Last summer, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy fired directing duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller from Solo: A Star Wars Story and brought on Ron Howard to finish the movie. One silver lining of this turbulent transition period was that we got a surprise Darth Maul cameo out of the deal, as it was Howard who pushed hard for his inclusion in the film, revealing him as the leader of Crimson Dawn (a galactic crime syndicate) right before the end.
Like in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Maul was brought to life by Ray Park, an actor and choreographer. The only change was that the character was voiced by Sam Witwer (who voiced Maul in Star Wars: The Clone Wars), rather than Peter Serafinowicz (The Tick). While speaking to Forbes, Park revealed the phone call that brought the former Sith lord back into our lives.
"I found out last June/July," he said of the time period when Lucasfilm was scrambling to find a replacement director. "I got the phone call from Lynne Hale from Lucasfilm. And it was really nice of her, because she said to me 'Ray, we're just calling to see if you would like to do it.' And I went [inhales slowly] 'Yeah. Do you want me on the plane now?'”
Watch the Maul scene below, courtesy of IGN:
Unless you were already a big fan of the animated shows on Disney XD, seeing Maul return was a slap in the face moment and we mean that in the best way possible. He was the last person (or Dathomirian, we should say) you'd expect to show up in a movie about Han Solo's origin. None of us saw it coming and that's somewhat of a miracle, since Park nearly spoiled everything on his Instagram page.
"I may have deleted a bunch, but if you go back and check all my Instagram posts, I was secretly telling everyone, but no-one knew," he said.
For example, last August he posted a selfie with the caption of: "Now... I wonder why i shaved my hair a wee while ago? #sith #sithlife#secrets #baldy #cleanshaved #starwars#solo #maul #surprise #london #besttime#thankyou."
Makes you wonder how Disney and Lucasfilm didn't immedately demand that he take this one down.
While making Phantom Menace, Park was given the full screenplay, but on Solo, he was only given the pages for his short appearance.
"A couple of sheets of what was going on beforehand, and then what was happening, and it's pretty cool, because Sam [Witwer] did the voice and it was a different process for me. It was hearing the voice and then acting as well, so I really enjoyed this experience."
"If anything ever happens in the future and the character is back, and it's me? I have a lot of great ideas of what I'd like to do with it," he said.