The Hollywood Reporter has revealed that Darth Maul was to be a key villain of Obi-Wan Kenobi in Hossein Amini’s rejected scripts. This magazine is very close to the industry so all of this is certainly true. Here are the main points of the report:
• Amini’s rejected scripts told a Lone Wolf and Cub-like story with Obi-Wan coming out of hiding to protect a child-aged Luke Skywalker. Maul was one of the villains hunting Obi-Wan and Luke. Darth Vader wasn’t included in the story.
• Ray Park was to reprise his role of Maul. (He had played him in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace and Solo: A Star Wars Story.) He was on set for preproduction and was involved in stunt training. Some footage of Park may have been shot. A boy was chosen to play Luke Skywalker.
• Director Deborah Chow showed the scripts to Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau, the main creators of The Mandalorian. They felt that it was too reminiscent of their series, where Mando’s main purpose is to protect young Grogu. They also pushed Chow to “go bigger”.
• Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy was made aware of these doubts and she decided to pause preproduction. Joby Harold was eventually hired as the series’s new writer. Maul was written out.
• It was Filoni who found a way to bring Darth Vader back as the main villain, and to include the Grand Inquisitor as well (a character introduced in Filoni’s Star Wars Rebels).
• The rewriting led to a new search for a young Luke. Grant Feely was eventually cast for that role.
• A Lucasfilm source contradicts the account and claims that Maul was never intended to return in the series.
UPDATE: Lucasfilm executive Pablo Hidalgo claimed on his private Twitter account that this report is “bullshit”. (source : Star Wars News Net).