Major Spoilers for Solo. Also some spoilers for Rebels.
I didn’t know when a good time would be to talk about this moment in Solo: A Star Wars Story. It seemed like a lot of people put off watching Solo so I didn’t want to jump in a talk about this big reveal until more people got a chance to watch the movie. I’m still not 100% sure how many people have actually seen the movie at this point, but I want to address it while its still a bit relevant.
So, I think its fair to say that we all expected a cameo or two in Solo: A Star Wars Story. I figured there was a pretty strong chance that we saw Jabba the Hutt, possibly Boba Fett too. Turns out we got neither, and we got some no one was really expecting. Darth Maul. Turns out that the villain of The Phantom Menace is actually the guy behind Dryden Voss’ organization. Qi’ra has a conversation with him via hologram at the end of the film and then ditches Han and Chewie to meet him on his home planet Dathomir.
Unfortunately I was stupid enough to look at the cast list of this movie the day before I went to see it. I just so happened to see the name Ray Park jump out at me. Park played Maul in The Phantom Menace and he plays him again here. Although Sam Witwer, who voiced the character in both The Clone Wars and Rebels provides the voice for the character. I may have gotten Maul’s surprise cameo spoiled but I still had no context to why he was involved in the movie.
This reveal means a lot more for casual fans, who assumed that Darth Maul died when he was cut in half on Naboo in The Phantom Menace but Star Wars canon has established that he actually lived much longer than that. He returns during The Clone Wars and Rebels, but if you didn’t watch either of those shows it would make sense why you think he was dead at this point in the timeline. Really, Rebels does take place at some point after Solo, and Maul is dead for good shortly after that. He pops back up in the Rebels era searching for some Sith artifacts. Then he eventually squares off with his old rival Obi Wan Kenobi one last time and he’s defeated by him once again and killed for good.
Apparently Maul (who is Maul, not Darth Maul, because he’s no longer a Sith) was added into the movie as a recommendation from director Ron Howard. The character in the script was just referred to as “the boss”. I’m assuming that the Kasdan’s intended someone important to play that character, but were waiting for some instruction from Lucasfilm before they made any firm decisions.
I’m interested to see if this is all we’ll actually see from Maul in live action or if he will be explored again in another spinoff movie. I wouldn’t be shocked if Solo was the start of a series of Underworld Star Wars movies that all tie in with one another slightly. So it’d make sense if Maul had at least a small role in that as well, but he’ll eventually have to lose possession of this criminal organization so he can be where he needs to be for Rebels. It does sort of seem like Lucasfilm missed out on an opportunity to kill Maul off in a film rather than an animated TV show that only a small percentage of fans watch.
I felt like putting Jabba the Hutt in this scene would’ve made a little bit more sense, but again, there is still a possibility that Maul could be working for Jabba too. It opens an unexpected can of worms, but I’m curious to see how Lucasfilm will explore it in the coming years. The only thing that handcuffs Lucasfilm a bit is that Maul can’t really formally meet Han Solo, because when Han appears in A New Hope he has no belief in the Force. I’d assume if we did get a Solo sequel Qi’ra would have a part to play and possibly Maul too. I’m sure after this tease some effort will have to be made to resolve this storyline. I just don’t have any idea how they will do it yet.
What do you think of Maul’s appearance in Solo: A Star Wars Story?