Darth Maul made his grand return to Star Wars in the season two finale of Star Wars Rebels. Figuring into the plot as living in an ancient Sith temple searching for an ancient Sith weapon. The last time he was seen in canon was escaping from Darth Sidious (Palpatine), Count Dooku and General Grievous some time before The Clone Wars officially ended. Palpatine and Darth Maul had an interesting relationship by the time the Clone Wars ended. Maul had grown in power and became a threat to Palpatine’s plan. So much in fact that Palpatine felt he had to deal with the threat personally, which is something that he rarely did. So now that Maul is back and is seemingly searching for power once again…is Palpatine also coming back?
Palpatine so far has only appeared twice in Star Wars Rebels. Once on a video screen, acting as the Emperor of the Galaxy but was not heard. The other time was as a voice despite the fact that he was speaking to Darth Vader through a hologram, the hologram was not shown. There is no real reason as to why he hasn’t appeared in any sort of form as he is the Emperor. The main characters do not necessarily have to interact with him for him to appear. So there’s been no real reason as to why he has yet to appear unless the showrunners are saving him for something special. Reuniting with Darth Maul would be that special something.
Though the two were last seen in canon interacting with the Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir comic, they were last seen in the season 5 episode, “The Lawless”. This was the episode that drew Palpatine out personally to deal with the growing threat of Darth Maul. In it was an epic (but ultimately one sided) lightsaber fight between Darth Sidious against Darth Maul and his brother Savage Oppress. It’s no stretch to see Palpatine concerned about a threat to his plans but he never did things himself. Instead he was always using other people to do things for him. So there is something about Darth Maul that Palpatine finds particularly noteworthy of dealing with himself
.One can assume is because Maul is the only one of the three apprentices of Darth Sidious that he actually raised and trained. Count Dooku and Anakin Skywalker were both Jedi before turning to Sith. Dooku was mostly a pawn to kick off and be a figurehead in The Clone Wars. Skywalker became Darth Vader and used as an enforcer of the Emperor’s will. The Dathomir comic showed that Maul has known Palpatine since being a very small child and would probably know more about Palpatine’s true goals compared to the other two. The new canon has established that Palpatine is constantly searching for Force related artifacts. When Darth Vader learns of the Sith temple in Rebels, he notes how his master would be pleased of this new development. Darth Maul was there searching for the weapon as well and unfortunately got trapped. Needless to say, no one got what they wanted but everyone lived to see another day.
Now that Maul is out once again in the galaxy, he is no doubt up to no good. With an added interest in taking on protagonist, Ezra, as an apprentice. So he is trying to get revenge on Palpatine once again? Is he trying to establish his own Sith Order? What exactly was he trying to get that weapon for? But as history has shown, when Maul is running around, Palpatine will no doubt be far behind. The cast of Rebels already has their hands full with Grand Admiral Thrawn and Darth Maul. Just how would they handle dealing with not only The Emperor but a Sith Lord at that?