The revival and final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars began by moving a lot of people into position before kicking off the epic Siege of Mandalore arc, which is now in its second episode on Disney+ with just two more to go before the series wraps up forever. The latest episode did a lot of heavy lifting for Darth Maul's future in the franchise before his eventual demise at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi, while also establishing that Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire might be made canon in the ongoing Star Wars saga. And it's all because of a certain crime lord who made a surprising appearance...
In the latest episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars "The Phantom Apprentice," Darth Maul and his loyal Mandalorian army attempts to thwart the 501st Legion. Maul anticipates that Darth Sidious is about to seize control of the galaxy and resists that rule, hoping to use Mandalore as a force against the inevitable uprising of the Empire.
Maul escapes with some of his allies while Ahsoka strategizes with Obi-Wan Kenobi, learning that her master Anakin Skywalker has murdered Count Dooku AKA Darth Tyranus in the rescue of Chancellor Palpatine. When Kenobi reveals to Ahsoka that the Jedi Council has asked Anakin to spy on Palpatine, fearing his motives and unsure of the Sith's influence on the Senate, Ahsoka surprisingly seems to side with Anakin.
Maul, who plans to "thrive in the chaos to come," reveals his plan to seize control of the criminal underworld in the galaxy, understanding that information is a commodity in an Empire-controlled universe.
The episode then reveals Maul conferencing with his Shadow Collective, including Dryden Vos of the Crimson Dawn, Lom Pyke of the Pyke Syndicate, and Prince Xizor of the Black Sun. This effectively confirms that Shadows of the Empire continues to have some affect on the Star Wars franchise, with that spinoff stunt's biggest villain confirmed to play a role in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
These events also set up Maul's role in Solo: A Star Wars Story, playing him as the mastermind of most every criminal syndicate in the Outer Rim and expanding his influence to undermine the Empire at every step.
We'll find out how these new developments shapes the events of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and Order 66 as the series concludes.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars is available to stream on Disney+.