How That Shocking Cameo Made it into Solo: A Star Wars Story

There were some beloved characters that were resurrected in Solo from Han to Lando. We were also super pumped to see the new faces including Qi’ra, Beckett, and Val. There was one familiar face we didn’t expect to pop up, however. We can’t get into it without some serious spoilers, so stop now if you haven’t made it to the theater yet.

Ok, let’s talk about that cameo. Yes, we’re talking about Darth Maul – double-sided lightsaber and all. But wait, many of us are still confused. Didn’t Darth Maul die in The Phantom Menace, which occurred before Solo? Simply put, no.

Turns out that Darth Maul actually survived being cut in half by Obi-Wan. Since we last saw him, Darth Maul has acquired some new bionic legs and has risen to become a crime boss. The result of his criminal activities was the creation of the Crimson Dawn, the crime syndicate featured in Solo. The whole time, Dryden Vos and Qi’ra were merely serving under Maul’s command. Director Ron Howard told /Film that the holographic figure Qi’ra called was originally a placeholder. However, Howard knew Maul was the right fit.

Ron Howard: I will say that was scripted and there was a lot of uncertainty as to who that character would be. So it was sort of initially written in a rather generic way. It just sort of said “Boss”.  And I thought when I came in, I assumed they knew who it was and they were just keeping it under wraps. And they didn’t. But Maul was listed as one of the candidates. And I lobbied hard for that. I thought that made a lot of sense to me. I found that character to be really effective. And I knew for a fact, without asking directly and giving anything away, my son Reed who just turned 31, who’s a dedicated Star Wars fan, he’s a golfer.  He’s not in the business. Dedicated Star Wars fan. I just whispered that possibility and he just thought that would be incredibly cool.  And so for that generation, I thought, well that was gonna be a pretty interesting idea.  And doing a little more research and understanding sort of how the character had worked elsewhere, I thought it was good.  And the Kasdan’s were on board with that.  And but then we actually shot it twice.  Because we did it once.  And then we realized we, it wasn’t quite Maul enough yet.

Solo editor Pietro Scalia explained how Maul’s appearance brought depth to Qi’ra’s character. Dryden even expressed fear of the unknown Crimson Dawn overlord. Qi’ra had no such trepidations and was even willing to lie to Maul to ascend in the organization.

Scalia: The thing is, I think it had to do with the surprise element, the dialogue between Maul and Qi’ra, and really, what is his presence? How does it effect what Qi’ra is doing? I think the original scene was a little… I don’t know. It was fine, but there were certain things that they wanted to change dialogue-wise, saying less, and creating a little more fear in Qi’ra. It was [originally] too simplistic; she easily goes with this villain. I think Ron wanted to get a little more depth and layers in the performance, because it’s a devil’s pact taking this on.

The idea of Maul’s criminal underworld brings up so many possibilities. We could see more heists in the galaxy far-far away. Lucasfilm could even toy with the idea of a Maul-centered crime-lord trilogy. Perhaps most interestingly, because Maul’s rise as a crime boss is only documented in the animated series The Clone Wars and Rebels, his re-appearance creates precedent for more storylines from those series to be brought to the big screen.

With a movie about Obi-Wan Kenobi’s exile on Tatooine in development, the re-inclusion of Darth Maul in the movies creates at least one potential plot line. In Rebels, Obi-Wan actually succeeds in killing Maul on Tatooine, after Maul has spent years looking to exact his revenge on him. Bring Maul’s criminal empire into the mix, and there are a few stories to tell there.

Like the Star Wars universe, the possibilities now truly endless.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is currently in theaters.

Featured Image: Emilia Clarke is Qi’ra and Alden Ehrenreich is Han Solo in SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY.