Ray Park tried to spoil his Solo: A Star Wars Story cameo as Maul. Viewers, especially general audiences, were quite surprised when the former Sith Lord made his return to the big screen in this summer's spinoff. To many moviegoers, Maul died at the end of The Phantom Menace, and though the character was eventually brought back to life in Clone Wars, few would have predicted he'd ever come back to the live-action films. It was a very controversial decision that split audiences; some thought it was an unnecessary distraction, while others felt it was a clever way to integrate the TV shows with the movies.
Lucasfilm is known for playing things close to the chest, so Maul was something they saved for Solo's premiere. For a while, the creative team didn't even know who would be revealed as the leader of the Crimson Dawn syndicate. Maul was selected from a list of possible candidates, with director Ron Howard in particular advocating for him. But for all the secrecy that went into bringing back Maul, Park did everything in his power to let people know what was in store.
Related: A Complete History of Darth Maul
"I may have deleted a bunch, but if you go back and check all my Instagram posts, I was secretly telling everyone, but no-one knew."
Funnily enough, nobody would have suspected Park was referring to Solo in his posts. Ever since Disney acquired Lucasfilm, there have been non-stop rumors about an Obi-Wan Kenobi spinoff, which seemed like a more natural place for Maul to return (this was before the character's arc on Rebels). Of course, Park's hints were so subtle, even the savviest of fans may not have caught on. For instance, a post in November 2017 featured Park igniting a red lightsaber and telling followers, "May the Force be with you." That could easily be interpreted as a fun nod to Park's most famous role and nothing more. Even if he did delete some, it's unlikely any overtly spoiled Maul's appearance. Lucasfilm has media-trained their talent very well, underlining the importance of preserving key surprises. Fortunately for Park, no one was able to piece his puzzle together.
Due to Solo's underwhelming box office intake, there doesn't seem to be a place for Maul in the films moving forward. Though Alden Ehrenreich signed a three-picture deal with Lucasfilm, the odds of there being a Solo sequel are slim (which essentially nixes any hopes of a Solo spinoff centering on Qi'ra and Maul). At the same time, the movie ended in a way that was almost teasing a continuation of some kind. Perhaps the other areas of canon could provide closure for this story thread, letting fans know Qi'ra's ultimate fate.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019