way. It certainly makes me even more excited for what’s to come later this year.

For now, you can listen to the rest of the episode here, and make sure to follow the ForceCast on Twitter for more news and discussions.

(Image: Lucasfilm)

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