Solo: A Star Wars Story was full of twists and turns, but by far the most shocking one was the surprise reveal of Darth Maul (or, as he's known at this point in the timeline, simply "Maul"), leaving many in the audience full of questions.
For fans of non-movie Star Wars canon, Darth Maul's return from the dead has been known for some time. His appearance in Solo was no less shocking because to them because of that, but to anyone that hasn't followed his story since his death in The Phantom Menace, the reveal was all the more shocking and confusing.
If you don't know what's been going on with Maul, you have a lot to catch up on, but here are some basics that will at least explain what he's doing in Solo and what that means for the future.
- This Page: How Did He Survive and What is He Doing in Solo?
- Page 2: When Does He Die, Will He Train Qi'ra, and Where Did He Get His New Lightsaber?
- Page 3: Why Does He Sound So Different and When Will We See Him Again?
How Did Darth Maul Survive?
Most audience's last memory of Darth Maul is likely the image of him being cut in half by Obi-Wan Kenobi and seemingly falling to his death down a reactor shaft in the bowels of the Theed Royal Palace during the Battle of Naboo at the end of The Phantom Menace. But in the larger Star Wars canon... that's only the beginning of his story.
Enveloping himself in pure rage, Maul dug deep into the dark side of the Force, giving into his rage to hold onto the last threads of his life. He found his way off the planet on a trash hauler that dumped him on the massive uninhabited landfill planet of Lotho Minor. Seething in the pain of his injuries and his hatred of Kenobi, his mind slowly eroded until he no longer even knew exactly what he was so angry about, becoming little more than a tormented beast.
Eventually, during The Clone Wars animated show, his brother, Savage Opress, eventually found him and returned him to his mother, Talzin, the Clan Mother of the Nightsisters on Dathomir. Talzin used Nightsister Magik to restore his mind and craft him new mechanical legs.
What Is Darth Maul Doing In Solo?
Upon having his mind restored, Darth Maul sees the Clone Wars are at full swing and Palpatine had replaced him with Count Dooku. He was supposed to lead the Separatist armies against the Republic, but his destiny had been stolen from him, and he blames Kenobi. Taking his brother Savage as his apprentice, Maul takes over the Mandalorian terrorist cell, Death Watch; forces the Pyke Syndicate, Black Sun, and the Hutt Clans to submit to him; and claims the allegiance of his Dathomirian Nightbrothers to form the Shadow Collective, the 3rd most powerful force in the galaxy and the largest known criminal organization in galactic history.
He's eventually driven from Mandalore by Anakin Skywalker's apprentice, Ahsoka Tano, at the end of the Clone Wars, and the Shadow Collective is mostly defeated, disbanding back into its original independent factions, but Maul maintains his influence, including a relationship with at least the Pyke Snydicate, retreating to Dathomir where he continues to lead from the shadows, presumably forming the organization Crimson Dawn, inspired by the red star Dathomir orbits.
When we last saw him, Maul wanted to take over the galaxy, and when he shows back up in the Star Wars Rebels animated series, he's looking for a means to destroy the Sith. It's suggested in Solo that his organization, Crimson Dawn, is working with the Empire, so it's likely he's working an angle, or just simply doing what he needs to survive, hoping he gets an opening to get his revenge.