Perhaps the coolest scene in Solo: A Star Wars Story was the reveal of the true boss of the Crimson Dawn crime syndicate. Spoilers: it’s Darth Maul, who last seen chopped in half at the end of The Phantom Menace. Returning to portray the horn-headed Sith was Ray Park, but providing his sinister voice was Sam Witwer. Though Peter Serafinowicz spoke a few words as the character in Episode I, Witwer is much more familiar to Star Wars audiences thanks to his portrayal of the villain in The Clone Wars and Rebels.
CinemaBlend caught up with the actor recently and asked him what it felt like to get the call to play Maul once again for a surprise role in the recent Han Solo prequel. Naturally, Witwer was bowled over. Not least because he thought he’d put the part behind him after Maul died (for real this time) in the third season of Rebels.
“I sure wasn’t expecting it. It was a little bit of a surprise. Look, it was shock and disbelief. I didn’t believe what I was being told, and furthermore, I didn’t know the story at the time, so it had to be explained to me what the significance of this whole plot was. And then getting on the phone with Ray Park and sharing our giddiness over the fact that we had the opportunity to do this.
But yeah, look, I’ve publicly said goodbye to the Maul character I think twice. When Clone Wars was over, I think I did a few interviews where I said, ‘Ah, it was a wonderful time and I’m saying goodbye to the character.’ And then he was back for Rebels. And then after Rebels, he gets killed and I go, ‘Well, it was a wonderful run and I’m saying goodbye to the character.’ And then Solo…”
Though Witwer had already voiced the Dathormirian at the end of his life, Solo‘s placement during an earlier point in the timeline meant that it could feature Maul in between his resurrection in The Clone Wars but before his final confrontation with Obi-Wan Kenobi in Rebels. As per the former, it depicted Maul as having moved away from the Emperor and turning his attentions to the galaxy’s criminal underworld.
MORE FROM THE WEB
As for why Maul keeps coming back, Witwer thinks it’s all to do with the impression the antagonist made in The Phantom Menace. Though the actor does think it’s ironic that he keeps hanging on to life, much like the character himself.
“Look, it’s one of those things where this guy just kind of refuses to die. And I gotta say, I gotta credit Ray Park and George Lucas for creating a character that the audience doesn’t want to let go. I love that. And considering the fact that Darth Maul, the whole theme of that character is that he can’t let certain things go, there’s a certain ironic, wonderful twist that the audience also doesn’t want to let go with that character.”
Clearly, Darth Maul’s cameo in Solo: A Star Wars Story was there to set up a major role in a potential sequel, and though the filmmakers are keen for him to return for more, the disappointing box office gross for the movie might just preclude that from happening. Still, we never expected Maul to be back on the big screen after nearly 20 years away, so who knows what’ll happen down the road.