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Feature Article

Solo's Darth Maul Cameo Embraces Star Wars Animated Universe

Solo: A Star Wars Story spoilers follow!

Though Solo: A Star Wars Story tells the origin of the most beloved scoundrel in the galaxy, and in doing so fills in a lot of the blanks in Han Solo's past, the movie is also loaded with other connections to the larger Star Wars universe. If you've yet to see Solo, consider this a spoiler warning. You should stop reading now.

Whether it's references to other characters and planets, or the cameo by Warwick Davis reprising his role from Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, there's so much for Star Wars fans of all ages to enjoy about Solo. However, there is one particular character appearance that might have really caught audiences by surprise.

After the death of Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany), Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke) makes contact with his superior to inform the mysterious figure that she will be taking Vos's place in the Crimson Dawn criminal syndicate. That superior is none other than Darth Maul, making his first big screen appearance since The Phantom Menace in 1999.

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If you're a Star Wars fan who sticks to watching only the movies, Maul's presence might be a bit confusing. During the climax of Episode 1, the Sith was cut in half by Obi-Wan Kenobi's blade and fell down a shaft, presumably leaving him dead. In the end, though, it's simple. Rumors of Darth Maul's death have been greatly exaggerated. While being cut in half would kill most, that just doesn't seem to be the case for Maul.

For fans of the Star Wars animated series, this isn't news. Maul has played a major role in both Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, which expand on his story, taking it all the way to his actual death before A New Hope. What's more, while Ray Park reprises his role as the physical premise of Maul, he's voiced by Sam Witwer, the voice actor behind Maul in the animated series and Star Wars: Battlefront II.

The Clone Wars and Rebels have become integral pieces of Star Wars canon thanks to the standalone movies thus far. In Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Forest Whitaker plays Saw Gerrerra, a character first introduced in The Clone Wars. What's more, he then went on to voice Saw in Rebels. Additionally, Chopper, a droid from Rebels, made a brief appearance in the background of a scene in Rogue One, as did the Ghost ship that the Rebels crew inhabits. Interestingly enough, Han references the VCX-100 ship model while gambling with Lando, which is the line the Ghost belongs to.

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The inclusion of Maul in Solo, however, is the next evolution of Star Wars incorporating its animated universe into the movies, and it's the perfect example of a bridge between the two. With a galaxy full of stories to tell and only so many movies each year, using other mediums to populate the franchise with character backgrounds to enrich plots is exciting.

While introducing a secondary character from The Clone Wars, like Saw, is a welcome addition, Maul is a well-known piece of the Star Wars universe that is immediately recognizable to practically any fan. Revealing that he's not only alive but has mechanical legs immediately places him within the animated continuity for fans of the shows. However, it also invites fans unfamiliar with that side of the franchise to explore his story arcs on both The Clone Wars and Rebels--including his continued battles with Obi-Wan Kenobi and the Jedi. From there, Maul has even more of his story told in canonical comic books.

This idea of expanding continuity across multiple mediums seems simple enough, especially when you have an audience constantly craving more. Still, there is another franchise that includes both movies and TV that just can't seem to get the hang of it--even though they're owned by the same parent company as Star Wars. The Marvel Cinematic Universe, when it first launched Agents of SHIELD, left fans believing the two sides would interact with each other fairly regularly. That's never been the case, though. While SHIELD reacts to things that happen in the films now and then, the movies never acknowledge the show. What's more, the TV side of the universe has become too fragmented between ABC, Netflix, and Hulu, where the shows don't even manage to reference each other.

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Meanwhile, Star Wars is only continuing to make that bond stronger by showing what happens on the small screen is important to the rest of the story. Speaking to GameSpot, even Solo co-writer Jonathan Kasdan recognized the importance of The Clone Wars and Rebels when it came to featuring Maul in the film. "I did my homework to know that, because of Rebels, because of Clone Wars, we were in a position where this part of his life was grey enough that we could fill it in with this thing," he explained. "And it worked nicely with Rebels and Clone Wars in that he did survive that incident with Qui-Gon, and he did go into the world of crime and self-interest and was separated from the Empire and the Sith and that whole thing, to go pursue his own life."

