It can be tough sometimes to inherit a role after another actor has originated a character and that was the challenge faced by Sam Witwer when he took over the role of Darth Maul from Peter Serafinowicz, the actor who first voiced the role in The Phantom Menace.
Here, Witwer talks about how he made the role his own and found a consistent voice for the character as Maul ages through films and TV series.
When asked how he managed to develop such a dramatic yet consistent voice for Maul, even as Maul’s story has played out across multiple time periods and in both animation and live-action, Witwer revealed he simply looked to another iconic villain for inspiration. His Maul performance draws heavily from Ian McDiarmid’s Emperor Palpatine, for the logical reason that Maul was trained and molded by Palpatine.
Witwer said, “With Maul’s voice, it changes. Maul’s voice now is different than the younger Maul. I always ask, ‘What era Maul are we doing?’… The older he is, he starts becoming more colorful and weird. Between the Serafinowicz voice that was established in The Phantom Menace, I took a lot from Palpatine. Because that’s his dad, really, so he would have learned a lot of things from Palpatine. His sense of humor is Palpatine’s sense of humor. When things are going well for these gentlemen, everything is hilarious. Only when things are going well.”
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