The Secrets Behind That Big Reveal In 'Solo: A Star Wars Story' Explained By The Filmmakers

Hopefully, you've seen Solo: A Star Wars Story because we're about to dive in and discuss one of the film's biggest and most unexpected moments. How did this big reveal come about? Was this always the plan? Learn all the secrets behind this big Solo reveal below!

Warning: massive spoilers for Solo: A Star Wars Story are coming up. If you haven't seen the movie yet, bookmark this page and return later.





A big, unexpected reveal comes late in the movie after Dryden Vos has been killed and Crimson Dawn's top lieutenant Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke) uses his ring to call the leader of this criminal organization...who is revealed to be Maul. The last time we saw him in live-action, he was tumbling down a pit after being sliced in two by Obi-wan's lightsaber. No longer a Sith (hence no "Darth" title), Maul seems to be secretly leading this criminal organization, but to what end? We talked more about that here.

I present to you clips from my interviews with director Ron Howard, screenwriters Lawrence Kasdan and Jonathan Kasdan, and more, talking about how this big reveal came about. Let's begin with me speaking with Howard and how he turned down the chance to direct one of the Star Wars prequels...

Ron Howard

You have a long legacy with Lucas.  I mean, I don't have to tell you.  But you were originally asked to do like one of the Star Wars prequels?Ron: Asked, but I really wanna underline it.  It wasn't like some sort of [formal] offer.  It wasn't like I read the script and had an opinion.  [George Lucas] was beginning to get serious about doing the prequels, he reached out to a few people and I was one of them and just sort of dropped in conversation the question, would you wanna do one of these?  And I already worked for George on Willow.  And which was an amazing learning experience and life experience.  And deepened our friendship.  But at that point, we were really launching Imagine.  I was focused on that.  And it just didn't make any sense for me to disappear for a couple of years into a sequel.  And I felt, and one of the things that I liked about this movie opportunity was that I didn't view it as a sequel.  I viewed it as an offshoot.  And it certainly demanded a sort of fealty to the galaxy as we understand it and–Yeah, an authenticity of it.Ron: And an authenticity in that regard.  But it was a standalone movie.You haven't done many sequels.  You've done like 35 films and only the Da Vinci Code follow-ups are really sequels.Ron: Yeah, those are the only ones.  And so it's an unusual set of circumstances that led me to this, but I'm grateful for those twists, a twist of fate.It's interesting you didn't take on the prequels because this movie reintroduces one of the favorite characters from the prequels, Darth Maul. Could you talk a little bit about that and why you went in that direction?Ron: Well, it...Publicist: This'll run after opening?Yes, the week after.Ron: Oh, okay.I promise. We wouldn't want to spoil that experience for anyone else.Ron: Okay, really, 'cause that's a, that's such a big thing for people. I will say that was scripted and there was a lot of uncertainty as to who that character would be.  So it was sort of initially written in a rather generic way. Oh, wow.Ron: It just sort of said "Boss".  And I thought when I came in, I assumed they knew who it was and they were just keeping it under wraps.  And they didn't.  But Maul was listed as one of the candidates.  And I lobbied hard for that.  I thought that made a lot of sense to me.  I found that character to be really effective.  And I knew for a fact, without asking directly and giving anything away, my son Reed who just turned 31, who's a dedicated Star Wars fan, he's a golfer.  He's not in the business.  Dedicated Star Wars fan.  I just whispered that possibility and he just thought that would be incredibly cool.  And so for that generation, I thought, well that was gonna be a pretty interesting idea.  And doing a little more research and understanding sort of how the character had worked elsewhere, I thought it was good.  And the Kasdan's were on board with that.  And but then we actually shot it twice.  Because we did it once.  And then we realized we, it wasn't quite Maul enough yet.Let me guess, you added the lightsaber?Ron: Added the lightsaber. And intensified it.  And definitely took a big jump.  How did you like him showing up?  How did you feel about it?I was like...  I looked to my friend who was with me at the World Premiere, I was like what the...?  Yeah...Ron: In a good way?In a good way. It was an exciting reveal.Ron: Okay, good.'Cause I expected this film to be like a kind of like a one and done prequel film, not something that would further the Star Wars mythos or tease a future we didn't already know.Ron: Right.And then when that came on, I was like this is kind of like a Marvel thing where they're like hinting to where they're going.  It was fun.Ron: That wasn't really the intention, but I'm glad it did that because maybe it'll suggest more.  Who knows?Yeah.  Would you come back for more if they–?Ron: I would never say never, I just don't know what's going on at Imagine.  And by the way, there's no plan.  So that wasn't a step toward sequels.  I love this cast.  And I had so much fun in this sort of the filmmaking playground that is this universe.  And so if the answer is I'd be very, very open to it.  I have no idea, you know, whether they would, you know?

Jonathan and Lawrence Kasdan

When I spoke with the Kasdans, I brought up the fun Teras Kasi reference in the movie. Qi'ra reveals she has some training in an ancient form of hand-to-hand combat, a reference to a fighting game released on PlayStation in 1997:

Jonathan: Which is something that you've got to, you're writing these movies and somebody's saying, well she's gotta be able to have some skills.  And you say like okay, well she's gotta have some skills.  What are they gonna be and how can they be different than Rey or this Felicity character?  And we said like and you start to dig into Wookieepedia and you start to say, well what are different kinds of martial arts within the games? And then we say, well we did wanna land this nugget about Darth Maul and maybe if the fighting style is connected to Maul in some way, that'd be really cool. And so you start to sort of fill in the gaps with the canon.


Later in the interview, I asked about Maul not being the original named villain revealed in the script.

When I was talking to Ron, he mentioned when he first got the draft of the script, the ending just said Boss, it didn't say Maul.Jonathan: Yes.But it seems like you–Jonathan: I was always sort of, I was trying to design it in such a way that everyone who read it would feel that they had thought to put him in there.  And no one would realize that it was always what I wanted.  And even Larry was sort of ambivalent about it at the beginning and then came to fully embrace the Maul of it all.  But yeah, no, there's subtle clues and even in the name Crimson Dawn I think it's sort of setup to be this guy's organization and where he goes after the many adventures he has in Clone Wars and the like.As someone who was involved in the original trilogy, were you resistant in bringing a prequel character back?Lawrence: Not, well... I wasn't that familiar with him.  And Jon had really, 'cause I said to Jon, didn't he get cut in half?Which he did.Lawrence: That's all I knew.  And but I didn't know that he had had another life after that in Rebels and Clone Wars.Yeah.Jonathan: And we spent a lot of time thinking about, well, now we get to really do his mechanical lower half and when you go back and look at the movie more and more, you see this really elaborate bit of design they did within there.That's a cool shot.Jonathan: And it's very cool.  And I'm ready to write an entire movie about his bottom half and how it all works.  His intestinal tract.Lawrence: You can explain how Lando and L3–Jonathan: Make love.  The other movie I wanna write.  Yeah.

Pietro Scalia

/Film contributor Jack Giroux spoke with Solo's editor, Pietro Scalia. While the whole interview will run soon, he did reveal this tidbit about the Maul scene:

Scalia: The thing is, I think it had to do with the surprise element, the dialogue between Maul and Qi'ra, and really, what is his presence? How does it effect what Qi'ra is doing? I think the original scene was a little... I don't know. It was fine, but there were certain things that they wanted to change dialogue-wise, saying less, and creating a little more fear in Qi'ra. It was [originally] too simplistic; she easily goes with this villain. I think Ron wanted to get a little more depth and layers in the performance, because it's a devil's pact taking this on.