Now, as the Star Wars franchise continues, the links between the two sides of this galaxy will only grow stronger. With Rebels finished, its co-creator is already at work on his next project. The animated Star Wars: Resistance is set before The Force Awakens and will focus on a new Resistance pilot named Kazuda Xiono. It will also feature appearances by Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) and BB-8. Beyond that, Jon Favreau is developing a live-action TV series set seven years after the events of Episode VI: Return of the Jedi and introducing yet more new characters to the franchise.

The force is clearly strong with the Star Wars franchise. Hopefully, that's a trend that continues as Lucasfilm continues to make movies and TV shows that further expand upon this unique universe. Now if only they were easier to stream. While The Clone Wars is waiting for you to binge on Netflix right now, the same cannot be said for Rebels. However, you can purchase it digitally or on Blu-ray.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

chrishayner

Chris E. Hayner

Chris E. Hayner sat second row at the Ninja Turtles' Coming Out Of Their Shells tour.

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Avatar image for Louis
Louis

Saw the Solo film this morning. I really enjoyed it.

This whole "Maul is really alive though we thought we saw him die..." That's growing thin. He was cut in half in the movies. Yes, he was a great character, but he died. Will we slowly move to the rule that if the brains aren't destroyed any character may come back?

Note, I don't watch the animated series. I have no problem with a cross over of characters and story points, but they should be a nice bonus for those in the know. Otherwise their inclusion should just work for the story.

Avatar image for Scalds
Scalds

Ive seen it twice. I loved it. My wife, who has never seen any Star Wars but the trailers and 5 mins worth before leaving the room said: "It just looks different." She was right and it is.

Anyway I enjoyed it. Loved the Maul thing, but I am a big fan of both TCW and Rebels. I feel bad for the physical actor but I am glad the Maul voice is the same guy from the animated series because he is awesome.

Also, laughed out loud at the elevator scene with Chewie. Had a general smile the whole movie. Worth a ticket.

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Dr_Vancouver

Saw the film yesterday. Loved it! What I want to know more about is Lando's out of the closet robosexuality!! Disney just added another letter to lgbtq2ia-R!!!!! Nice to see such a family friendly company at the forefront of the robosexual movement ;)

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Slinqy

Glad to see Maul making a return, but not very hopeful with KK at the helm of all this. We need better direction for these movies.

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Quag-Daddy

This was an objectively good movie, and seeing Mr Maul at the end was a complete surprise that had me digging even further for info after watching. Really cool reveal.

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Pyrosa

Look, I wasn't okay with him coming back until his very end in Rebels. They did such a good job w/him there, and throughout Rebels I had grown convinced that it was indeed a good idea, that I was actually delighted upon seeing him in Solo. This guy is a true Sith, without all that Palpatine baggage. He reflects all those aspects/teachings from the KOTOR 1&2 Sith Academy.

Others in the theater who clearly hadn't seen either series were, um, less than pleased. You'd think they just saw someone use the Force to survive the pressureless cold vacuum of space or something...

Avatar image for chrishayner
chrishayner

@Pyrosa: This is the thing that bums me out. Like you, I watched all the way through the end of Rebels. So I know his arc and it's so much more than just Ep 1. But so many people, I fear, only know him as "the prequels guy."

Staff
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Smosh150

One of the few things I can really praise Disney on. I'm not going to sit here hating on it, but I just don't agree with some of the directions.

Despite that, the animated stuff (TCW and Rebels) have really been gems when it comes to what they add to the universe. The fact that they have been getting some inclusion in the main films (Even if some have been easter eggs) really just makes me hopeful.

Quite honestly I'd take a movie covering many of the characters in TCW or Rebels (Any of the clones, Thrawn, Yularen, Constantine [He sucks, but he ties in with Thrawn], the Inquisitors, etc). Some of those would probably be too slow paced given their nature, but to me it would be fascinating.

Now if some of the characters from the comics could get some easter eggs.

Avatar image for chrishayner
chrishayner

@Smosh150: Ooooo, characters from the comics would be aaaaaaaaawesome.

Staff
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Smosh150

@chrishayner: For sure, I'm still holding out hope we can see a conversion of the Doctor Aphra series or the Darth Vader comics into a movie or TV show (Even if it is something like a mini-series. I feel as if 0-0-0 and BT-1 would be a pretty big hit with viewers.

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alucardswrath

Hey Gamespot, can you actually post something else instead of posting this same article for 243rd time for the past week?

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sephirothsWing

This makes me wanna see Solo even more tbh, Maul was a lovely edition that was cut off way too soon, pun intended lol

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chrishayner

@sephirothswing: Excellent punning and, seriously, if you haven't seen The Clone Wars or Rebels yet, I suggest it.

