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Face-Off: Darth Maul vs. Kylo Ren

01.12.2016by: Brian Bitner
All right laserbrains, you've had a few weeks to see THE FORCE AWAKENS (and then promptly see it again), so it's time to welcome the new film into the annals of the Face-Off archives. It should go without saying, but here be major spoilers, sweetie. With a new trilogy comes a new villain and, shockingly, feelings are mixed over Kylo Ren, a.k.a. Ben Solo, a.k.a. Emo Vader. A similar dissension surrounded THE PHANTOM MENACE with fans either loving or hating new Sith lord Darth Maul, so this week it's the battle of the non-Vader baddies (sorry, Count Dooku, no one cares) as the mysterious Darth Maul takes on the temperamental Kylo Ren. I have a bad feeling about this.
ACTOR
Portrayed by Ray Park and voiced by Peter Serafinowicz, Darth Maul mostly just scowls and dances around. Park does a great job of embodying the character, to be sure, but there's just not a lot to the character from an acting standpoint.
Without a doubt the most surprising casting in THE FORCE AWAKENS, mumblecore notable Adam Driver takes on the role of main villain Kylo Ren. While there's plenty of pouting and angst here, Driver's performance contains several understated moments, bringing a new tone to the STAR WARS universe.
LOOK
A Dathomirian Zabrak Sith lord (yeah, what?), Darth Maul sports red and black skin, a crown of horns, and black, hooded robes. Maul's look helps make him one of the more interesting and memorable prequel characters, and it's nice to see a non-human wielding a lightsaber for once.
Kylo Ren sports long, flowing black robes and a metallic, Darth Vader-inspired mask. On one hand, it's not a unique enough look to be terribly exciting, but on the other, it's a character who's trying to emulate the all too recognizable Vader, so the balance of familiar and new is appropriate.
LIGHTSABER
Ah, the classic double-bladed saber. This was one of those rare moments when you saw it and thought, "of course! How obvious!" Elegant and stylish, Darth Maul's lightsaber is also very practical (if you know how to use it), as evidenced in his battle against Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan.
Kylo Ren's lightsaber definitely feels like a forced attempt to do something new, but again, it makes perfect sense for the character, who's more interested in style than practicality. That said, it keeps the hilted saber from being anything earth-shattering.
MOVES
Butterfly kicks and flips and shit! Darth Maul's entire fighting style revolves around acrobatics, with his weapon operating almost as an extension of his body. Say what you will about the prequels, but Darth Maul's moves make the Obi-Wan/Vader showdown from the first film look like a slap fight.
Other than a couple saber flourishes, Kylo Ren's moves are fairly standard with a focus on swashbuckling and a bit of the Force. Hoping for an INCREDIBLES moment in Episode VIII when he gets sucked into a TIE fighter engine scarf first.
THE FORCE
As above, Darth Maul focuses relies very little on the Force. There's the occasional telekinetic display, but it's mostly swordplay and cartwheels... which, really, thank the maker Maul didn't have an arsenal of Force abilities to boot, or Obi-Wan would have been bantha fodder.
Motherf*cker freezes a blaster bolt in mid-air. This plus immobilizing people and extracting information from their minds are all versions of Force abilities we've seen before, but the amplified, new take on them make Ren's powers feel exciting without seeming like a desperate attempt to shove new abilities into the mix.
STORY

He's... a... guy?


Okay, to be fair, Darth Maul's lack of story is deliberate and adds to the mystique of the character, but it ultimately keeps him from progressing past the role of generic bad guy.
Grandson to Darth Vader and son to Leia Organa and Han Solo, Kylo Ren trained under his uncle, Luke Skywalker, the last of the Jedi. Eventually seduced to the Dark Side by Supreme Leader Snoke, Ren destroyed the new generation of Jedi, murdered his father, and is hellbent on finding and killing Uncle Luke. In other words, Kylo Ren is kind of a dick.
KYLO REN
Well, you probably called it, but it was worth a look with Darth Maul being one of the most well-liked elements of a disliked movie and Kylo Ren being a bit of a weak point for some in an otherwise strong film. I personally think Kylo Ren is a great addition to the STAR WARS canon, and I look forward to seeing more of him in the coming films. I also look forward to seeing him die a painful death, because you don't kill Han Solo and get away with it- I don't care how bad your daddy issues are. Who do you think will get the honor? Rey? Luke? Leia? Chewie?! All of the above in an hour-long torture sequence? We'll have to wait until at least 2017 (but most likely 2019) to find out. In the meantime, just because I can't stop watching it:



Agree? Disagree? Which do you prefer?
POST YOUR CHOICE BELOW!

If you have a suggestion for a future Face-Off, let us know below or send me an email at brianbitner@joblo.com.

