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Darth Maul returning to the Star Wars universe was one of my favorite things about the Clone Wars TV series. It fleshed out his character so much more than the first prequel movie did, creating an interesting story arc that spanned many years. It all started with Savage Opress, though.
While we didn’t know he was Maul’s brother at first, his story got so much more interesting when we did know. In this bio, I’m going to explain everything about Savage Opress and how he started as a kindhearted person and turned into one of the most menacing villains during the Clone Wars.
Bottom Line Up Front: Savage Opress was a Sith Lord during the Clone Wars. He was initially recruited by Assaj Ventress as a tool to take down Count Dooku, but he betrayed both Dooku and Ventress eventually after breaking free from her control. He then found his long-lost brother, Darth Maul. The two of them wreaked havoc on the galaxy in a revenge attempt on Obi-Wan Kenobi. They then created the Shadow Collective to rival the Sith Order. Savage Opress was eventually killed by Darth Sidious after he deemed him and Maul a threat to his plans of galactic conquest.
In his early life, Savage Opress was a kind and gentle Dathomirian Zabrak. The Zabraks of Dathomir were known as Nightbrothers and Nightsisters. The Nightbrothers were ruled by the Nightsisters, acting as the brute force of the group. The head Nightsister was a woman named, Mother Talzin, and she and the rest of the Nightsisters were known to use dark magic that came from the Dark Side of the Force.
Savage had a brother named Feral, and he was incredibly protective over him. The Nightbrothers had many dangerous traditions, and Savage always looked out for his brother.
The catalyst to Savage becoming the brutal monster that most people know was when Assaj Ventress came to Dathomir to find a suitable warrior for her to use. Her plan was to select one of the Nightbrothers and send them to Count Dooku to be trained. She wanted revenge on Dooku for abandoning her, so the Nightbrother she sent was to betray Dooku after getting trained by him.
Assajj and Mother Talzin enforced a trial of selection, and Savage and Feral were two of the Nighbrothers that took part. Savage passed all the trials while protecting his brother through them. They were so harsh that most of the Nightbrothers were killed. At the end of it, only Savage and Feral remained. Savage begged for Feral to be spared even though he never passed all the trials. He was spared, and Savage was taken to Assaj and Talzin to undergo a transformation.
Mother Talzin and the Nightsisters performed a ritual and used their magic to enhance Savage. He grew taller, his muscles grew bigger, and the horns on his head grew longer. This ritual made him stronger and more menacing. However, it also put him under the control of Assajj Ventress.
To test his loyalty, they made him kill Feral, the brother that he so carefully protected up until that point. The new and controlled Savage choked his brother to death with no hesitation. Assaj and Talzin were satisfied with what they had created, and they sent Savage to Dooku to become a Dark Acolyte.
Dooku happily accepted Savage Opress. He started training him in the ways of the Dark Side. However, he initially sent him on a mission as a test before doing that. Savage was sent to a temple on Devaron where a Jedi Master and his Padawan were defending it from Separatist forces. Savage broke into the temple and slew the Master and Padawan with his bare hands. This was his first of many in a brutal series of murders.
After that, Savage Opress started using a double-bladed lightsaber, and Dooku trained him to use it along with the Force. Their training sessions were harsh, and Dooku constantly shocked Savage with Force lightning whenever he failed.
His time with Dooku eventually ended after Dooku sent him to capture the Toydarian King, Katuunko. Savage accidentally killed him and brought Dooku his dead corpse. Count Dooku disapproved of this and started shocking Savage with Force lightning. Assajj Ventress arrived and tried to enact her plan of using Savage to take Dooku down.
This plan never worked, though, as Savage Opress wasn’t strong enough to overthrow Dooku. Assajj started taunting him because of this, and Savage snapped out of her control. Fueled by his rage, he attacked both of them. Assaj and Dooku escaped, leaving Savage alone and unsure what to do. He decided to go back to Dathomir and seek guidance from Mother Talzin.
Talzin informed Savage that his brother, Maul, was still alive. She tasked him with finding Maul and bringing him back to Dathomir. When Savage brought Maul back to the Nightsisters, Maul had lost his mind. However, the Nightsisters used their magic to bring him back to normal, and Darth Maul had officially returned.
Maul’s first plan of action was to get revenge on Obi-Wan Kenobi for cutting him in half. On their first attempt, the brothers defeated Kenobi and kept him prisoner to torture on their ship. Kenobi was saved by Assajj Ventress as she was trying to cash in on a bounty that was put on Savage.
After that, Savage and Maul continued to follow Maul’s next plan of galactic domination. Along the way, Maul instructed Savage to become his Sith apprentice. Savage protested at first, but Maul easily beat him into submission.
The two of them built up a crime syndicate called the Shadow Collective. The goal of the Shadow Collective was to rival the Sith Order that Maul knew Palpatine was building. Some people joined it by choice, others were forced to after the brothers almost killed them. The Shadow Collective included some of the Mandalorian Death Watch crew, the Pyke Syndicate, the Black Sun and Crimson Dawn gangs, and the Hutt Clan.
