WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Solo: A Star Wars Story, in theaters now.
While Solo: A Star Wars Story didn’t have a huge opening weekend, many fans are leaving the theater pleasantly surprised. However, more than a few also left a little confused as to where this installment sits in the Star Wars timeline. It’s clear enough that it takes place prior to A New Hope because of Han and Lando’s age, but there are a few visual clues that help us place the year this adventure is from thanks to how a certain character's appearance works with regard to the animated series Star Wars Rebels, The Clone Wars and the other films.
Now, in the galaxy far, far away, years are referred to in reference to the Battle of Yavin and the destruction of the first Death Star. So, it’s either BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin) or ABY (After the Battle of Yavin). So, Solo starts in 13 BBY and then jumps forward to 10 BBY, where the majority of the film takes place.
Solo's surprise cameo by Darth Maul is likely throwing a lot of viewers off in terms of when, exactly, this tale plays out. If you're only familiar with the movies, then as far as you're concerned the Sith disciple only appeared in Episode I: The Phantom Menace, where he was brutally cut in half by an enraged Obi-Wan Kenobi toward the end of the film. This may lead some to think that Solo takes place pre-prequels -- but that would be incorrect.
The iconic Sith Lord with the full-body tattoos actually survived his apparent death. In the finale episodes of Season 4 of The Clone Wars animated series, it was revealed that Maul, fueled by the power of the Dark Side and his hate for Obi-Wan, managed to keep himself alive and escape Naboo.
It turns out he also had a brother named Savage Opress (Yes, it’s a little on the nose), a sibling who tracks him down on the junk planet Lotho Minor. Through sheer will power, Maul had healed himself and formed a spider-like lower body out of refuse, complete with six legs and abdomen. Savage and Maul return to their home world of Dathomir where the latter is outfitted with proper humanoid bionic legs. This all took place in 20 BBY. As a point of reference, the events of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith took place one year later, in 19 BBY.