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9:51PM on 01/12/2016
Darth Maul was nerfed.
Darth Maul was nerfed.
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+3
7:12PM on 01/12/2016

In a fight...

Darth Maul would destroy Kylo. It's like the difference between a classically trained pianist and a DJ.
Darth Maul would destroy Kylo. It's like the difference between a classically trained pianist and a DJ.
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4:34PM on 01/12/2016

I see a lot more potential in Kylo Ren

Yes, Darth Maul was a beast, but that's all he was in the prequels - I tuned out of Clone Wars when they tried to bring him back. And, let's face it, George Lucas was never the greatest at character development.

As for Kylo Ren, he's a lot tougher than fans give him credit for. He beat Finn after taking a direct hit from Chewbacca's bowcaster - something that sends ordinary stormtroopers flying. I suspect the next movie is going to show Kylo's more savage side, and he'll be a much more
Yes, Darth Maul was a beast, but that's all he was in the prequels - I tuned out of Clone Wars when they tried to bring him back. And, let's face it, George Lucas was never the greatest at character development.

As for Kylo Ren, he's a lot tougher than fans give him credit for. He beat Finn after taking a direct hit from Chewbacca's bowcaster - something that sends ordinary stormtroopers flying. I suspect the next movie is going to show Kylo's more savage side, and he'll be a much more formidable villain.
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4:30PM on 01/12/2016
Maul was the Boba Fett of the prequels. Everyone likes him because he looks cool but he was the 5th most important villain behind Emperor, Vader, Greivous, and Dooku. Plus he was taken down by a Padawan.
Maul was the Boba Fett of the prequels. Everyone likes him because he looks cool but he was the 5th most important villain behind Emperor, Vader, Greivous, and Dooku. Plus he was taken down by a Padawan.
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3:40PM on 01/12/2016
solely based on your list above, I would also give Ray Park a check for Actor, because there was nothing wrong with his acting. I would also remove a check from Kylo's list because his look was meh at best. So your list is 3 Maul and 4 Kylo, my changes would make it 4 Maul and 3 Kylo.
The only thing Kylo had going for him over Maul was that he's a pivotal character, not a speed bump, which means he needs a story.
But Maul's lame defeat in Episode I will always make him lose points for me,
solely based on your list above, I would also give Ray Park a check for Actor, because there was nothing wrong with his acting. I would also remove a check from Kylo's list because his look was meh at best. So your list is 3 Maul and 4 Kylo, my changes would make it 4 Maul and 3 Kylo.
The only thing Kylo had going for him over Maul was that he's a pivotal character, not a speed bump, which means he needs a story.
But Maul's lame defeat in Episode I will always make him lose points for me, through not fault of his own. Total waste of a character, he easily could've been the main villain in the prequels. So I set my rating as Neutral cause I don't agree that the two can be compared, heh.
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12:34PM on 01/12/2016

Wrong on the look

I'll agree on the backstory aspect, but you got the look wrong this time. Darth Maul has the iconic tribal markings on his head as well as the horns. (Also a very striking pair of cybernetic legs in the Clone Wars) Ren has a silver mask and a cape. Am I the only one who was underwhelmed when Ren actually removed his mask. Not intimidating at all.
I'll agree on the backstory aspect, but you got the look wrong this time. Darth Maul has the iconic tribal markings on his head as well as the horns. (Also a very striking pair of cybernetic legs in the Clone Wars) Ren has a silver mask and a cape. Am I the only one who was underwhelmed when Ren actually removed his mask. Not intimidating at all.
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3:33PM on 01/12/2016
you are not alone
you are not alone
10:06AM on 01/12/2016
Kylo Ren, easy. Darth Maul looks cool, but he had no intriguing story.
Kylo Ren, easy. Darth Maul looks cool, but he had no intriguing story.
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8:11AM on 01/12/2016

Kylo's potential

After watching EP VII for the second time, I came to appreciate more the role of Ren in this "new" universe. Yes, Maul was more menacing, tougher and more focused. But to be fair, Maul was already a fully trained Darth Lord. Ren is still a kid growing up his powers, and with an internal conflict that Maul never had (or at least was never shown). Plus, Kylo Ren has is own agenda while Maul was merely a puppet.

Ep VII gave us a nice glimpse of a new darkness on the rise, and I am hopeful that
After watching EP VII for the second time, I came to appreciate more the role of Ren in this "new" universe. Yes, Maul was more menacing, tougher and more focused. But to be fair, Maul was already a fully trained Darth Lord. Ren is still a kid growing up his powers, and with an internal conflict that Maul never had (or at least was never shown). Plus, Kylo Ren has is own agenda while Maul was merely a puppet.