The key relationship in the Shadow Collective was between Maul and Savage and Pre Vizsla. Pre Vizsla was the Mandalorian in charge of Death Watch, and he heavily protested the pacificist ways of the current government in power on Mandalore. Maul saw this as a fantastic way of gaining a solid post in the galaxy, so he helped Pre Vizsla take over Mandalore.
The plan was for Maul and Savage to pose as threats to the Mandalorian people, and then Pre Vizsla and Death Watch would come and save the day. This convinced the Mandalorians to put them in power instead of Dutchess Satine as they saw that Satine and the current government couldn’t defend the planet if anyone ever attacked.
The plan worked and Pre Vizsla was put in power. However, he betrayed Maul and Savage and imprisoned them. The brothers escaped from prison and Maul challenged Vizsla to one-on-one combat. Maul won the battle and killed Vizsla, proclaiming himself as the leader of Mandalore.
Obi-Wan Kenobi came to save the Dutchess, and Maul murdered her in front of him. This fulfilled his revenge plot against Kenobi as he knew that they were love interests.
While all of this was happening, Darth Sidious came to Mandalore to eliminate the threat of Savage and Maul. Maul knew of Sidious’ plans, so he had to eradicate the brothers to keep the secret. While the two brothers were able to fight Sidious for some time, they were no match for the Sith Lord when they fought him individually.
Sidious killed Savage Opress and captured Maul. As Savage died, the magic that transformed him disappeared and he reverted to his normal body. He expressed how he was sorry that he could never live up to Maul in his dying breath.
- Savage goes through Assajj Ventress’ trials of selection. He passes all the trials and goes through a body transformation caused by the magic of Mother Talzin and the Nightsisters.
- Assajj Ventress and Mother Talzin force Savage to kill his brother.
- Savage gets trained by Count Dooku to use the Force and wield a double-bladed lightsaber.
- Assajj Ventress orders Savage to kill Dooku, but Dooku is too powerful. Savage turns on both of them and retreats back to Dathomir.
- Mother Talzin sends Savage to find his brother, Maul. Maul is found, has his mind restored, and is given metal legs.
- Savage and Maul attempt to kill Obi-Wan Kenobi. Kenobi is saved by Assajj Ventress.
- Savage and Maul form the Shadow Collective and cause a bit of havoc across the galaxy.
- Savage and Maul help Pre Vizsla take over Mandalore. Maul kills Vizsla and proclaims himself as Mandalore’s leader with Savage at his side.
- Savage is killed by Darth Sidious on Mandalore and Maul is captured.
Savage Opress Themes
I’ve always found Savage Opress to be an incredibly tragic character. While he’s a menacing villain during the Clone Wars, he never started off that way. It also wasn’t his choice to become a killing machine.
When we first meet him, he’s very kind and his loving nature is shown through his support of his brother, Feral. It makes me wonder whether Maul was like that before being taken by Sidious many years before.
Savage’s kind personality was completely stripped away from him when Talzin used her magic to create a monster out of him. Even after Savage broke free from Ventress’ control, he maintained the monstrous personality and continued to viciously murder people that came in his and Maul’s way.
He was using the Dark Side of the Force at this point, so that could be another contributing factor to his kind nature disappearing.
Relationship with Maul
Savage Opress’ connection to Maul is what made him such an intriguing character in the Clone Wars. I’d argue that without Maul, he wouldn’t have appeared in so many episodes. His character arc would have easily ended after failing to kill Count Dooku.
I remember how elated I was to find out that Darth Maul was still alive, and this knowledge made me even more interested in Savage as he was his brother.
However, Maul and Savage’s relationship was incredibly different from Feral and Savage’s relationship. It was a violent one as Savage and Maul were both fully-fledged Dark Side users at this point. I don’t think anyone who uses the Dark Side can have a happy family dynamic.
Maul even began seeing Savage as his Sith apprentice instead of as his brother. In the true nature of the Sith, Maul would’ve killed Savage if he really needed to. I’m not too sure if Savage would have done the same after looking back at how he treated Feral. Even though he was a brutal killer at this point, I like to think that he valued having Maul around.
There are so many family dynamics in the Star Wars universe, and the relationship between Maul and Savage is one of the more interesting ones.
Life of Servitude
Another tragic aspect regarding Savage Opress was that he was never in control of what he was doing. He constantly served others. Initially, he was serving Assajj Ventress. He thoughtlessly killed his brother at her command. After that, he served Count Dooku. He did multiple missions for him, using his brute force and scary nature to get the jobs done.
He then served Maul. Even though he was free from the control of Ventress and Dooku, Maul utilized him in the exact same way that they did. Savage was always a tool used to either kill people or scare them into submission.
He was never able to make his own decisions. Instead, he was made to be an enforcer of decisions made by other people. That’s quite sad when you think about it. So, while he initially seems to be a simple hulking villain, there’s plenty of depth to explore behind his actions.
