Will We See Darth Maul in Live-Action Again?
The brief appearance at the end of Solo raises a lot of obvious questions, most specifically surrounding Maul's next appearance. It's one thing bring Maul back in comics and cartoons, but giving him a major live-action reveal creates an expectation of a bigger presence in future movies. Surely, if Lucasfilm wasn't interested in a live-action Maul, then they could have written the story in a way that doesn't include him, or made another criminal organization the threat in Solo.
The thing is, there's no clear place in the current plan to include him in someone else's story. The most rumored spin-off movies are a Kenobi solo movie and a Boba Fett movie. While his inclusion in Solo was certainly impossible to predict, there's is room in both of those to tell a Darth Maul story, however unlikely. In the case of Kenobi, that story has already been told in Star Wars Rebels. That means his next possible appearance is most likely in a movie that has yet to even be rumored. It's possible Lucasfilm was only reviving him to leave the possibility open down the road, but it's hard to imagine there weren't at least discussions of what to do with him next.
He's expected to show up in animation to round out The Clone Wars story, likely with the Seige of Mandalore, meaning the ideas outlined above are the most fertile territory for live-action, leaving only one question: would Lucasfilm and Disney actually make a movie centered on a villain? On one hand, it doesn't seem like that far-fetched of a concept, especially for a character as popular as Darth Maul, but at the same time, a Maul-centric story would inherently be a lot darker than Disney seems to be looking to go with its live-action movies. While the spin-offs are still a gray area in the Star Wars franchise in terms of tone and content, going that dark would be a totally uncharted territory.
Then, of course, there's the issue of Solo: A Star Wars Story's poor performance at the box office, putting even more question marks on Lucasfilm's future plans for any spin-offs, especially ones relating to the events of Solo. The movie will ultimately still be profitable, so it's not outside the realm of possibility, but if Lucasfilm had any grand plans for Maul during Solo's production, the deal has probably already been altered.
Ultimately, it would be great to see Maul finally have his glory day in live-action, and the cameo in Solo shows that day is certainly a possibility and shows a desire or willingness on Lucasfilm's part to make it happen. The reasonable thing to expect would be for the rest of Maul's story to be told in books, comics, or animation, but at the same time, it's 2018 and we're actually talking about the real potential of additional Maul appearances, so anything's possible.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019