This post contains SPOILERS for Solo: A Star Wars Story
Solo: A Star Wars Story writers Lawrence and Jon Kasdan discuss Darth Maul's unexpected cameo in the spinoff. Those well-versed in franchise canon know the former Sith Lord survived his encounter with Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Phantom Menace, but for a majority of casual audiences, Maul's appearance was nonetheless surprising. During Solo's third act, it's revealed Darth Maul is the head of the Crimson Dawn crime syndicate, and he summons Qi'ra (who took over Dryden Vos' division) to Dathomir so they can plan their next order of business.
Once the shock of seeing Darth Maul on the big screen again wore off, one of the biggest questions became why the creative team chose him for this particular role. Clearly, Maul is not the first name that comes to mind when one thinks of Star Wars kingpins, but his inclusion comes straight from the desire of the Kasdans.
In an interview with Uproxx, the screenwriters touched on the Maul cameo, with Jon describing how it came to be:
"I was really passionate about him all the way through. I sort of had planted the seeds early and I wanted it to be built that way. And I wanted to reference certain forms of martial arts that might lead to it. And the presence of someone who was so terrifying in this crime world that you just had to know he was the guy who could control someone like Dryden. So he was part of the DNA of the thing.”
It looks like Darth Maul wasn't a forced plot point from Lucasfilm or the story group (which isn't the way the studio works anyway), which is a nice development. The sequence certainly has the feel of something intentionally added to plant seeds for followups, so it'll be interesting to see what becomes of the tease. It's one of the threads Solo leaves dangling, and it could be resolved in any of the various mediums across canon. Qi'ra working with Darth Maul sounds like a compelling set-up for a novel or comic arc, though with Solo doing strong numbers at the box office, perhaps Lucasfilm will use the Maul scene as a springboard for a sequel to Ron Howard's film.
If that were to happen, it would place Lucasfilm in a bit of a conundrum. One of Han's most famous lines in A New Hope is when he says he never saw any proof of the Force during his travels, meaning a showdown with Darth Maul could contradict that. Lawrence Kasdan said in the same interview he thought Han was always a skeptic up until his death (which is debatable considering dialogue in The Force Awakens), but perhaps there could be a way to pull it off. Maybe Han would dismiss anything Maul does as a bunch of "simple tricks and nonsense" and never think twice about it.
- 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