Things like this make you realize how brilliant the Clone Wars TV series was. I hated Savage when watching the show as a kid, but I understand him when watching as an adult, and I feel incredibly sorry for him.
His death by Sidious was the final blow in his life of servitude. While he never chose to be involved in the Clone Wars, he’s the one who paid the ultimate price. His brother Maul was the one who had grand plans for the two of them. Savage simply followed.
However, Maul survived and lived through to see the Great Galactic War. Savage, on the other hand, was killed after Sidious deemed them too dangerous to continue their plans.
Dooku planned on using Savage to kill Sidious, but Sidious killed Savage without even knowing that information.
Savage Opress’ prime ability was his intense strength. He was arguably one of the strongest characters in the Clone Wars, and he was able to easily beat people to death with his bare hands. This was largely due to the magic that the Nightsisters had filled him with. However, he was one of the best fighters in his clan before Assajj Ventress came into the picture.
When he started using a double-bladed lightsaber, he still relied on his strength to fight his opponents. This brutality worked in his favor as he was able to hold his own against formidable foes such as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker.
Savage was also a strong Force user. We see him using telekinesis, Force choke, and Force push on multiple occasions. One of his most prominent acts of Force usage was when he threw his lightsaber to decapitate multiple Black Sun members at once when he and Maul were growing the Shadow Collective.
Savage was able to kill Adi Gallia, one of the members of the Jedi Council. The Jedi Council members were all incredibly powerful Jedi Masters, making this murder one of Savage’s greatest.
- “Feral, try not to draw attention to yourself.” – Savage Opress giving his brother advice in order to protect him.
- “I foresee we will do great things together. I shall teach you the ways of the Dark Side.” – Count Dooku accepting Savage Opress as his apprentice.
- “You have been lost, my brother. Do you remember who you are? Where you came from?” – Savage upon first finding his brother, Maul.
- “I shall complete your training. Not as your brother, but as your Master.” – Maul after beating Savage into submission.
- “Quiet.” – Savage wasn’t much for words. Instead, he stood as an enforcer as Maul did the talking.
- “Brother. I am an unworthy apprentice. I’m not like you. I never was.” – Savage’s last words to Maul as he died at the hands of Darth Sidious.
Question: Is Savage Opress Older Than Maul?
Answer: There was never any mention of ages in any Canon stories. The Clone Wars TV series simply mentions that Savage and Maul were brothers. However, there is a comic book in the Legends continuity that mentions that Savage is slightly older.
Since nothing has been said to counter this in Canon, we can assume it’s true in the current story. However, the story of Savage and Maul has been retconned a few times over the years in books and comic books. So, you always need to take things like this with a pinch of salt.
Question: How Powerful was Savage Opress?
Answer: Savage Opress was incredibly powerful. A highly interesting fact that proves this is that he’s one of the only people to fight all 4 Sith Lords that were seen in the prequel era. He fought Darth Maul, Count Dooku, Anakin Skywalker, and Darth Sidious.
While he never outwardly won any of those battles, he still held his own. He also killed a Jedi Master with his bare hands at one point, and he killed Adi Gallia who was a member of the Jedi Council.
All those feats prove that he was an incredibly powerful force to be reckoned with.
Question: What Species is Savage Opress?
Answer: He was a Dathomirian Zabrak. The Zabrak species originally comes from Iridonia, but a few of them settled on the planet, Dathomir. The Dathomir Zabraks were fairly different from the Iridonian Zabraks.
They became known as the Nightsisters and Nightbrothers, and the Nightbrothers served the Nightsisters. While the Nightbrothers were fighters, the Nightsisters practiced Dark Side magic.
At the time of Savage Opress being alive, the Dathomirian Zabraks were led by a Nightsister known as Mother Talzin. Talzin played a massive role in the Clone Wars, even trading Dark Side secrets with Darth Sidious before the war began.
Question: Was Savage Opress Brainwashed?
Answer: Savage Opress went through a ritual of dark magic performed by Talzin and the Nightsisters. This enhanced his body and put him under the control of Assajj Ventress. So, he was brainwashed at first, but he broke free of her control when the two of them fought Count Dooku.
He then served Maul, but he wasn’t brainwashed by him. Instead, he served him as his Sith Master until Savage’s death at the hands of Darth Sidious.
As you can see from this bio, there isn’t much of a story concerning Savage without his brother, Maul. Savage Opress was used as the plot tool to bring Darth Maul back into the Star Wars universe. It was one of the most memorable parts of the entire Clone Wars TV series.
Savage started as a kind brother, but he ended as a threatening enforcer that many people were fearful of. He was forced into becoming a killing machine, and he tragically died in his brother Maul’s arms.
While his story was tragic, it’s important to remember that he murdered multiple Jedi that was doing their best to save lives. Even though he never had a choice in what he did, he was still a villain at the end of the day.
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