Solo: A Star Wars Story is starting out strong at the box office and continuing the Star Wars franchise’s worldwide dominance. While boasting quite a few moments which are sure to bring smiles to the faces of fans, the biggest by far was the shocking cameo of Maul.
**warning, article contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels**
Since his introduction in Star Wars: the Phantom Menace, Darth Maul has been a fan favorite, but wait a second… Wasn’t he like, sabered in half at the end of that movie? The answer is yes. Yes he was. But with the Star Wars universe traversing all of 40 years of films, television, novels, comics and video games, the universe has taken some turns and the canon become a bit murky.
What’s that? Clear it up for you in a nice, convenient blog, you say? Why certainly!
In Phantom, Darth Maul is slain by Obi-Wan after Maul murders his master, Qui-Gon Jinn. Though he was cut in half by a lightsaber and sent barreling down a massive shaft, the popularity of the character eventually led to his resurrection in Star Wars: The Clone Wars season 4.
In the episode “Brothers”, Maul’s brother Savage Opress discovers him on a junk planet on the Outer Rim. Though Maul has been driven insane from his bisection, he manages to survive by eating vermin, and even fashions himself a pair of creepy spider legs. Rough.
Maul gets some shiny new cyborgy digs and the two set out to enact their revenge on Obi-Wan, but in typical villain fashion, it never quite works out. At the end of season 5, Maul reveals himself to Sidious, who denies Maul his place as his apprentice, telling him he has been replaced.
Declaring Maul his rival, Sidious kills Savage Opress and defeats Maul in combat. Maul pleads for his life, and Sidious takes him prisoner, revealing that he has “other uses” for the Dathomirian.
Now that leads us to the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012, and in 2014, to make way for its new films, Lucasfilm issued a statement officially declaring the Expanded Universe no longer canon. The only media to be considered so became the three original trilogy films, the three prequel films, and the Clone Wars TV series. Everything after that is considered canonical as well, including all new films and the Star Wars Rebels TV series.
In the Star Wars Rebels season 2 finale in 2016, a young force-wielder Ezra finds a hermit within an ancient Sith Temple. This hermit is revealed to be Maul, who attempts to make Ezra his apprentice. Though Maul fails in this endeavor, he discovers the location of a now-old Obi-Wan on the “twin sun” planet Tatooine.
Upon confronting Obi-Wan, Maul is slain. Dying in Obi Wan’s arms, he realizes Obi-Wan is there to protect the Chosen One, and hopes this child will defeat the Emperor and avenge them all. Nawww what a sweet lil guy.
So what does that mean for Maul’s new menacing yet translucent appearance in Solo?
Well, it means things are a little complicated. Seeing as though there were certain cliff hangers and Maul was introduced with little to no explanation, they must be planning at least one sequel to Solo they have yet to announce… right? If not, it really begs the question, Whyyyyyy?!
If they decide to stay true to the canon they’ve already established, it means that Solo takes place in between Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars Rebels, which means that Maul had to have done some not-so-good things while under the command of Sidious. Is he operating under his influence in Solo?
It also means that Maul can’t die in any Solo sequel movies. That’s going to make for some tough storytelling, as it’s much harder to create tension in a story when the audience already knows the outcome. The vast majority of the public hasn’t seen Rebels, so it could also be confusing to mainstream audiences if they keep Maul alive at the conclusion of this new story for seemingly no reason.
Another very likely possibility is Lucasfilm deciding to re-establish what’s considered Star Wars canon yet again. Films are much more popular, much more expensive, and are seen in much higher regard than TV series, so it’s not likely that Lucasfilm will want the plot of the new films to play second fiddle to the continuity established in a cartoon.
What will these new prequels look like? What role with Maul play? Why must they tease us so?! It looks like we’ll have to wait a few more years to find out!
What would you do if you were Lucasfilm?