WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Solo: A Star Wars Story, in theaters now.
With every new Star Wars film, fans have come to expect a cameo by a familiar face. It might be characters like C-3PO and R2-D2 making a brief appearance as they did in Rogue One, or the familiar visage of actors like Warwick Davis, who has appeared several times throughout the Star Wars franchise as different characters, beginning with one of the ewoks back in Return of the Jedi. And yes, Davis returns once again in Solo: A Star Wars story, this time as one of Enfys Nest’s gang of marauders.
However, that’s not the film’s most surprising cameo — not by a long shot.
Fans made several predictions prior to the film’s release concerning which character would make a brief appearance in the film. Names such as Darth Vader, Boba Fett and Jabba the Hutt were thrown around, and not without reason. Darth Vader made an appearance in Rogue One, not once but twice, and though he appeared for just a few minutes in total, his role was significant. In fact, it led to one of the most memorable scenes in that film, connecting Rogue One directly to A New Hope. Alas, neither Boba nor Jabba appears in Solo: A Star Wars Story, although the latter is subtly alluded to several times in the film and will likely be featured in a sequel.
The cameo came as quite a surprise, even to fans of the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars and its follow-up, Star Wars: Rebels, which suited the time frame and expanded on the story of the character. In Solo, Darth Maul returns from his apparent death in The Phantom Menace.
He appears at the very end of Solo, where he’s revealed to be the leader of Crimson Dawn and the enigmatic master Dryden Vos and Qi’ra allude to several times. With Vos dead, Maul instructs Qi’ra to join him on Dathomir where they will work together more closely. Ray Park reprises the role from The Phantom Menace with Sam Witwer providing Maul’s voice. Audiences might have guessed the figure beneath the holographic hood after first glimpsing the cybernetic legs. The character then reveals a double-bladed lightsaber with a design identical to the one he wields in the animated series, which is significant for several reasons, but we’ll get to that in just a minute.
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