Solo: A Star Wars Story isn’t the most fondly remembered Star Wars entry. Darth Maul, however, is fondly remembered as one of the – if maybe THE only – good parts of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. He had a badass double-bladed lightsaber, something which had not been seen in a Star Wars film to that point. He was also a Zabrak, a new, menacing-looking alien race. Plus, he killed the guy who, these days, is most well known for having a certain set of skills which include finding you and killing you. Yeah, Darth Maul killed THAT guy.
He’s a popular character in the canon, so it was a wise move for Disney, our new overlords, to bring him back for a sneaky cameo in the ill-fated Solo: A Star Wars Story. Speaking out about Maul’s appearance in Solo is the original live-action voice actor and well-known British character actor Peter Serafinowicz (Shaun of the Dead, Guardians of the Galaxy). Apparently, he’d recorded lines for the return of the phantom menace, but was cut out of the film and replaced with Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars: The Clone Wars voice actor, Sam Witwer.
Serafinowicz went out to Pinewood Studios, where he met Ron Howard on set and discussed the character and how he’d grown or changed “for about a half an hour.” Apparently, that’s 29 minutes longer than George Lucas had originally talked to Serafinowicz about Darth Maul, according to the man himself. He even got as far as recording the entire scene. However, in the end, all his work wound up on the cutting floor. The worst part? Nobody told him until days after the premiere.
After not even getting invited to the premiere, which he learned about through Twitter, Serafinowicz got an email saying “‘We’re sorry, but we’ve actually changed the voice actor to Sam Witwer…they said it was better for the ‘continuity.'” He then proceeded the boycott the film, because, well, it was a trendy thing to do at the time, anyway.
Honestly, I’m with him on this. I mean, Disney wound up using Ray Park, the original physical actor for Maul, in Solo: A Star Wars Story, so why not use the original voice? Seems like a missed opportunity. Plus, Serafinowicz was excited to bring his kids and his kids’ friends to the film to show off the “secret” appearance. “I was gonna take my kids and their friends, and it’d be like… a cool thing, you know, we’ll just go with your friends to see the new Star Wars film, and your dad’s in it,” he said, excitedly.
As he put it so eloquently in Guardians of the Galaxy: “What a bunch of a-holes.” No wonder Solo: A Star Wars Story performed so poorly.