**Spoiler Warning: This interview contains several spoilers for the overall ‘Star Wars’ franchise! Please turn back if you are not caught up on all of the films and canonical television series! You have been warned!**
Whether you loved or hated the ‘Star Wars’ prequel trilogy, it’s probably a safe bet that you thought that the villainous Sith apprentice Darth Maul was one of the most badass things to ever grace the ‘Star Wars’ franchise. For years, fans thought that Maul had been cut down in his prime following an ill-fated lightsaber duel at the end of his first film; only to see him resurrected for several ‘Star Wars’ animated series like ‘Clone Wars‘ and ‘Star Wars: Rebels’, and most recently in the live-action ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story‘! Nearly two decades after he last portrayed the character on the silver screen, actor Ray Park returned to the role to give us an all too brief look at where the character had ended up following his infamous bisection.
We were lucky enough to sit down with Ray Park recently at Keystone Comic Con in Philadelphia, PA to talk about his time as Darth Maul, what it was like to return to the role, and what the chances are we might see him back for more sooner rather than later! Be sure to check out our full exclusive interview with Ray Park below!
Ray Park: I feel very lucky, because I grew up with ‘Star Wars’ as a kid, and I always wanted to be a Jedi! I’d seen ‘Empire Strikes Back’ and seen how Luke was trained by Yoda, and it’s one of the reasons I wanted to do gymnastics. I always wanted to be able to do a handstand, and do a flip, and that push really propelled me to go into martial arts that had gymnastics in it.
RP: That’s because of Jackie Chan. And Bruce Lee! Bruce started it, but Jackie Chan was my idol, still is my idol, because he does all of his own stunts. And I wanted to be that kind of guy, I wanted to be like them!
SF: In recent years Darth Maul has had a huge resurgence in popularity, having appeared in both ‘Clone Wars’ and ‘Star Wars: Rebels’, plus a brief appearance in ‘Solo’ which we know you reprised the role for. Before coming back, had you kept up with the character and how do you feel about the direction they’ve taken with him?
RP: Yeah I was watching ‘Clone Wars’, I loved it! It was a great animation to just sit there and watch with my kids. I liked seeing where Darth Maul was heading and it was great to see him back. It was unexpected! I was jealous when it was announced that Savage Opress, Darth Maul’s brother, was going to be on ‘Clone Wars’ and he had a double bladed lightsaber, but I didn’t expect to see Darth Maul! So I watched it just like a fan, and when Disney took over and started making movies, I kind of got a tingle of “well maybe something might happen” because fans were speculating. But never in a million years did I think that I would be getting the call to come back for ‘Solo’ to play Maul twenty years later! And it tied right in to ‘Clone Wars’! It was nice to have that conversation with Sam Witwer because he is very passionate about Maul as well. It was good, we had a nice talk and I’m glad that he voiced it! It was good to come back and to get to act and actually do it! I really enjoy playing him!
SF: Is there a lot of hope for fans seeing you come back as Maul again for another big screen adventure?
RP: I hope so! I certainly hope so. I’m keeping in shape! It’s a nice teaser for me, because really even if I don’t come back again, it was nice to just be a part of ‘Solo’!
SF: You’re known primarily for your combat skills and techniques, What are your thoughts on the lightsaber fights in the force awakens and The Last Jedi?
RP: They’re… a bit different. But I mean our fight scene from ‘Phantom Menace’ was kind of the best lightsaber fight scene ever so… but no I’m kidding! It’s Nice! It’s just a different set of styles, different coordinators. It would be interesting is I was to coordinate or choreograph a fight scene, but I like seeing it because it fits with these characters!
RP: Of course! It would be the same reaction from me that I had when I got the phone call for ‘Solo’! I emailed Lorenzo (di Bonaventura) just the other day saying “you know I’m hearing these rumors and I’d like to be considered to audition again for Snake Eyes!” because I like to play him! I signed up for three movies, plus I want to get that tattoo! I said that if I play him again in a third movie I’m getting the Arashikage! I would love to be Snake. And I’m a different person now, my training is different, so it would be good. I feel like I have a different focus now because I’m older as well. I would just love to be Snake Eyes again, one-thousand percent!