One of the greatest things about Star Wars is speculating and theorizing. There was no better time to get lost in the wonder than during the Prequel Trilogy.
This article covers one of my personal favorite theories:
Sifo-Dyas, Darth Maul, and General Grievous were all the same character.
This was a theory that began with Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Keep in mind that at that time, Lucasfilm was still an independent studio, The Clone Wars series didn’t exist, and the prequel trilogy had not yet been completed. While the future is always in motion, the present was at hand.
In 1999 Darth Maul had been introduced in Episode I: The Phantom Menace. He was cool looking, skilled, scary, and carried that awesome double bladed lightsaber. The Jedi believed The Sith to have been extinct for a thousand years up until this point, but Qui-Gon Jinn instantly recognized Maul’s skillset as Sith in origin. As the narrative of TPM played out, Maul engaged in battle with Jinn and his Padawan learner, Obi-Wan Kenobi. He was able to hold his own despite being out numbered and killed Qui-Gon while Obi-Wan found himself stuck behind an energy field. Once free from the energy field, Obi-Wan and Maul clash resulting in Maul being cut in half and falling down a shaft to certain death…
2002 rolls around and the Saga continues with Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Obi-Wan discovers that the cloners on Kamino have created a clone army for The Republic. Much to his surprise, Kenobi is told that the army was ordered by Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas almost 10 years prior. What happened next is where this theory is born. Obi-Wan reports back to Yoda and Mace Windu telling them what he had learned. He explicitly tells them that the Kaminoans said Sifo-Dyas ordered the clones “almost ten years ago…” and then continues out loud saying “I was under the impression that he was killed before that?”
How could the clones have been ordered almost 10 years ago if the person who ordered them was killed prior to ten years ago? And speaking of ten years ago, at the time of AOTC, the events of TPM were ten years ago! So…… What if Sifo-Dyas wasn’t killed prior to ten years ago, but rather disappeared. What if he did so to the leave the Jedi Order and become a Sith? The timeline of the films and the dialog certainly makes this possible. Also keep in mind that we had no information on Sifo-Dyas at this point in time, so his species was unknown to us, making it possible for him to have been a Zabrak like Darth Maul.
If Sifo-Dyas was Maul, why didn’t Qui-Gon recognize him? That answer could be as simple as a haircut and some ink. Jedi Master Eeth Koth was a Zabrak. He had long hair and some facial tattoos, which seemed customary to the species. Its is not a far leap at all the think that you would not recognize someone you know if they shaved their long hair and got fully tattooed.
To recap the theory thus far, Sifo-Dyas faked his death and left the Jedi Order prior to the events of TPM to become Sith Lord, Darth Maul. This is why Obi-Wan was under the impression that Sifo-Dyas was killed prior to the clone army being ordered. But wait. It gets better…
Move forward to 2005 and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. One of the first things people were talking about was how General Grievous being a cyborg was a precursor to Vader and being more “machine than man”. Star Wars was founded on the idea of reoccurring themes and rhyming narratives, so a prototype cyborg certainly wouldn’t be out of the question.
Imagine this: During the final showdown between Grievous and Kenobi, Grievous grabs Obi-Wan and pulls him in eye to eye and says “I ordered the clones…. and I killed your Master!” Right there in a single line of dialog Sifo-Dyas, Darth Maul, and General Grievous become the same character.
Oh, and did you see Grievous’ eyes? You know, the yellow ones with the red and black skin around them…….
This “What If” works perfectly in the context of the films alone and timeline so much that I truly question whether or not it was a scrapped concept. Ultimately we find out that Dooku ordered the clones using Sifo-Dyas’ name, Maul did survive TPM and become a cyborg, and Grievous was a non-Force using war machine cyborg with his own identity.