When Solo: A Star Wars Story landed in theaters, one of the biggest surprises for audiences was seeing Darth Maul appear in the film's final moments, who was physically played by Ray Park and voiced by Sam Witwer, with the latter actor revealing that the character's role in the final film was quite different from what was originally planned. Witwer went on to note that he wasn't allowed to divulge all of the details of Maul's original involvement, only teasing that one version of his cameo involved him making guttural snarls. In this regard, it would seem as though Maul played a much more intimidating character than what we saw in Star Wars: The Clone Wars or Star Wars Rebels where he was voiced by Witwer.
"There was stuff that had to happen once I got hired," Witwer shared with SW Holocron. "There was a reshoot that had to happen because people like me and (Clone Wars and Rebels creator) Dave Filoni were letting them know there were a lot of details that weren't consistent. That's not me saying these people didn't know what they were doing because they were making a movie and doing it at lightspeed. Ultimately, they did the right thing because they hired the people who were the experts on this like Dave Filoni and, I dare say, me, because I'm kind of an expert on what we've been doing with Maul for the past decade, y'know? They were very open to hearing what we had to say and, again, they were so open that they did a reshoot."
He added, "Like I said, you can have the most talented people in the world and people can still drop the ball for a second. It's always the willingness to go and pick it back up that I give people credit for. I don't want to say that what (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace voice actor Peter) Serafinowicz was doing was bad. It just didn't sound recognizable as the character from The Phantom Menace nor the character from Clone Wars. It was a totally different thing. They needed people to recognize the voice, so there it is."
Many fans were shocked to see Maul at all, given his seeming demise at the end of The Phantom Menace, but in animated Star Wars series, fans knew he survived his encounter with Obi-Wan Kenobi and went on to run a crime syndicate. Witwer's comments seem to imply that the film originally leaned into his ruthless nature instead of the calm and collected crime lord he went on to become.
Witwer teased, "(There were) a lot of things in this script where he growls, he does this, he does that."
It's unclear if he withheld details about that original role because those plans might be utilized for the character at some point or if his contract prevented him from detailing his experience, but the actor joked, "In 20 years, when I'm fully an old man and don't care about anything, I will say things that will blow people's minds and make national news and stuff. But no, I'm not that stupid yet."
Maul can be seen in new episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which debut on Fridays on Disney+.