Ron Howard went to great lengths to keep the super-secret cameo in Solo: A Star Wars Story under wraps and did not even notify the cast about it until after it was done. Young Han Solo actor Alden Ehrenreich reveals that Howard and the rest of the crew hid the information about the cameo to keep anything from leaking, which led to a bunch of speculation amongst the cast and crew about who exactly the mystery character was going to be. There are SPOILERS for Solo below, so read ahead at your own risk.
In a new interview with Entertainment Tonight, Alden Ehrenreich spoke about the top secret Darth Maul cameo at the end of Solo. Since it's been 20 years since the character was shown on the big screen, Ron Howard decided to keep the cameo a secret, even from the cast and most of the crew. Ehrenreich admits that he finally learned the identity of the mystery cameo a few months ago. He explains.
"When we were going back and doing a few pick-ups. There was a part in the script where it said, Somebody appears, and it wouldn't say who. So there was a lot of speculation amongst the crew and cast about who is that gonna be. Then I found out a few months ago. I found out pretty late. Everyone was kind of talking about it and speculating. Some people were really convinced... there were a lot of rumors."
It's funny to think of the cast of a Star Wars movie speculating about spoilers and floating their own rumors on set. That just shows how secretive Lucasfilm likes to work in general. For many, it was a total shock to see the return of Darth Maul in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Some were excited about the addition, while others were not impressed and saw the cameo as a waste of time. Basically, it was a typical Star Wars fan situation.
Ron Howard was originally asked by George Lucas to direct The Phantom Menace, but he declined. When Howard was reading the script for Solo, he says that it was written in a "generic" way as to any "boss" could have been plugged in right there. So, Howard decided to lobby hard for the inclusion of Darth Maul and insisted on it being a surprise at the very end of the film. Ron Howard just thought that the character would be a cool addition and noted that it was made for the younger generation of Star Wars fans.
Solo has been taking a beating at the box office and now has the worst record of any Star Wars project released to date. Fans have been pointing fingers as to why the movie tanked, but the prevailing theory is that it was due to a lack of solid marketing and hitting theaters too soon after Rian Johnson's divisive The Last Jedi. Whatever the case may be, there's plenty of Star Wars fans who enjoyed the movie and enjoyed seeing the return of Darth Maul to the big screen. You can check out what else Alden Ehrenreich had to say about Darth Maul below.