SPOILER ALERT: This deals with SPOILERS from ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ so if you have not seen it yet, you may wish to turn back until you have.
Fan reaction has been a little mixed when it comes to ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story‘ and that includes the cast. But overall, fans are loving Donald Glover‘s debonair performance as young Lando Calrissian and even Joonas Suotamo as the new version of Chewbacca. And the rest of the cast is no slouch, with strong performances from Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton, and Paul Bettany, plus voice roles by Linda Hunt and Jon Favreau. This being a Ron Howard movie, of course, his brother Clint Howard has a cameo appearance as Ralakili and old school fans were most likely delighted when the original Wickett the Ewok (and Willow), Warwick Davis, was revealed to be part of the fledgling Rebellion. And though he might not have been recognizable, Anthony Daniels (a.k.a. C-3PO) also had a cameo as Tak. But the most startling cameo came at the end of the film, when we learned who Bettany’s Dryden Vos (and by extension Emilia Clarke’s Qi’ra) was really working with.
It’s doubtful that anyone expected to see Darth Maul again after he was quickly and rather unceremoniously dispatched in ‘Star Wars: The Phantom Menace’. But he was back, once more embodied by Ray Park, while his voice is provided by Sam Witwer who previously voiced the character on ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ as well as in various video game projects, in which he has also voiced Emperor Palpatine and other characters.
While Maul was seemingly killed in ‘The Phantom Menace’ the character was revived on the animated series ‘The Clone Wars’ and ‘Rebels’. As shown in ‘Solo’, thanks to his injuries, he now spots cybernetic legs.
Co-screenwriter Jonathan Kasdan has broken his silence regarding this hush-hush surprise cameo.
“I was really passionate about him all the way through. I sort of had planted the seeds early and I wanted it to be built that way. And I wanted to reference certain forms of martial arts that might lead to it. And the presence of someone who was so terrifying in this crime world that you just had to know he was the guy who could control someone like Dryden. So he was part of the DNA of the thing.”
Jonathan co-wrote the script with his legendary father, Lawrence Kasdan. The Maul cameo seems to hint that the villain will return and face Solo in person in a future movie, but in ‘A New Hope’, Solo adamantly does NOT believe in the Force. Will this rewrite that bit of history? Lawrence said:
“I don’t think so. Because that’s part of what I love about this story. He doesn’t believe in the force and we know that ahead of time. But he doesn’t ever have to! The only acceptance he has – over three movies that I wrote! – is so slim. You know, he never really comes to believe. He’s always the skeptic.”
“The line we love and keep referring to is, ‘we’ve seen some strange stuff across the galaxy.’ And we did really want to honor the line that he’s seen some weird stuff. And that’s why we thought it would be great for him to encounter a Jules Verne-type creature out in deep space, and made his experiences that have made his life rich and pressed the limits of what are possible.”
Finally, Lawrence stated:
“For me, the moment is when J.J. and I were writing and, by chance, Jon happened to be with us and helped with Han’s death in The Force Awakens. In my mind, there’s not a moment before he dies when he thinks, Oh, now I believe in the Force.”
What do you think? Does Han believe? What did you think about the Maul cameo in ‘Solo’?