Throughout Solo: A Star Wars Story, we heard whispers of the criminal syndicate’s hierarchy, specifically who Paul Bettany’s Dryden Vos really reports too. Towards the end of the film, that figure was finally revealed and it was a shocker. But if you haven’t been keeping up to date with the Star Wars canon, you may have left the theater wondering how it’s possible. Last chance for spoilers!
In a twist reveal, the true leader of the Crimson Dawn (and possibly other crime syndicates) was none other than Darth Maul himself. The former Sith apprentice goes by Maul now and actually survived being cut in half and falling into the pit in The Phantom Menace. But he didn’t just fall to his death. Using the Force, Darth Maul was able to grab onto a vent and pull himself through, using his hate and anger to fuel the Force to keep himself alive a little longer. He eventually landed in a trash compactor which was shipped off Naboo to Lotho Minor, a junk planet where Maul built prosthetic spider legs out of the scraps and proceeded to lose his mind alone in the darkness.
But all wasn’t lost for Maul. His mother, the witch Mother Talzin, sent her other son Savage Opress to find Maul and bring him home. Using her magic, she healed Maul’s mind and gave him proper mechanical legs. From there, Maul and his brother would head the Shadow Collective; an alliance of Criminal Syndicates made up of the Pyke Syndicate, which were mentioned in Solo, as well as Black Sun and Death Watch, a Mandalorian splinter group. The Hutt Cartel would also join into the Shadow Collective’s Alliance for a time.
But all this criminal activity brought a lot of unwanted attention and it wasn’t long before Palpatine, Maul’s former master, tracked him down and engaged Maul and Savage in a deadly duel. Savage met his end but Maul was kept alive to be held prisoner. All this backstory was found in The Clone Wars showbut the show was cancelled not long after the Disney pruchase, with finished scripts never making it to production. So the tale of Maul’s escape from Palpatine could be found in the four part comic Son of Dathomir, where he forms an alliance with Dooku to escape from General Grevious.
Maul would later be seen again in Rebels, the follow up to The Clone Wars but we’ll leave those details out for now. The most important thing is that in Rebels, Maul is not affiliated with the criminal underworld anymore, yet Solo takes place well after The Clone Wars and prior to Rebels. This means that once Maul was free from Palpatine’s grip, he likely went back underground and established another crime syndicate. While Vos was the head of Crimson Dawn, he reported to Maul which suggests that the former Sith was either the true leader of the group or he’s the head of another criminal alliance.
Tell tale signs in the film alluded to Maul’s return as well. In Vos’ chamber full of trophies and trinkets, a Sith Holocron can be seen in a few shots. Seeing as Maul was both Sith and a crime lord, he likely gave the Holocron to Vos as a gift. Where else could one get a Sith Holocron in the criminal underworld? With Maul now being reintroduced to the big screen, don’t be surprised if he makes a larger appearance in a Solo sequel or another Star Wars Story set in the criminal underworld.
Now the question that now remains is why bring Maul back at all? The head of the criminal syndicate could have easily been Jabba the Hutt and would’ve tied nicely into the Original Trilogy. Should we expect to see Maul in a future installment, possibly a Solo sequel or the recently revealed but not official Boba Fett film, to be written and directed by James Mangold? It’s quite possible, but for now it seems like he was in the film purely for fan service reasons.
What did you think of the Maul reveal? What about Solo as a whole? Let us know in the comments and be sure to check out our Solo review and keep up to date with Westworld with our weekly timeline update!