Since the last anthology film Solo premiered a few weeks ago, there was an excited chatter among the Star Wars fans. Of course, there are many in-universe references and larger franchise connections in the movie – but there was a moment that drew the biggest leaps in air, at least at the Hollywood premiere. A key cameo, which has since been strongly suggested in reviews and other coverage, surprised most early moviegoers. We will explore the details of this cameo and the hidden implications for the future of the Star Wars franchise. But if you have not seen the movie yet and want to go in fresh, it's time to go now.
So, let's just get rid of the super-obvious. Yes, that was the character that used to be called Darth Maul, which was seen in hologram form at the end of . Solo: A Star Wars Story . The villainous character was first introduced in 1999 The Phantom Menace . Yes, he apparently operates a crime syndicate at this time in the Star Wars era and yes, it seems he will be working more closely with Emilia Clarke's Qi'ra solo in the future Movies. (If there are actually any future solo films.) Here's a reminder of how it looks in non-hologram form.
I say "the artist formerly known as Darth Maul" because of the character is simply listed in the credits as "mouth". (We'll get right to the bottom.) But he is still played by actor / stunt performer Ray Park, who has his origin in The Dark Threat . He has a different voice though. Original Mauling Voice Peter Serafinowicz is outdoors and frequently Star Wars animated series voice actor Samuel Witwer is in.
Many people have […] solo are from this appearance confused. It seems to cloud the Star Wars timeline: Qi's conference call has occurred Maul has appeared in The Phantom Menace to Ewan stun McGregor's young Obi-Wan Kenobi and kill Liam Neeson's Qui-Gon Jinn? If that's the case, both Qi & ra and Han would somehow make them older than Anakin Skywalker.
Timelines can be startling, but, no, Solo: A Star Wars Story is actually about two decades after The Phantom Meenace, and about 11-14 years ago A new hope .
OK But how can that be? The last time we saw Darth Maul in a Star Wars movie, Obi-Wan Kenobi cut him in half. You remember; it went something like this:
Maybe you do not remember. It's been a long time since The Phantom Menace and this film is not exactly the most watched Star Wars movie. Nevertheless, gifs do not lie. The last time we saw Darth Maul in a movie, he was in two parts. So what is there? Well, eagle eye viewers might have noticed that Maul, when he got up at the end of Solo to address Qi'ra, revealed some robot limbs in his lower half. This is because Maul Star Wars is a pure-minded film fanatic who spends a whole post- phantom chapter in two popular Lucasfilm animated series: The Clone Wars and Rebels . Here's a look at him voiced in Solo by Samuel Witwer:
And here's a better look at his robotic lower half in action:
We also do not have to go far in Mauls survival story; just know that it involves a diet of rats, some robotic spider legs and finally these more practical cybernetic limbs. If you want to know more about Maul's unlikely second life – lightsaber slices cauterizing those annoying halving wounds – you can watch the animated series Star Wars novels or comics. Suffice to say that for people deep in the non-film side of what Lucasfilm has to offer, Maul was a large and permanent presence. He no longer goes to Darth – this is a Sith title worn by baddies like Darth Sidious and Darth Vader. He's just shut up now, and as was the case with some of his animation and book adventures, he branded himself a crime boss running something called "The Shadow Collective," the groups called Pyke Syndicate, Black Sun, Hutt Clan, and Qi's team: Red Dawn
In other words, Maul is here; He is half-robot; to get used to something. Fans of the Animated Series Rebels already know how it will end for Darth Maul – but it seems Lucasfilm has plans for the future for him.
It is possible that he might appear in the planned Obi-Wan spin-off, which also takes place before A New Hope . These two characters have a lot of intertwined luggage. But when that happened, the timing did not seem to agree with what happened between the duo in Rebels . So it's more likely that Maul will play a more important role in any future solo adventure; Presumably, our favorite smuggler will eventually face his first love, Qi & ra, and be forced to make some hard decisions that affect their final survival.
Really, but Maul's future performances are not as important as his presence in Solo in the first place. Although some prequel themes are off the table for the revived Star Wars galaxy – when was the last time you heard someone talk about "Midi-Clorians"?) – this is not the first time that Lucasfilm has listened to the Prequels refers to this new Kathleen Kennedy era. ( Jimmy Smits Bail Organa, for example, made a funny appearance in Rogue One .) This however, is the first time that the films are right leaned so heavily on Star Wars Expanded Universe (abbreviated to EU) content such as books, comics, and animated shows. Sure, the company could rely on articles like this one to explain to confused moviegoers exactly how and why Darth Maul of The Phantom Menace went to a living and scheming solo of presumptively dead , But that's still a considerable amount of backstory that they do not want to fill out for the huge number of Star Wars fans who only watch the movies. Whether this move should drive new fans to EU content, or whether such a Lucasfilm is so popular that this kind of narrative gaps does not matter, is unclear. But it is indicative of a new (red) dawn for the vast, complicated, interconnected universe.