Staff
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sephirothsWing

@chrishayner: I just gotta finish Clone Wars, I did watch one episode of Rebels but I wanted to finish off Clones first, it had more seasons lol

Avatar image for chrishayner
chrishayner

@sephirothswing: I wish Rebels was streaming somewhere like The Clone Wars is.

Staff
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sephirothsWing

@chrishayner: yesmovies? That's where I watched it 🤔👍

Avatar image for chrishayner
chrishayner

@og_gamerzzz: That's definitely not what this story is about.

Staff
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gamingdevil800

Kinda disappointing that they killed him off in a cartoon if they were planning on putting him in a live action movie again. Hopefully they'll get him in a kenobi movie somehow? Possibly the gap between Maul going missing to suddenly showing up on Tatooine with the movie ending with their duel.

Avatar image for chrishayner
chrishayner

@gamingdevil800: To be fair, he was killed in the cartoons after this movie is set. If you look at the overall Star Wars timeline, his death comes shortly before A New Hope. So it all works out, really.

Staff
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gamingdevil800

@chrishayner: I know but the average movie goer probably doesn't know about his ultimate fate, these fans would be disappointed if there is a Kenobi movie without Maul showing up. I suppose I could see a Maul stand off being the final scene with a CGI Alec Guinness but I feel like if they don't do something like that with Maul after this cameo then some people will be disappointed.

Avatar image for chrishayner
chrishayner

@gamingdevil800: I want a Kenobi movie starring Ewan. They can age him up, etc. In theory, Maul's final showdown with Kenobi happened when Luke was still a boy, so he isn't necessarily Guinness-age yet. If they do go that route, I truly hope they stay close to how it played out in Rebels. That final battle is so damn good and could be the climax of the film. It ends with Maul asking if the boy he's protecting is the chosen one, he says yes. Camera pans to the horizon and we see young Luke in silhouette.

Man, I want to see that moment in a movie theater.

Staff
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gamingdevil800

@chrishayner: Yeah I want Ewan back too. I'm just slightly confused about the timeline in terms of age haha but I'm sure it can be put down to the planet having two suns and the stress/trauma of Anakin. Also yeah what you described would be awesome. Although I really enjoyed Ray Parks stunts as Maul, the samurai style of putting everything on the line in one strike is really awesome too.

Avatar image for chrishayner
chrishayner

@gamingdevil800: I love how the idea of lightsaber fighting style has evolved through the movies. It leaned so heavily on traditional dueling in the originals. Then the prequels were very acrobatic. Now cut to the current trilogy and there's a rage behind each thrust. Especially with Kylo, he's not sword fighting. He's killing. I love how each era has its own thing.

Staff
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gamingdevil800

@chrishayner: That's why I would be excited about going back further than the prequels to the old republic era (as long as disney handles it with their being loads of sith and jedi aka no rule of two) a time where all the Sith and Jedi plus I suppose even the troopers of each side were battle hardened to an extent not seen before on screen. Like by comparison I'd say the prequel era Jedi were not as skilled as the likes of the old republic due to them not having to constantly fight sith.

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chrishayner

@gamingdevil800: Oh man, just saying "old republic" got me thinking about how great a Knights of the Old Republic movie would be. There's so much of the Star Wars universe not explored on screen before. With more movies and a TV show in the works. that's kind of all I want.

Staff
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gamingdevil800

@chrishayner: I kinda imagined it being the next logical step after 9 for the mainline movies maybe it would be a sub franchise like "Star Wars: The Old Republic Episode 1" or something but with Daisy Ridley leaving I think it would be a bit jarring for them to do another 30 year time skip so soon for 10 with these characters all gone.

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chrishayner

@gamingdevil800: Yeah...I'm ready for something that isn't the Skywalker saga. I love it, don't get me wrong, but let's get weird.

Staff
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EstrugaZ

@gamingdevil800: I think narrative-wise is a good idea to set a clear beginning and an end to a character, specially one who was resurrected due to "popular demand", and then just write more stories in the middle.
I just think the way he appeared in Solo was super lazy, with him turning on the lightsaber for no absolute reason other than to confirm his identity to an audience they were afraid wouldn't recognize him.

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Hi! Did you know that the thumbnail image for the RSS feed of this article spoiled it?