Darth Maul’s double-bladed lightsaber is one of Star Wars’ most iconic weapons, and the Sith Lord built the unorthodox weapon for a lethal reason.
The Sith warrior known as Darth Maul is one of the most iconic villains in the Star Wars Universe, and he wields an equally recognizable weapon. He and his double-bladed lightsaber first appeared in The Phantom Menace, and it was the first time such a weapon had ever been seen in the world of Star Wars. Since then, the double-bladed lightsaber has made a few notable appearances, such as General Pong Krell’s twin double-blades in The Clone Wars animated series and Kal Kestis’s double-bladed upgrade in the Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order video game.
Every appearance this mythical saber makes in any Star Wars media immediately carries the awe that Maul’s original weapon inspired back in 1999. While no details about its origins were made in its original appearances, the story of why the Sith Lord originally built his iconic lightsaber was told in a tale from the old Legends canon.
The story “Nameless” from Star Wars Tales #10 (by Christian Read, Chris Slane, Giulia Brusco, Matt Hollingsworth, and Jason Hvam) reveals all. When Maul returns from a mission to kill a Jedi master, Sideous wonders what took the fearsome Sith so long to complete his task. Maul explains that he was expanding his skills as he presents his new lightsaber to his master, and enlightens Sideous as to the origin of his new weapon.
The Jedi that Maul was sent to assassinate was Siolo Ur Manka, one of the most powerful of the Jedi warriors. Despite this Jedi’s reputation for fighting, he gave up his lightsaber a long time ago. Sideous’s apprentice at first believes this will make him easy prey, but soon finds out how wrong he is. Manka’s speed and skill prove to be too much and Maul retreats.
Rather than accept defeat, Maul learns from his loss. Noting that one of the advantages Manka had against him was that his weapon, a stick, was longer than his own saber, Maul sets out to even the playing field, reasoning that increased reach and the element of surprise are the keys to victory. Forging two separate sabers and welding them together creates the infamous doubled-bladed lightsaber.
When he faces Manka again, the Jedi master uses the same moves as before, but now Maul is prepared. When his lightsaber is knocked away this time, its longer form means it’s still within reach, so he catches it with ease. Then when the Jedi believes he has Maul beaten, the Sith’s deception secures his victory. He activates the second blade, kept hidden throughout the fight, simultaneously ending the fight and completing his mission.
Sidious is impressed by Maul’s skill and ingenuity. He suggests giving this mighty weapon a name, but Maul insists it remain a nameless instrument, much like himself. However, even though this is an impressive story and one fitting the reputation of such an iconic weapon, it is no longer canon.
Very little is known about how or why Darth Maul constructed his double-bladed lightsaber in the current continuity. All that is known is that he used an old design he found in Darth Sideous’s Sith Holocron to come up with his own, more modern version of the weapon. It’s also believed that Maul learned how to use a double-bladed saber before he even constructed his own. This method seems a lot more meditative than the origin seen in Legends lore.
Maul meticulously training to be as deadly as possible with his chosen weapon before going into battle is in direct contrast to the more impulsive warrior seen in “Nameless”. His reasoning there is more about adapting to gain the desired results. However, even though both origins are vastly different, they both portray a side of Maul that is true to the mercilessness of his Sith nature.