Darth Maul Voice Actor Drew Inspiration From Mark Hamill

Sam Witwer, the voice actor for Darth Maul in The Clone Wars and Rebels, states his performace was inspired by the work of Mark Hamill.

Darth Maul in Star Wars Rebels

Sam Witwer, the voice actor of Darth Maul, has stated that he drew inspiration for the character from the voice work of Mark Hamill. Although initially having nothing to do with the character, Witwer voiced Maul in his appearances in animated series The Clone Wars and Rebels, as well as his live-action cameo at the end of Solo that offered new potential for the character’s development.

In The Phantom Menace, where Maul originated, his onscreen performance and fighting were performed by martial artist Ray Park, while his voice was dubbed by Peter Serafinowicz. For a long time the character was presumed dead after he was bisected by Obi-Wan Kenobi, only to reappear on a junkyard planet in the penultimate episode of season 4 of The Clone Wars outfitted with robotic legs to replace those he lost, becoming a recurring antagonist for the rest of this series, as well as periodic appearances in Rebels. From that point on, Witwer was the voice of the character, and the one now most closely associated with the role.

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Sam Witwer made the declaration of being inspired by Mark Hamill on Twitter, being prompted to do so after Hamill followed him, also commenting that “drew inspiration” is “a fancy way of saying I've been stealing from him for years.” Outside of his performances as Luke Skywalker, Hamill is an accomplished voice actor who's lent his talents to hundreds of films, TV shows and video games, most famously and notably as the Joker in Batman: The Animated Series and subsequent projects. Ever gallant and humorous, he responded to Witwer’s tweet with a statement of “I’m flattered you found inspiration in my work & aspire to steal from you one day.

Darth Maul is far from the only Star Wars character Witwer has performed over the years. Prior to Maul, his first appearance in The Clone Wars was in a three-episode arc in season 3 now known as the Mortis Trilogy, where he played the Son, a Dark Side-attuned member of a family of powerful Force wielders who tries to turn Anakin. In Rebels he took over as the voice of Palpatine, a role he'd previously performed in the two Battlefront games and both The Force Unleashed games, and in the latter of those also lent his voice and appearance to its protagonist Starkiller (aka Galen Marek). Witwer also provided voices for incidental characters in The Force Awakens and Rogue One, and most recently was pilot Hugh Sion in the premiere episode of animated series Resistance.

Drawing inspiration from Mark Hamill seems like common sense for a voice actor, as he's been doing it for over 40 years, and portrayed scores of characters in both children’s and adult animation. Witwer didn’t specify exactly which of Hamill’s myriad performances inspired him, but given the Joker’s role as an agent of chaos driven to disrupt the order sought by the hero he's forever drawn to, translating that to a warrior hell bent on taking down the man he perceives as his nemesis wouldn’t be much of a leap; or perhaps with Maul’s vicious nature, some parallels could be found in the callous brutality of Fire Lord Ozai in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Whichever roles or roles it was that inspired Witwer, they certainly did a good job, as his sibilant malevolence is now all the people hear when imagining the Sith’s voice.

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Source: Sam Witwer

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