While there's been much Star Wars activity to get excited about in the wake of Disney's Lucasfilm acquisition, there have also been two casualties of the shake-up. The Cartoon Network saw its animated Clone Wars series cancelled before it reached its planned conclusion, while Dark Horse have lost their long-held licence to publish Star Wars comics, which will now, unsurprisingly, return to their long-ago home at Marvel. Deciding not to go quietly into the night, however, the two companies have joined forces for a last Star Wars hurrah: Dark Horse's final comics series will provide the Darth Maul-centred climax to TCN's abandoned Clone Wars.
Darth Maul made his comeback in The Clone Wars' fourth season, and was to be intergral to the finale. If you're interested in the plot machinations, Maul was found by his brother Savage Opress, post-Phantom Menace Kenobi bisection, living "in the depths of a ruined world as a shattered madman barely held together by dreams of vengeance". He now has robot legs.
"The story is important," says just-attached comic writer Jeremy Barlow. "It's an action-packed chapter in Darth Maul's continuing evolution as envisioned by George Lucas and built over several seasons. It's a shame that, due to the sudden cancellation, Lucasfilm wasn't able to film the final episodes of the series. Never ones to let a good story slip away, Dark Horse and the team at Lucasfilm saw an opportunity to save these teleplays from obsolescence and we're adapting them into a four-part miniseries called Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir."
Barlow, a prolific Dark Horse Star Wars alumnus who's also written RIPD and Kult, promises that the comic version won't be impenetrable to newcomers. "All you need to know is that Darth Maul has returned, that he’s really pissed off, and that his former master Darth Sidious is determined to put him back in the ground, permanently," he explains.
The mini-series will be published in May. In case you haven't heard, J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII is due in 2015.