'Star Wars' Actor Sam Witwer Shares How He Fleshed Out Maul's Voice

Poll: What is Maul's Greatest Moment? | StarWars.com

Actor Sam Witwer has come a very long way in the Star Wars franchise ever since he voiced Starkiller and Emperor Palpatine in the 2008 video game The Force Unleashed (which was followed by a sequel in 2010.) On The Clone Wars TV series, he voiced the Brother in the memorable Mortis arc. However, the role that Witwer has perhaps become best known for when it comes to voicing Star Wars characters is Maul.

Introduced in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace as Darth Sidious’ Sith apprentice, Darth Maul was originally voiced by Peter Serafinowicz. He had very few lines in that film and recorded lines for Maul’s cameo in Solo, which were replaced by Witwer’s voice since he had a better handle on what the character had become. Serafinowicz voiced Maul first, and there was a bit of extrapolation from there. With few words, however, there was a lot of wiggle room in terms of where the voice could be taken in the TV shows and whatnot.

On August 14, IGN hosts Clint Gage and Brian Altano were joined by Sam Witwer and Rahul Koli for a Return of the Jedi watch party. During the stream, Witwer was asked how he developed the voice for Maul. As one would expect from a huge fan like him, he provided an insightful answer:

With Maul's voice, it changes. Maul's voice now is different than the younger Maul. I always ask, 'What era Maul are we doing?'... The older he is, he starts becoming more colorful and weird. Between the Serafinowicz voice that was established in The Phantom Menace, I took a lot from Palpatine. Because that's his dad, really, so he would have learned a lot of things from Palpatine. His sense of humor is Palpatine's sense of humor. When things are going well for these gentlemen, everything is hilarious. Only when things are going well.

With Maul having essentially been raised and trained by Sidious, it makes sense that he would pick up habits from his master. When Maul is first brought back in The Clone Wars, his voice conveys madness, going all over the place. This makes sense given that he has been stranded and isolated for years, having become unhinged and haunted by his failure at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Once his brother Savage Oppress brings him to Mother Talzin of the Nightsisters, she tries to heal him. With his mind more stable, he has more control and sounds more proper yet dramatic. This carries on for the rest of the series, and one can hear the thread carried over in regards to Maul’s voice in Solo.

In Rebels, Maul, years older, puts on the act of a weak old man in order to earn Ezra Bridger’s trust. When the act is over, one can still tell that he sounds older and more desperate than his The Clone Wars self. After so many failures maintaining control of criminal organizations and trying to be a master to someone worthy, it makes sense that he would dial up the madness a bit. Especially when he can sense that the end is near.

Overall, Sam Witwer has done a marvelous job fleshing out Maul’s voice. At this point, he has become the definitive voice of the character in the eyes of many fans. If Maul ever returns again for a future onscreen Star Wars project, it would stand to reason that Witwer would probably return to voice the character. He understands the psychology of Maul and has a passion for figuring out how the fan favorite character should be portrayed.

Source(s): IGN