After months of rumors, chaos, and hype, the brand new Star Wars spinoff movie has finally premiered in theaters.
Solo: A Star Wars Story packed in many winks and nods at the ongoing saga into its run time, but one surprising inclusion had fans gasping in the theaters when one of the film's best kept secrets villains was finally revealed, with many left wondering what it means for the future of the franchise.
Warning: MAJOR spoilers for Solo: A Star Wars Story below.
At the end of the film, when Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) has gotten the upper hand on the crime syndicate known as the Crimson Dawn, his childhood friend and love interest Qi'Ra stays behind to contact her leader and inform him of Dryden Vos' death.
Qi'Ra speaks to a hooded man via hologram project, and he is none too pleased to find out his underling has been killed. The hood falls back, revealing none other than the former Sith lord Darth Maul as the true leader of the Crimson Dawn crime syndicate. He brandishes his lightsaber as an intimidation tactic, then tells Qi'Ra to meet him on Dathomir, promising they were going to work much closer together moving forward.
The scene ends with Qi'Ra abandoning Han Solo, though she does not betray him — she's kept his role in Dryden Vos' death a secret, perhaps in an effort to protect him, though it's unclear what her true motivations are.
This makes Darth Maul's second big screen appearance after he was chopped in half and left for dead in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Actor Ray Park reprises the role once again, while animated series veteran Sam Witwer provides the familiar voice that fans of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels have grown accustomed to.
The move sets up some obvious implications for the future of the Star Wars galaxy, and could easily serve as a launching point for a new series of movies. As the end of Solo: A Star Wars Story indicates, the future is bright for Han and Chewbacca, even if crippling debt is looming on the horizon.
With Qi'Ra and Darth Maul positioned as threats to the fledgling smugglers' future, we'd be baffled if this storyline doesn't show up in a future spinoff movie, or a likely sequel to Solo. Maul's story has already been wrapped up in Star Wars Rebels, and given there's a lot that has to happen between Solo and his fateful encounter with Ben Kenobi on Tatooine, there's a lot of ground to cover here.
If Lucasfilm does make a sequel to Solo: A Star Wars Story, expect to see Darth Maul play a MAJOR role in the movie's plot.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is now playing in theaters.