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The Star Wars franchise is a beloved piece of film history, with generations of moviegoers brought up on the galaxy far, far away. Said fans share a deeply personal connection with George Lucas' colorful franchise, so there's a ton of pressure associated with each new release. Darth Maul voice actor Sam Witwer understands this pressure, and was understandably worried ahead of Darth Maul's surprising appearance in Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Solo gave the backstory to fan favorite character Han Solo, and also set up a franchise that seemingly isn't going to happen. Perhaps the biggest tease toward a sequel came toward the end of the movie's runtime, where Emilia Clarke's Qi'ra contacted Darth Maul, connecting it with the events of the Clone Wars animated series. Sam Witwer recently spoke to the pressure associated with this brief scene, saying:
When it came to Maul in Solo, and I was asked about it, I rang them up. At many times, I’ve said it’s okay for you to go to someone else and that’s happened several times. But with Maul, I actually put my foot down and said ‘Listen. Do what you have to do, but I think you might be making a mistake if you don’t hire me for this.’ Because you’re counting on the fans. A lot of fans are going to say I don’t get it, he died in Phantom Menace, and then a lot of other fans are gonna say, ‘Oh with The Clone Wars I get what’s happening here with the Shadow Collective. That’s what’s going on here with the Shadow Collective.’ So since you’re leaning on the fans who understand what the Shadow Collective is, and the way you want to construct the scene where you want to hear his voice and then see him, doesn’t that serve to reason that the fans have to recognize the voice? It’s probably got to be me, and not to mention I’ve been playing the guy for a decade.
Well, that was honest. Sam Witwer has worked on the Star Wars franchise for years now, so he has an intimate understanding of both the material and the fandom. As such, he put a ton of working into making sure that Maul's characterization was accurate in Solo: A Star Wars Story. And considering the character's long and complicated story within the franchise, that was especially challenging.
Sam Witwer's comments to SW Holocron helps to peel back the curtain behind Solo's production. The standalone project had a rocky road to theaters, including a director shake up and some casting changes. Darth Maul's inclusion presented its own set of challenges, but luckily someone as passionate as Witwer helped to make the vision a reality.
Sam Witwer didn't play Darth Maul in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, where the Sith apprentice seemingly perished after being bisected by Obi-Wan Kenobi. But he's voiced the character in the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, which greatly expanded the character's story, including his hate-filled survival. He spent years voicing Maul and other characters in Star Wars shows and video games, so he's got a deep understanding of the character and overall franchise.
Star Wars fans can re-watch the franchise on Disney+. You can use this link for a free 7-day trial to the streaming service.
As a reminder, you can check out Darth Maul's appearance in Solo: A Star Wars Story below, which marked the sixth project in which Sam Witwer voiced the iconic villain.
Maul's appearance in Solo: A Star Wars Story might have been short, but that didn't stop Sam Witwer from putting his all into the voice performance. He helped to create the brief appearance, and make sure the character's dialogue was appropriate given his long tenure in the official Star Wars canon. It was ultimately a successful effort, although Lucasfilm doesn't appear to have any plans for a sequel.
Solo was ultimately a box office disappointment, the first one in the franchise's history. Standalone films have been put on hold indefinitely, as Lucasfilm expands the franchise through TV content on Disney+. As for the property's life in theaters, there are a few possible projects in the earliest stages of development.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is currently available to stream on Netflix. Be sure to check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.