Original Darth Maul voice actor Peter Serafinowicz recalls how he was cut out of Solo: A Star Wars Story. Though Maul was seemingly killed by Obi-Wan Kenobi at the end of The Phantom Menace, the character was later brought back to life and played an integral role in Lucasfilm's animated shows, Clone Wars and Rebels. However, Maul's most shocking post-Episode I return was most definitely last summer's Solo, where he made a surprise cameo as the head of the Crimson Dawn crime organization.
Solo's infamous Maul scene was one of the more divisive aspects of the spinoff, with some criticizing it as distracting fan service and others praising it for tying multiple areas of Star Wars canon together. Regardless of how one felt about the sequence in question, at least on a superficial level it was cool to see the character on the big screen again, brought to life by Ray Park's physical presence and Sam Witwer's voice over work. But Serafinowicz, who provided Maul's voice in The Phantom Menace, was originally going to fill that role in Solo.
Related: A Complete History of Darth Maul
In an interview with Collider, Serafinowicz told the story, revealing Lucasfilm initially called him with the offer to voice Maul. He happily accepted and even recorded all of his lines at Pinewood Studios. Serafinowicz excitedly made plans to see Solo with his family, hoping to surprise them that he was part of the movie. Unfortunately for him, he received an email after Solo's world premiere telling him that Lucasfilm opted to go in a different direction and use Witwer for the voice.
It goes without saying that this probably stung hard for Serafinowicz - particularly the manner in which the news was delivered. Most would agree that he deserved some kind of advanced warning the Solo team decided to go with Witwer (whatever the reason may be) rather than learning about it after the premiere, which Serafinowicz was not invited to. Later in the interview, he said he was among those boycotting the movie, but it appears he may have been joking about that. Though, it wouldn't be surprising if he opted to skip Solo after being unceremoniously removed from the project. Witwer, who has voiced Maul on the animated series, was great, but Serafinowicz shouldn't have been undercut like this.
Unfortunately for Serafinowicz, Solo probably marked the last time he'd have the opportunity to play Maul again, seeing that Lucasfilm is preparing to pursue new horizons after Episode IX this year. The two film trilogies they have in the works, from Rian Johnson and David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, are both separate from the Skywalker saga, detailing all-new characters and stories audiences are unfamiliar with. There is a chance Serafinowicz could voice or portray a different person in the Star Wars galaxy for one of those movies, but perhaps he's chosen to move on from working with Lucasfilm.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019