There will be ***MASSIVE SPOILERS*** in this post for anyone who has not seen Solo: A Star Wars Story yet! (What are you waiting for? It is a ton of fun!)
Solo is a pretty predictable ride from start to finish. While that doesn’t mean its not enjoyable (it totally is!), it was a huge surprise to see a cameo from a character you would least expect to see in a Han Solo film.
Going in, I was expecting some sort of cameo. Jabba the Hutt, Boba Fett, Cassian Andor, or Chewbacca’s family from the Holiday Special seemed like safe bets. But the character who actually appeared was completely unexpected.
(This is your last chance to turn away)
It is revealed at the end of the film that Dryden Vos is working for the leader of the Crimson Dawn, and that leader is non other than….Darth Maul!
Jon Kasdan talked to Uproxx about the cameo, and how there are seeds planted throughout the film hinting at Maul’s appearance:
“I was really passionate about him all the way through,” says Jonathan Kasdan. “I sort of had planted the seeds early and I wanted it to be built that way. And I wanted to reference certain forms of martial arts that might lead to it. And the presence of someone who was so terrifying in this crime world that you just had to know he was the guy who could control someone like Dryden. So he was part of the DNA of the thing.”
If I have my timeline right, this Maul is after we see him in The Clone Wars but before he shows up stranded on a planet in Star Wars: Rebels. That opens up a lot of story potential for him. I’d watch a Qi’ra/Maul movie. Wouldn’t you? Kasdan tells Variety that he agrees:
Maul had gone into this criminal underworld and this particular period in his life was left vague and gray in the canon,” Kasdan says. “That gave us an opening to say, ‘OK, can we use that character, and if so, does he fit really nicely into a world of scary people?’”
Ray Park reprised the role of Maul nearly 20 years after his only other cinematic appearance. Sam Witwer provided his voice as he did in the cartoons. Reports Variety:
A crew member who worked on the production says the scene was filmed on a closed set with minimal crew, but not before Park got a hero’s welcome. “Everyone was told, ‘Keep your mouth shut,’” the crew member says. “But ultimately word spread through the crew and every f—ing crew member ended up on stage. Everyone was geeked out. When Park walked onto the stage in regalia and the paint, everyone started clapping.”
The Kasdans, meanwhile, had even gone to great lengths to keep the appearance a mystery on the page as well, preempting spillage in the event of a screenplay leak. “It was never specifically named in the script,” Kasdan says. “It just said, ‘A character too secret to ever name.’ Everyone did a great job of keeping it secret, and Ray was such a delight.”
I was spoiled on the cameo about a week or two before the movie, but to see the theater react to it was a treat. Shock was the biggest reaction, while a few people who were not familiar with the cartoons were a bit confused. It was fun to experience.
I hope that we get to see cinematic Maul in the future. While we know his fate already, that hardly matters as we knew Vader’s fate, and got the prequels, and Han’s fate but could still enjoy Solo.
How did you react to seeing Maul on the big screen again? Would you like to see him return?