Despite his apparent death in The Phantom Menace , Darth Maul has become a huge presence in the extended Star Wars universe. The Sith Lord has appeared on numerous occasions in Star Wars Rebels and The Clone Wars animated series as well as making a return to the cinema screen in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Ray Park portrayed the character in Episode I with the voice credit going to Peter Serafinowicz, but the role was taken over by Sam Witwer when it came to voicing Maul in his animated appearances and cameo in Solo .
Witwer discusses how his taking over from The Phantom Menace actor Peter Serafinowicz required a whole reshoot of the scene:
There was stuff that had to happen once I got hired. There was a reshoot that had to happen because people like me and Dave Filoni were letting them know there were a lot of details that weren’t consistent. That’s not me saying these people didn’t know what they were doing because they were making a movie and doing it at lightspeed. Ultimately, they did the right thing because they hired the people who were the experts on this like Dave Filoni and, I dare say, me, because I’m kind of an expert on what we’ve been doing with Maul for the past decade , y’know? They were very open to hearing what we had to say and, again, they were so open that they did a reshoot. Like I said, you can have the most talented people in the world and people can still drop the ball for a second. It’s always the willingness to go and pick it back up that I give people credit for.
Some of the inconsistencies that Witwer is referring to include Maul making growls and snarls “[There were] a lot of things in this script where he growls, he does this, he does that.”
Witwer also revealed that he has more insider information about the character of Maul and what could, or may still, transpire for the character:
“Look, there’s stories about Maul I won’t be able to tell for another 20 years. There’s just stories I can’t go anywhere near until about 20 years have passed and I think people are going to be very shocked when I eventually tell those stories (laughs). They’re related to all these things. All kinds of stuff. But you can’t tell those stories now. In 20 years, when I’m fully an old man and don’t care about anything, I will say things that will blow people’s minds and make national news and stuff. But no, I’m not that stupid yet.”
WHAT THIS MEANS
Darth Maul's cameo in Solo was brief, where he was revealed at the end of the film to be the leader of The Crimson Dawn. The scene consists of Qi'ra, contacting Maul to report that her boss Dryden Vos had been killed, and Maul orders her to report to him on Dathomir before he ignites his iconic double bladed lightsaber and disappears. The scene can't be more than a minute long but was the first time Maul had been seen in the Star Wars films since his "death". Fans of the animated series knew that Maul had survived for quite some time and his role in those shows has evolved into something more of a calm and intelligent presence, as opposed to the quiet and merciless warrior from The Phantom Menace.
But as Witwer said, he has been voicing Maul for many years in the animated series and has substantial claim to calling the character his own. His input into Maul's appearance in Solo helped to keep the character consistent for fans from something that was likely leaning more towards the 1999 version. It will be interesting to see what Witwer reveals in his other behind-the-scenes stories about Darth Maul that Lucasfilm is keeping him from discussing. We're still yet to see the full extent of Maul's involvement with the Crimson Dawn from Solo , so it may be possible that plans for the character extend beyond his brief film cameo and story arcs in The Clone Wars and Rebels.