Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Opinion: Maul Was The Best Villain Choice For 'Solo'

By Ciaran Duggan

Is that so. Where is the shipment now?.. 
One man couldn't have done this alone...(laughs)...
Bring the ship and come to me on Dathomir and you and I will then decide what to do about the traitor Beckett and his accomplices....
Qi'ra you and I will be working much more closely from now on.

The shock on people's faces when it was first revealed the former Sith Lord, Darth Maul, had returned to the big screen for the first time since 1999.

It was easily the most talked about moment from Solo that has split fan opinion down the middle just six months after The Last Jedi did in December last year - whatever The Last Jedi can do, Solo can do just as well.

Director Ron Howard, who took over the running of the film from fired directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller in June 2017, has said to multiple news outlets that when he took over Maul had not been written into the film script.

Instead the unnamed character in question was referred to as "boss" with the previous directors and screenwriters Lawrence and Jonathan Kasdan yet to decide on who the mystery villain would be.

There's no doubting that a film like 'Solo' needed to give a punch at the end of the film that would drop the jaws of audiences to the floor.

Who better to choose than someone like Maul?

The Crimson Dawn leader is unequivocally one of the most popular characters in the franchise. He has a rich backstory and remains in the mindset of both older generations, who remember seeing him in The Phantom Menace, as well as younger generations who have seen the Zabrak appear on TV shows Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels.

Howard, who has directed Frost/Nixon, The Da Vinci Code and Apollo 13, lobbied hard for the return of Maul in the movie and you can understand why.

The Sith warrior's story first became entwined with the galaxy's seedy underworld in season four of Star Wars: The Clone Wars - a year after George Lucas had told fans Maul is back whether you like it or not (well he didn't say it quite like that).

In season five Maul had rallied the forces of Death Watch, Black Sun, the Pyke Syndicate, the Hutt Clan and the Nightbrothers to form an alliance that was intent on destroying the Confederacy of Independent Systems and the Galactic Republic and as revenge against his former Sith master, Darth Sidious, who had left him for dead on Naboo.

Savage Oppress, Maul and Pre Vizsla
The Zabrak's plan proved to be unsuccessful when Sidious captured Maul and killed his brother, Savage Oppress, on Mandalore.

After Maul's escape from Sidious' clutches the former Sith Lord remained a potent figure within the criminal underworld and working in the shadows he built up a new crime synidcate called Crimson Dawn.

Crimson Dawn, while we do not know too much about it, is essentially the Shadow Collective in another guise. And while Prime Minister Almec served as the public face of the Shadow Collective on Mandalore, Dryden Vos would go on to play the same role in 'Solo'.

Dryden's death, at the hands of Qi'ra, creates a power vacuum at the top of Crimson Dawn and it will be interesting to see who takes Vos' place or whether he will get replaced at all.

The future of Maul's storyline is relatively well known to fans of the TV shows. He will end up stranded on the planet Malachor, where he will meet (spoilers) Ezra Bridger, Kanan and Ahsoka Tano. But when and how the former Sith Lord ends up getting to the Sith planet remains a mystery.

Maul on Malachor in his first appearance on Star Wars: Rebels
It is interesting to think that we are more likely to see Maul again on TV screens before we see the Zabrak on the big screen with the announcement at San Diego Comic Con in July that The Clone Wars will be returning.

The battle of Mandalore, which is thought to lead into the events of Revenge of the Sith, is likely to include an appearance from Maul - his return will be as exciting to see as Ahsoka's return to the show.

The conclusion of the arc will give fans their biggest clue to learning why and how Maul ends up back on Dathomir and what will be the state of his 'Shadow Collective' at the end of the Clone Wars.

His presence in Star Wars is as strong as it has ever been and while audiences were initially shocked to see him on the big screen again no one has doubted the reasoning behind it.

Who else could have been the big baddie in Solo. The Emperor, Vader, Thrawn, Boba Fett, a Mandalorian? None of them would have had the impact that Maul did.

This article is an opinion piece and represents the views of the writer, and not the entire Star Wars Underworld organization

Follow The Star Wars Underworld on Twitter @TheSWU for more updates about this story and other breaking Star Wars news.


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