Darth Maul appearing in Solo: A Star Wars Story shouldn't come as that much of a surprise, after Rogue One: A Star Wars Story surprised Star Wars fans with those big surprise appearances from the likes of Moff Tarkin, Darth Vader, and a young Leia.
However, while Solo's setting and time period probably had a lot of fans expecting appearances from Original Trilogy icons the new Star Wars standalone actually pulls out a bigger twist, revealing the big villain from the Star Wars Prequels (as well as the Clone Wars and Rebels animated series) as a surprising part of its storyline.
Read below for the details - but only if you want to know!
Solo: A Star Wars Story revolves around a storyline involving a young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) and Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) being pulled into the heist caper of Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), who is trying to steal some powerful fuel on behalf of the crime syndicate, Crimson Dawn. For much of the film, Han believes the biggest threat form Crimson Dawn to be crime boss Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany), who is running Beckett; however, both Beckett and Han's childhood friend Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke) continuously warn Han that even someone like Dryden Vos answers to someone.
During Solo's climatic act, Qi'ra uses the final showdown between Han and Dryden Vos as an opportunity to kill Dryden (her boss and lover), and usurp his place within the inner circle of Crimson Dawn. In order to make the move official, Qi'ra contacts Vos' boss, and that when we get an epic cameo callback to the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy.
As it turns out, Crimson Dawn is run by none other than Darth Maul!
A lot of Star Wars movie fans will see this cameo at the end of Solo and walk away very confused; after all, in terms of the Star Wars movies, Maul was last seen being cut in half by Obi-Wan Kenobi and kicked into a pit, during the climatic battle of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace.
The answer for how Maul appears in Solo (and why he has cybernetic legs, to boot) is found in the canonized Star Wars animated series, Clone Wars and Rebels. In Clone Wars, we learn that Maul survived his injuries in The Phantom Menace; he limped around the edges of the galaxy mentally broken and physically crippled, until his brother, Savage Opress restores Maul using a combination of dark magic and cybernetic technology. Maul and Savage terrorized the planet Mandalore, conquering it as leaders of the crime syndicate, Shadow Collective. Maul and Savage were eventually ousted from power by Darth Sidious, who killed Savage and humbled Maul, before he could become a rival Sith Lord.
Rebels reveals that after the Clone Wars and the fall of the Republic, Maul waited out the transition of power in the galaxy by hiding on the planet Malachor. There, he tried to unlock secrets of an ancient Sith temple, in order to use its power to defeat both Darth Sidious and Darth Vader. It's around this point in Maul's story that we find him in Solo, apparently running Crimson Dawn from his home planet Dathomir, while still scheming to wrestle power from Sidious and Vader.
As a fan-favorite character, Darth Maul has gotten a serious reprieve from the seeming throwaway appearance he made in The Phantom Menace, as we've seen his story greatly expanded in both the animated series and Star Wars tie-ins, like the Son of Dathomir comic book series. If you're want to see more of the backstory leading up to this big Solo reveal, be sure to check those out!8comments
How do you feel about Darth Maul showing up in Solo: A Star Wars Story? Let us know in the comments!
Solo: A Star Wars Story is now in theaters; Star Wars: Episode IX arrives on December 20, 2019. Obi-Wan: A Star Wars Story is also in development, along with a new Star Wars trilogy from Last Jedi director Rian Johnson, and a spinoff series from Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.