Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Solo: A Star Wars Story
Solo: A Star Wars Story's big Darth Maul cameo wasn't in the script to make sure it didn't get out, writers Lawrence and Jon Kasdan reveal. Pulling off the surprise was more complicated than expected, considering that Lucasfilm had to use two talents to bring back the conniving former Sith Lord: first, there's Ray Park, who once again, provided the physical presence for the character much like in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace; and second, Sam Witwer, who has provided the voice for the character in the past.
Despite the film being heavily covered and scrutinized over the last few months, there was no word whatsoever regarding Maul's super secret cameo in Solo, which is impressive in the current era of rampant leaks and spoilers. As it turns out, the scene was one of the last things filmed in the movie, and was shot on a closed set with minimal crew members. But long before Park's arrival to work on his short scene, the screenwriters had already spoiler-proofed the script just to make sure that the surprise didn't get out prematurely.
Speaking with Variety, Lawrence and Jon shared the great lengths they went to in order to keep a tight lid on that huge cameo, so much so, that they didn't even name the character on the page. For the record, Star Wars isn't new to omitting huge spoilers in their scripts (The Empire Strikes Back's "I am your father" reveal famously wasn't in the script either). But in an age where film info leaks are common, the move was probably for the best. Genuine surprises are always a fun, yet rare treat for today's internet savvy moviegoer.
“It was never specifically named in the script. It just said, ‘A character too secret to ever name.’ Everyone did a great job of keeping it secret, and Ray was such a delight.”
Considering that his name wasn't mentioned anywhere else in the movie, it's definitely possible that the cast and crew didn't even know what was going on until Park came to set. Emilia Clarke could've even filmed that scene not knowing who exactly Qi'Ra was speaking to. And with Star Wars' long list of characters - most of which have their own vocal fans - it could've been anyone.
Having said that, it's still unclear why Maul is attached to a mobster like Dryden Vos. While Jon's explanation to Variety about having a higher power that controls an already scary crime lord like Vos makes sense, there's no clear character reason why it had to be Maul. Devoted Star Wars fans who have watched canon TV series such as Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels may have an inclination, but those who aren't caught-up could be extremely confused.
That's not to say that Darth Maul shouldn't be brought back if there's an opportunity available, as ended up being the case with Solo: A Star Wars Story. Considering the character's high levels of popularity, it's really about time he made a second appearance in a live-action Star Wars project. Now that he's back in the picture, one wonders if fans will get more info about his motivations in future spinoffs, perhaps in a potential Lando Calrissian-centered movie starring Donald Glover.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019