Yeah. That happened. And here's why the writers of Solo: A Star Wars Story decided to do such a shocking thing.
Qi'ra has an awesome and surprising arc in Solo. Photo: Disney
(If you haven't seen Solo: A Star Wars Story yet, we're about to discuss the film's biggest spoiler. So beware).
Near the end of Solo: A Star Wars Story, the team has defeated Dryden Vos and Han is waiting for Qi'ra to join him so they can fly away to another adventure. However, Qi'ra sees Dryden's death as an opportunity, so she abandons Han and takes Dryden's place as a leader in the Crimson Dawn crime syndicate. To make it official, she sends a message to Dryden's boss.
None other than Darth. Fucking. Maul.
Well, just "Maul" these days. He lost the "Darth" when Obi-Wan Kenobi cut his body in half and Darth Sidious took on Count Dooku as his new apprentice. But more on that, and Maul's long, robot-legged path back to prominence, later this week.
No, for now, we just wanted to ask the people responsible for the reveal, Solo writers Lawrence and Jon Kasdan, their thoughts on bringing Maul (played by the combination of Ray Park, reprising his role from The Phantom Menace, and Sam Witwer, who provides the voice of the character in Solo as well as the The Clone Wars and Rebels TV shows) back to the big screen.
"It was a sneaky arse process that I was fighting for all along," Jon Kasdan told us. "I've [always] been a big Darth Maul fan. He was my favourite character in the prequel trilogy and I was determined that Dryden was not the top of the food chain. We both wanted the criminal underworld to feel way bigger than we could see in this movie. And that Han would be a minnow surrounded by sharks."
That thematic idea was something the Kasdans wanted to get across in Solo.
"The larger theme is everybody works for somebody," Lawrence Kasdan said. "Evil or good, you're not in control of your destiny, which is very important to us." "Everybody serves some greater god or is mastered by something," Jon added.
"And you know that [Maul] works for somebody," Lawrence said.
Maul, several years after Solo, on the day of his death. Photo: Disney XD
"The thing about Maul is that he is a character freighted with baggage," Jon Kasdan continues. "From losing his mentor, from his defeat [at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi], from his long journey post that defeat, the Clone Wars, the Shadow Collective, we thought this is a character who comes with so much narrative richness that to glimpse him has power and the promise of stories to come."
Though, ultimately, even if Maul crosses paths with Han Solo, we know where it ends for him. In the deserts of Tatooine, defeated by his biggest rival.
We'll have more on Maul's return to live-action Star Wars movies soon.