[Editor’s Note: This article includes spoilers for “Solo: A Star Wars Story”]
The biggest reveal in “Solo: A Star Wars Story” has nothing to do with Han Solo. Near the end of the Lucasfilm tentpole, Emilia Clarke’s Qi’ra makes contact with the leader of the crime syndicate named the Crimson Dawn. The leader turns out to be none other than Darth Maul (going solely by Maul now), who was last seen on the big screen falling to his supposed death in “The Phantom Menace.” Maul’s reintroduction into the “Star Wars” movie universe sets up big things for the potential future of the “Solo” franchise, and it’s a decision director Ron Howard championed from the start.
Speaking to /Film, Howard said Maul was not written into the “Solo” script when he came onto the film in June 2017 to replace original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller. The Crimson Dawn leader was an unnamed person simply referred to as the “boss,” but Maul was being considered to fill the character role by screenwriters Lawrence and Jonathan Kasdan. When Howard heard Maul was a possibility for the character, he said he fought hard to get the fan-favorite villain into his film.
“I will say that was scripted and there was a lot of uncertainty as to who that character would be,” Howard said. “So it was sort of initially written in a rather generic way. 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.”
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Howard said he always found Maul to be “really effective” as a character. The directed ended up consulting with his son, a self-proclaimed “Star Wars” fanatic, to see if bringing Maul back to the franchise would make sense and satisfy other franchise fans.
“My son Reed is not in the business. He’s a dedicated fan,” Howard said. “I just whispered that possibility and he just thought that would be incredibly cool. 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.”
Howard said he shot the Maul scene twice so that he could perfect the villain and his reintroduction into the franchise. As predicted, the cameo appearance is one of the biggest shocks in all of “Solo.” The movie is now playing nationwide. Head over to /Film to read more about the cameo.