'Phantom Menace' Character Makes Surprising Appearance in 'Solo'

Ever since he first appeared in as Wicket the Ewok in Return of the Jedi, Warwick Davis has been a staple in the Star Wars franchise.

He's played characters in many movies since, and even has a voice role in Star Wars Rebels as Thrawn's formidable assassin Rukh. But it's his character in Solo: A Star Wars Story that harkens back to the first film in the saga.

Warning: Minor spoilers for Solo: A Star Wars Story below.

In the movie, Davis plays a member of the marauders known as the Cloud Riders, led by Enfys Nest. Everyone in the film wears different masks, and at one point a character removes theirs to reveal Warwick Davis, no makeup or alien costume to cover his face.

It's the first time Warwick has appeared as a humanoid in the franchise since Star Wars: The Phantom Menace when he played the role of Weazel, a spectator at the Boonta Eve Classic Podrace on Tatooine.

That's not just a coincidence, as the credits for Solo: A Star Wars Story confirm that Davis is playing the same character. Years after the events of The Phantom Menace, Weazel has joined the Cloud Riders and fights alongside Enfys Nest.

Of course, it doesn't explain just how Weazel has come this far or add any insight to his journey. That will likely be up to a future comic or novel to explore. It's just yet another interesting connection to the Star Wars lore, leaving more possibilities for story in the future, while giving Davis a more substantial part in the ongoing narrative.

Ron Howard, who previously directed Davis in the 1988 fantasy film Willow, spoke about the actor's role in the franchise and how important he is to Star Wars in general during the press conference for Solo.

"He’s a tradition and another master," Howard said. "He helps out with a lot of characters, a lot of the droids and things like that. He would come in and he goes uncredited, but he loves it and the company is smart enough to bring him and not only play a character, but to help with coaching and setting up and figuring out some of the behaviors."

Fans will get to see Davis' return to the franchise when Solo: A Star Wars Story premieres in theaters on May 25th.

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[h/t io9]