By nature of it being a prequel, you could say that fans mostly knew what to expect going into Solo: A Star Wars Story – Han was going to meet Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian, he was going to win the Millennium Falcon and he was going to end up the swaggering smuggler we all love. There was one element of the movie we didn’t see coming, though.
Of course, we’re talking about Darth Maul’s return. The mysterious boss of the Crimson Dawn crime syndicate was ultimately revealed to be the Sith lord who’d been presumed dead at the end of The Phantom Menace. The Emperor’s former apprentice only appeared for a brief cameo, but it clearly set up a bigger role for him in the proposed sequel – which has now been called into question, but let’s not get into that.
While talking to /Film, Solo director Ron Howard confirmed that, when he joined the project after taking over from Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the final boss of the movie had actually yet to be decided. Instead, Lucasfilm had a list of suggested characters who could fill the position. Howard chose Darth Maul, and when his Star Wars-loving son approved, he decided to push hard for the villain’s inclusion.
“It just sort of said “Boss”. And I thought when I came in, I assumed they knew who it was and they were just keeping it under wraps. And they didn’t. But Maul was listed as one of the candidates. And I lobbied hard for that. I thought that made a lot of sense to me. I found that character to be really effective. And I knew for a fact, without asking directly and giving anything away, my son Reed who just turned 31, who’s a dedicated Star Wars fan, he’s a golfer. He’s not in the business. Dedicated Star Wars fan. I just whispered that possibility and he just thought that would be incredibly cool. “
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Continuing on, he said:
“And so for that generation, I thought, well that was gonna be a pretty interesting idea. And doing a little more research and understanding sort of how the character had worked elsewhere, I thought it was good. And the Kasdan’s were on board with that.”
Though it doesn’t seem that Howard’s aware of this, it’s a good thing he went for Darth Maul out of those options, as co-screenwriter Jon Kasdan really wanted it to be that character as well. As he’s previously revealed, he was a big fan of the villain’s resurrection arc on The Clone Wars and Rebels animated series and so peppered the script with nods to Maul in the hopes that it would lead Lucasfilm to plump for him over the other candidates. Thankfully, that worked out just as planned.
What did you think of Darth Maul’s surprise role in Solo: A Star Wars Story, though? Would you like to see more of him in a future sequel? Have your say in the comments section below.