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For the most part, Solo: A Star Wars Story was free from any connections to The Force. Even Rogue One, which didn't have any starring Jedi characters, had Chirrut Îmwe preaching the importance of the mystical energy field created by all living things, with a little Darth Vader Force choking and deflecting blaster bolts on the side. But before Solo wrapped up, we were treated to a cameo from one of the most notorious Sith in Star Wars lore: Darth Maul, who, on the big screen, was last seen in The Phantom Menace being sliced in half by Obi-Wan Kenobi. Those who watch the animated TV shows, however, know that there was much more to his story, and thanks to some clarification regarding where Solo fits in the Star Wars timeline, we now know that Maul's appearance in the second Star Wars standalone movie takes place approximately five years before he popped back up in Rebels. Be warned, we'll be going into Solo in-depth from this point forward.
We already had a general sense about where Solo: A Star Wars Story fit during the Galactic Empire's reign, but Leland Chee, the Keeper of the Holocron for the Lucasfilm Story Group, revealed on Twitter that Solo takes place 13 to 10 years before A New Hope, the movie that kicked off this massive franchise. Since Solo jumps forward three years after its opening sequence, that places the movie's main events at a decade before A New Hope, which meshes nicely with Chewbacca's established age. In Darth Maul's case, he's had many years following the conclusion of The Clone Wars to work his way through the criminal underworld and become the head of the Crimson Dawn crime syndicate, as we learned when Qi'ra contacted him following Dryden Vos' demise. Too bad it will all come crumbling down around Maul before the next decade is up.
For those who didn't follow along with The Clone Wars and/or Rebels shows, after his defeat in The Phantom Menace, Maul, through sheer will and the power of the Force, kept himself alive and ended up on the junkyard world Lotho Minor. He'd lost most of his memories, but he was still consumed by his hatred of the Jedi. Found by his brother, Savage Opress, Maul was restored to his original self, and together they began building a criminals empire called The Shadow Collective. Unfortunately for Maul, the Shadow Collective eventually fell apart, and while now know he went on to rise through Crimson Dawn's ranks, by the time we reunited with Maul in Rebels, he had been stranded on the Sith World of Malachor. Just like in The Clone Wars, Maul continued spreading his special brand of trouble in Rebels, but it all ended when he went to Tatooine to have his re-match with Obi-Wan Kenobi, only to be swiftly cut down by the Jedi Master, for good this time.
It remains to be seen if Darth Maul will return to the big screen side of the Star Wars franchise, but it certainly would be interesting to eventually learn (whether that's in a move, book or comic book series) how he made it to the top of Crimson Dawn and what happened between him and Qi'ra after the events of Solo: A Star Wars Story. For now, Solo is still playing in theaters, so be sure to read our review and To 3D guide for the movie. For all the latest news concerning the Star Wars film series, keep checking back with CinemaBlend, and don't forget to look through our 2018 release schedule to find out what movies open later this year.