George Lucas cut a very different version of the fight between Obi-Wan Kenobi and General Grievous in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. One of the most dangerous Separatist leaders, General Grievous was introduced in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith as a particular threat to Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Jedi assigned to take him down. Viewers have recently become a lot more interested in General Grievous, though, because it’s becoming clear Lucas toyed with other ideas for the character. It’s recently been revealed General Grievous was originally intended to be a resurrected Darth Maul, giving a much more personal reason for Obi-Wan to take the Separatist leader on.
Speaking to Star Wars Theory in a recent interview, stunt coordinator Nick Gillard revealed another intriguing parallel between early versions of Darth Maul and General Grievous. He recalled an early fight he choreographed between Obi-Wan and Grievous, back when he had only two arms.
“General Grievous had only two arms, and his fight with Obi was quite a private affair, there wasn’t anybody else around and they had a massive fight, a real massive fight with… He would have a staff, it was kind of like a Darth Maul fight, but on another level… Obi’s basically trying to get his organic parts out of his chest all the way through it… That was a lovely fight, that we haven’t got to see.”
Gillard doesn’t overtly state as much, but it certainly sounds as though this early iteration of General Grievous was the Darth Maul version.
How Long Did George Lucas Plan General Grievous As A Resurrected Darth Maul?
It’s becoming clear Lucas really did consider the idea of having General Grievous be the resurrected Darth Maul. Lucas seems to have quickly realized he had wasted a tremendous character, considering finding a way to bring him back for the end of the prequels. J.W. Rinzler’s The Making of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith contains hints at this, with Lucas looking at initial concept art for Grievous and dismissing it as too “devilish” – a term that is certainly reminiscent of Darth Maul’s fearsome appearance. Now, it seems fight choreography initially gave the two-armed design of General Grievous a weapon akin to Maul’s double-bladed lightsaber.
The Making of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith also hints at the reason Lucas decided to abandon the idea; faced with this “devilish” design, he responds to comments about turning Grievous into a cyborg with warnings he shouldn’t be too similar to Darth Vader. A Sith Apprentice, defeated by Obi-Wan Kenobi, transformed into a powerful cyborg, strikes all the same story beats as Darth Vader – meaning this earliest version of General Grievous would have felt somewhat repetitive.
Lucas found a way to fix his Darth Maul mistake, however, resurrecting Maul in Star Wars: The Clone Wars instead. Maul became one of the animated show’s best-loved characters, sworn enemy of Obi-Wan Kenobi, and his vendetta even spilled over into some of the best episodes of Star Wars Rebels. Darth Maul may not have come back as General Grievous in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, but he was far from wasted.
Source: Star Wars Theory
More: Star Wars Just Proved Mace Windu Was RIGHT To Kill Palpatine