The box office might not have been great, but the latest Star Wars film was a fun caper that filled in some fascinating parts of Han's origin story — and also included a jaw-dropping cameo or two.
**SPOILER WARNING: From this point on, there will be MAJOR SPOILERS for Solo: A Star Wars Story (and Avengers: Infinity War). If you have not seen the film and do not want to be spoiled, turn your ship around.**
Many Star Wars fans have pretty much classified the three prequels as bad dreams that they'd like to soon forget. That's why it was an insanely crazy reveal when Darth Maul showed up in the final moments of Solo: A Star Wars Story.
For longtime audiences of Rebels, his continued existence and leadership of the crime syndicate known as Crimson Dawn is a no-brainer, but for the rest of us, it was mind-blowing to see such a favorite character return to the live-action franchise after nearly 20 years. It was on par with seeing the return of Red Skull in Avengers: Infinity War. Despite the intense hatred of the prequels that exists, almost everyone agrees that Darth Maul was a shining beacon of awesomeness in an otherwise messy prequel trilogy.
Speaking to io9, Solo screenwriters Lawrence and Jonathan Kasdan explained how Maul's inclusion made its way into the finished anthology film.
“It was a sneaky ass process that I was fighting for all along,” said Jon, who is Lawrence's son. “I’ve [always] been a big Darth Maul fan. He was my favorite character in the prequel trilogy and I was determined that Dryden was not the top of the food chain. We both wanted the criminal underworld to feel way bigger than we could see in this movie. And that Han would be a minnow surrounded by sharks.”
The entire movie, characters allude to Dryden Vos' boss and the implication is that the folks at the top are even more ruthless and unforgiving than Vos. When Maul makes his hologram appearance on Dryden's yacht, telling Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke) to return to Dathomir, those hints pay off in a pretty big way, achieving a sort of thematic coup de grâce for the Kasdans.
“The larger theme is everybody works for somebody,” Lawrence said.
Ray Parker did the body work for Maul in Solo, just like he did in Phantom Menace. Instead of Peter Serafinowicz (The Tick) doing the voice, however, Sam Witwer was hired, as he provided the voice of the villain in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels. Since Alden Ehrenreich (young Han) has already confirmed that he's signed on for at least three movies, we can expect much more of Maul.
“The thing about Maul is that he is a character freighted with baggage,” Jon added. “From losing his mentor, from his defeat [at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi], from his long journey post that defeat, the Clone Wars, the Shadow Collective, we thought this is a character who comes with so much narrative richness that to glimpse him has power and the promise of stories to come.”