How Clone Wars Changed Maul & Asajj Ventress’ Original Star Wars Origins

Star Wars: The Clone Wars made a plethora of changes to previously-established Star Wars lore, and among the most prominent of these changes were made to the origins of Maul and Asajj Ventress. The Expanded Universe was the Star Wars franchise’s original timeline, featuring comics and novels that explained the Sith Lord Darth Maul’s origins and history leading up to Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. The separatist Sith apprentice Asajj Ventress was first introduced in the Expanded Universe’s Clone Wars multimedia project, becoming a fan-favorite villain in various comics and 2003’s animated series Star Wars: Clone Wars. In 2014, the Expanded Universe was renamed “Legends” and made into an alternate continuity. Maul and Ventress’ new origins in Star Wars: The Clone Wars subsequently became part of canon.

In Legends, Darth Maul was a Zabrak, taken from his homeworld of Iridonia by Darth Sidious when he was a child. Throughout his upbringing under Sidious, Maul trained as a Sith warrior, perfecting his fighting abilities and assassinating Sidious’s enemies. Maul died at the end of the Invasion of Naboo when Obi-Wan Kenobi cut him in half. The Legends version of Asajj Ventress is a Rattataki darksider who was discovered by Count Dooku on her homeworld of Rattatak and recruited to the CIS as one of his Sith apprentices.

The Clone Wars episode “Nightsisters” rewrote major elements of Asajj’s origin, as well as Maul’s. While she was still raised on Rattatak by the stranded Jedi Ky Narec (and fell to the dark side after his death), the episode retconned her homeworld and species to Dathomir and Dathomirian, respectively. Asajj Ventress was born as a member of the Nightsisters, a culture of dark side-using Dathomirian witches. Later episodes would make Darth Maul no longer a Zabrak from Iridonia, but a male Dathomirian, born in a Nightbrother village on Dathomir. Moreover, Maul survived his bisection and returned to menace the Republic, the Separatists, and the Mandalorians alike.

The new origins for Maul and Ventress also introduced the canon version of Dathomir. Its Star Wars Legends counterpart, which debuted in the novel The Courtship of Princess Leia, was a world of diverse terrain (though mostly forested) and a strong connection to the Force. Rather than having a native humanoid species, the world was populated by Force-sensitive humans whose women formed clans of witches. While most clans used the Force in harmony with nature, some, like the Nightsisters and Spiderclan, used the dark side. In addition to creating the Dathomirian species, canon also drastically changed the terrain, making it a red and misty world of jungles and rocky caverns. Canon’s Dathomir is shown in detail in the video game Jedi: Fallen Order.

While the changes made to Asajj Ventress erased much of the lore surrounding Rattatak and the Rattataki (a species that was created for Ventress in Legends), Darth Maul’s retcons added to his character. By having Maul return, the full extent of his upbringing and training under Darth Sidious could be demonstrated. Maul’s appearances in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels, and his cameo in Solo: A Star Wars Story shows a crueler and more calculating side of the former Sith Lord as he takes control of the galactic underworld to grow in influence.

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