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The Sith Lords We Never Got In The Star Wars Sequel Trilogy

The Star Wars sequel trilogy ended in late 2019, leaving behind a mixed bag of a legacy. Some were simply excited to see the franchise on the big screen again, and took the movies for what they are. Others remain contentious about every last detail in all three films, refusing to believe that this is how the story George Lucas began in 1977 canonically plays out. Wherever fans and critics stand, the Skywalker Saga really is over now, and Star Wars is moving on, exploring new corners of the galaxy where unfamiliar faces are ready to have some adventures of their own.

No matter which side you're on, it's interesting to look back in retrospect and wonder what the movies would've been like if Lucas had remained at the helm — especially since his prequel trilogy wasn't received as well as he would have liked. Disney bought the property for $4 billion in 2012, revoking the creator's say in what happened to his galaxy far, far away. He had plans for sequels of his own, though details about them have been few and far between in the years since the Disney merger.

With the release of The Star Wars Archives: 1999-2005, that may no longer be the case (via Polygon). Yes, the book mainly focuses on the prequels, but it also apparently sheds a wealth of new light on Lucas' plans for what Star Wars' future could've been. One interesting tidbit has to do with which villains the director had lined up — Sith Lords, to be more specific. One of them is quite familiar to Star Wars fans: Darth Maul. The other may not ring a bell if you're unfamiliar with the extended universe: Darth Talon.

Who the heck is Darth Talon?

During the climax of The Phantom Menace, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) slices Maul (played by Ray Park, voiced by Peter Serafinowicz and Sam Witwer) in half in retribution for killing Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson). The two halves of the Sith's body tumble down a shaft, and he's (incorrectly) presumed dead. When Darth Maul resurfaces, he's a obsessively focused on an understandable hatred of Obi-Wan. He eventually replaces his legs with cybernetics, and returns to action after his brother Savage Opress (voiced by Clancy Brown) finds him in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Surviving those wars brings him and Obi-Wan full circle; they meet for one last duel in Star Wars: Rebels.

Darth Talon's story begins in the comic book series Star Wars: Legacy, in which her loyalty to the tenets of the Sith is absolute. Her journey sees many twists and turns, including the capture and training of a Skywalker descendant, a war between Sith, and a quest to corrupt the galaxy from the shadows. After the Disney merger, however, much of the previous Star Wars canon was wiped, including Star Wars: Legacy. Talon's story was thus reworked: Talon is a survivor of the massacre of Luke Skywalker's (Mark Hamill) New Jedi Order. She turns to darkness after the death of her sister at the hands of the Knights of Ren.

These two very different Sith are both driven by tragedy, hatred, and allegiance to the Dark Side of the Force. Having them on screen together could've gone in myriad directions, but what exactly did Lucas have planned for them?

Always two, there are

As Solo: A Star Wars Story comes to an end, Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke) contacts Crimson Dawn's leader following the death of the criminal organization's figurehead, Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany). That leader is none other than Maul himself. It's a shocking moment, but if Lucas ever watched the film, he probably just nodded his head. He says of Maul: "[He] eventually becomes the godfather of crime in the universe because, as the Empire falls, he takes over." Solo checks all of those boxes, meaning the creators likely had Lucas in mind when planning Maul's reappearance.

It is, however, a very short reappearance — one with few lines. Maul doesn't have much to say in The Phantom Menace either; his impact has more to do with his memorable design and overwhelming ferocity. The Clone Wars and Rebels both do more to develop his character, and a Lucas-directed film in which he's a crime lord would likely do the same. The seedy underbelly of the Star Wars galaxy has always been apparent (see: Jabba the Hutt); having a Sith like Maul impose order over that chaos sounds like a story rife with potential.

As for Talon, Lucas' version would've had some big, dark shoes to fill, since he reportedly planned on making her the sequel series' Darth Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones) analogue. According to long-time Star Wars creator Pablo Hidalgo, Talon would've been the gateway to the Dark Side for the son of Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Leia (Carrie Fisher), who likely shares some story DNA with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). The idea is similar to her non-canonical tutelage of Luke's descendant Cade.

Having Maul, Talon, and a corrupted young Jedi in a Lucas film that never was echoes the presence of Darth Sidious (Ian McDiarmid), Vader, and Luke in a Lucas film that was: Return of the Jedi. The franchise weaves a grand mythology, and mythology has a way of rehashing its themes over time. Testing the Rule of Two — which states that only one master and one apprentice Sith may exist at a time — is a Star Wars staple, one that proves interesting each time for different reasons. Maul and Talon's differing Sith upbringings and philosophies would certainly clash, especially with the former as a crime lord and the latter as a free agent.

Audiences will unfortunately never see such a story come to life on screen, but in a universe as enormous as Star Wars, there will always be more stories to tell. And that's something to look forward to.