These Alternate Designs For Darth Maul In Solo: A Star Wars Story Are Wild


Solo: A Star Wars Story has just been released on Digital HD, with the Blu-ray and DVD out this week. Of course, this has led to a burst of behind the scenes concept art and photographs from the film trickling out, the most interesting being a better look at iconic Phantom Menace villain Darth Maul, whose surprise return shocked (and in many cases confused) audiences.

A couple of weeks ago, we got some fascinating pictures of Ray Park in full Maul costume, including a look at his robotic lower half only glimpsed in the finished movie. Now, courtesy of, we have a load of test ideas for how Maul’s cybernetic bottom half might have appeared had they gone with earlier designs. These originated with artist Jake Lunt Davies, who said the following about them:

“A handful of us were let in on Maul being in the film so we could start development on it. We all had to be extremely hush hush on it, as they really wanted it to be as much of a surprise as possible. It made it tricky to actually work on because we didn’t even want people to know there WAS as a secret. Anytime anyone came into our room, we were on guard, basically, and would quickly put another safe picture up to hide what we were working on.”

While it’s a little strange that none of these pieces of art grant Maul his famous double lightsaber (going instead with some kind of glowing spear thing that might not even be a lightsaber), they do give us some interesting insights into the way he could have looked. Common throughout them is a similar aesthetic to an Imperial Probe Droid, making it seem like Maul might have had to build his lower half out of whatever scraps he could find on the bottom of Naboo.

The idea of him outfitting himself with spider legs takes inspiration from The Clone Wars, the TV show where he made his first return after being bisected by Obi-Wan. Below, Davies comments on this transition between legs, saying:

“With the legs, through the research we did, he’d had been through two or three different pairs since losing his lower half. When he showed up in The Clone Wars, he gets fixed up with a big pair of spider legs first, then after that he gets these sort of backwards-facing chicken legs, then normal straight legs. So we thought, ‘We’ve got the liberty to design his legs, because they’re not canon and set in stone at this time.”

Of course, in the end, we didn’t get a good look at his legs at all in the movie as he was sat in a chair and appeared via hologram, but it’s nice to know such thought went into it anyway.

Davies then goes on to discuss Maul’s makeup/tattoos and his famous horns, explaining:

“It was a really cool thing to work on. The time difference between when you’d last seen him and now…and obviously we’re bringing back Ray Park! It gave us the opportunity to look at what we could do with the makeup and the styling of him, to see if we could add a little bit of an edge to him because he’s become who he is, because he’s older, and also because the techniques of makeup application have developed since they did it the first time around.

So we did a lot of exploration of how far we could push it. Have his horns grown, have his horns been chopped off? Have his tattoos changed? Has he added tattoos, have they faded like old sailors’ tattoos have faded? There were all these different things we were playing with. Has he got more scars? Does he look really craggy or does he look full and fat and successful?”

Being a Star Wars concept artist and being paid to geek out about what an older Darth Maul might look like sounds like a great job – especially if you’re sketching up fat n’ jolly versions of the villain. On that note, Davies concludes by saying:

“I did a drawing which was based on one of Ian McCaig’s really amazing early concepts [for The Phantom Menace] of Darth Maul with hair, sort of lank and wet. His image didn’t have the horns — it looked like it was out of The Ring, or something like that. So I did a version based on that where his hair had grown [Laughs], he had all this long hair and all his horns had grown long like antlers, sort of spiky; he hadn’t cut them back and they’re just overgrown, so he has this huge crown of horns poking out of his hair and this glowering look.”

After all that thought went into Maul, it’s a little disappointing that all he did was sit in a chair and not do very much. An interview with Ray Park did hint that there may’ve been plans for an action sequence involving the character at some point, and though it’s unlikely we’re going to see a sequel to Solo: A Star Wars Story anytime soon, perhaps he could pop in an Obi-Wan movie for a bit more of a dynamic role?