The year is 2005. Revenge of the Sith is almost out. Dark Horse Comics and Lucasfilm releases the trade paperback Star Wars Visionaries to “create a medium for this group (Sith concept artists) to tell their own Star Wars stories (from the Introduction).”
Aaron McBride wrote and drew Old Wounds, most likely based off a concept painting he did of Darth Maul with cyborg legs. At the time, Maul had been killed at the hands of Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi during The Phantom Menace, never to return. That’s what made this story so freakin’ cool: What if Darth Maul survived getting cut in half? And let’s face it, Darth Maul and that lightsaber battle were some of the best parts of Menace. I remember seeing some fan comic online that dealt with the same thing happening but it was more of an R-Rated Entertainment type thing.
…Anyhow, Old Wounds starts off 10+ years before A New Hope with a young Luke Skywalker learning how to talk when Owen Lars sees somebody running in the distance towards his farm. Maul injures Lars when he feels a disturbance in the Force. He goes on a villain monologue about tracking his target since Kamino and Geonosis (during Attack of The Clones) – a super cool idea—that Maul was still part of the action by dropping specific locations he could have been if he were tracking Obi-Wan across the galaxy. Maul describes coming “across a corpse on Mustafar” which turns out to be the not-dead body of a burnt Anakin Skywalker (showing that Palpatine brought him back to life after the duel). Maul killed not only citizens of Polis Massa (those who witnessed the death of Padme and the birth of the twins) but also Watto on Tatooine, who led him to the Lars’ farm. He makes it clear that he’s no longer a Sith, no longer beholden to Palpatine. Then Obi-Wan comes bursting out the sand! Maul ignites a double-bladed lightsaber (not like the one on Naboo) and describes his anger towards Obi-Wan. Only Obi-Wan’s complete destruction would sake Maul’s need for utter revenge. They fight, Maul loses an arm and kicks Kenobi into a landspeeder. Just when Kenobi is about to kill Maul—and hesitates amongst images of Padme and Anakin—Lars shoots Maul in the head. Lars is none-too-happy to see Obi-Wan and tells him not to come back. Through the Force, Obi-Wan telepathically tells young Luke not to worry, that he’ll always be there. Unfortunately, the comic was not meant to be canon, merely one artist’s interpretation of an impossible moment in Star Wars. Still, it’s so cool.
This story doesn’t completely fit with what we know of Maul during The Clone Wars and Rebels, but it’s pretty close. In both versions, Maul survives getting sliced in half and has to have cybernetic legs and goes a bit feral. He’s no longer a Sith but like his “Old Wounds” counterpart is obsessed with killing Obi-Wan Kenobi. The image of Maul by McBride is pretty close to the Clone Wars Maul. He has deadly-looking General Grievous-type predatory cyborg legs. Perhaps most prescient, Maul’s lightsaber in Old Wounds looks just like the one he’s sporting in the final scenes of Solo: A Star Wars Story. Also both Mauls are aware of Luke Skywalker’s destiny, that he is supremely important in galactic events. In the animated series, Maul goes through a lot more than the comic version. He does make his way to Tatooine to confront Kenobi in the Rebels episode “Twin Sons.” Unlike the awesome battle in the comics, Kenobi dispatches Maul in Rebels with a samurai-like lightsaber jab.
All in all, Old Wounds is a cool what-if story done years before Clone Wars or Solo. At the time, it was ridiculous to think that ol’ Maul would make a comeback. The dialogue is spot-on, it contains all the Star Wars references in its history so far. Plus, it has the second-ish lightsaber battle between Obi-Wan and Maul.