We need to talk about that pretty amazing prequel character who appeared in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Disney and Lucasfilm, after a troubled production, have finally released their latest standalone movie set in a galaxy far, far away, as directed by Ron Howard. The movie carries with it an awful lot for fans to look out for, but one of its biggest surprises isn’t something that only eagle-eyed viewers were able to spot in the background; it was one of the most incredible, major plot points of the entire movie and we’re going to dig into what exactly happened and explain what it means.
Warning: major spoilers ahead for Solo: A Star Wars Story. Seriously, this isn’t some Easter egg you maybe missed. This is huge so if you haven’t seen the movie, turn back now. During the course of the movie, we keep hearing of a crime syndicate by the name of Crimson Dawn. Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany) is associated with the syndicate, but there is a higher-up that everyone seems to be rather cautious of. This intimidating presence doesn’t actually show up on screen until much later in the movie after the dust from the third act has nearly settled. As those who have seen the movie know, the leader of Crimson Dawn happens to be none other than Darth Maul.
A LOT of stuff happened with Darth Maul in the TV shows, comics, and books in the new canon. If you don’t have time to wade through it all, this video we put together gives you all the cool stuff. You’ll understand exactly how he works into Solo: A Star Wars Story.
For those of you who perhaps haven’t kept up with the Star Wars universe outside of the movies, Darth Maul did indeed survive the events of The Phantom Menace. He was cut in half by Obi-Wan, but found himself a shiny new pair of metal legs and moved on with his life. He appeared in both of the animated shows Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, which furthered his story substantially. At one point, Maul builds up a syndicate to help defeat his former master, Darth Sidious, aka The Emperor. But Sidious learns of this and defeats Maul.
The events of Solo take place roughly seven years before Darth Maul will meet his eventual demise in the overall Star Wars timeline. What we come to learn is that he returned to his crime syndicate and is now a big-time gangster. Everyone in the movie has a very healthy fear of Crimson Dawn’s leader and, once we actually come to find out who that figure is, it makes a great deal of sense. Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) contacts Maul after Dryden Vos is killed and that’s when he actually appears on screen. It’s only via a hologram, but the appearance is no less impactful and serves as the long-awaited return of the character to the big screen.
Ray Park, who played the character in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, returned to the role for this cameo, with Sam Witwer, who voiced the character in The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, providing the voice during the scene. It’s widely regarded as one of the biggest mistakes in the prequels that George Lucas Killed Darth Maul so early on. While his story carried on in the expanded universe, it makes for a tremendous bit of fan service to bring him back to the movies in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Not only that, but his appearance actually fits in with his overall storyline, which is pretty cool as well. Does this mean we have some hope of seeing the beloved bad guy getting some more screen time in another spinoff down the line? One can only hope. Even if not, this cameo alone probably makes Solo worth the price of admission for a great many Star Wars fans.