Ep VII gave us a nice glimpse of a new darkness on the rise, and I am hopeful that we'll get to see a real badass in Ren's future.
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7:59AM on 01/12/2016

Darth Maul

At least he was fully committed to the dark side and not unsure of himself.
At least he was fully committed to the dark side and not unsure of himself.
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10:51AM on 01/12/2016
lol and thats called "No character development" lol
lol and thats called "No character development" lol
-1
7:44AM on 01/12/2016

We shouldn't vote yet.

KYLO REN will be in EPISODE VIII and probably also EPISODE IX. We need to see his entire story-arc first.
KYLO REN will be in EPISODE VIII and probably also EPISODE IX. We need to see his entire story-arc first.
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7:43AM on 01/12/2016
I loved the new movie and Kylo will probably grow to be a very great villain but Darth Maul wins this. Darth Maul was a beast. He took on two very talented Jedi, killed one and pretty much had the other defeated. Darth Maul was very skilled and when that lightsaber was revealed for the very first time... everyone's jaws pretty much dropped. He should have easily won this face-off.
I loved the new movie and Kylo will probably grow to be a very great villain but Darth Maul wins this. Darth Maul was a beast. He took on two very talented Jedi, killed one and pretty much had the other defeated. Darth Maul was very skilled and when that lightsaber was revealed for the very first time... everyone's jaws pretty much dropped. He should have easily won this face-off.
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7:03AM on 01/12/2016
Only one problem. Maul is a Sith. Ren is a wannabe little bitch.
Only one problem. Maul is a Sith. Ren is a wannabe little bitch.
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7:03AM on 01/12/2016
Only one problem. Maul is a Sith. Ren is a wannabe little bitch.
Only one problem. Maul is a Sith. Ren is a wannabe little bitch.
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6:24AM on 01/12/2016
Although he didn't have much of a story line or character arc, Darth Maul was more menacing and memorable than Kylo Ren.
Although he didn't have much of a story line or character arc, Darth Maul was more menacing and memorable than Kylo Ren.
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3:58AM on 01/12/2016
Darth Maul always looked makeUped to me. Always thought that his make up would rub off on his hood.
Darth Maul always looked makeUped to me. Always thought that his make up would rub off on his hood.
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3:06AM on 01/12/2016
If it wasn't for Kylo Ren's nuts force powers I'd take Maul's calm, confident Sith over the lightsabre tantrums of Kylo any day, but it's these abilities and the feeling that he's always teetering on the brink of going totally out of control that make Kylo Ren the more interesting character. Maul was something of a dead end in the films - Kylo Ren has much potential as a character.
If it wasn't for Kylo Ren's nuts force powers I'd take Maul's calm, confident Sith over the lightsabre tantrums of Kylo any day, but it's these abilities and the feeling that he's always teetering on the brink of going totally out of control that make Kylo Ren the more interesting character. Maul was something of a dead end in the films - Kylo Ren has much potential as a character.
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2:51AM on 01/12/2016
Nope. Darth Maul for me. He's much more menacing than Kylo Ren.
Nope. Darth Maul for me. He's much more menacing than Kylo Ren.
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1:43AM on 01/12/2016
Although I pretty much agree with your opinionated assessment on each individual category, I have to say in a fight between them, Maul would totally wipe the floor with Kylo.
Although I pretty much agree with your opinionated assessment on each individual category, I have to say in a fight between them, Maul would totally wipe the floor with Kylo.
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1:21AM on 01/12/2016

Darth Maul!

Kylo Ren is a fucking deranged beast, sure, but there is no Sith more intimidating or more ferocious than Darth Maul. He's literally the only good part about the prequels, and became an icon with minimal screentime.
Kylo Ren is a fucking deranged beast, sure, but there is no Sith more intimidating or more ferocious than Darth Maul. He's literally the only good part about the prequels, and became an icon with minimal screentime.
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12:32AM on 01/12/2016
Darth Maul. Also wish it was Maul instead of Grevious.
Kylo was alright but Maul made moments of EP1 watchable. For that alone he wins this.
Darth Maul. Also wish it was Maul instead of Grevious.
Kylo was alright but Maul made moments of EP1 watchable. For that alone he wins this.
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12:26AM on 01/12/2016

Iconic

Darth fucking Maul all the way.
Darth fucking Maul all the way.
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12:24AM on 01/12/2016

Iconic

Darth fucking Maul all the way.
Darth fucking Maul all the way.
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12:21AM on 01/12/2016
Kylo Ren by far. Maul looked cool and had some nice acrobat moves but other than that there's not much to get excited about. He seemed more like a henchman.
Kylo Ren by far. Maul looked cool and had some nice acrobat moves but other than that there's not much to get excited about. He seemed more like a henchman.
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