Having escaped from Republic custody at the end of the Clone Wars, we next see Maul appear in his first big screen appearance since he appeared in The Phantom Menace, in Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Following Qi’ra’s killing of Dryden Vos in Solo: A Star Wars Story, Qi’ra turns on a holographic communicator with Dryden Vos’ superior, a mysterious hooded figure with robotic legs, whereupon this hooded figure responds, “Yes?”
Qi’ra: “I regret to inform you that Dryden Vos is dead, murdered by the thief he hired to steal the coaxium shipment, his friend, Tobias Beckett.”
The hooded superior responds to Qi’ra, while a low musical undertone of male chorus in the background in a somberful tone sings: “Is that so? Where is the shipment now?”
Qi’ra: “Gone. Beckett took it. Slaughtered the others. I alone survived.”
Maul Pulls Back Hood, Revealing His Horned Head
At this point, the hooded figure pulls back his hood, revealing himself to be Darth Maul, while the low male chorus in the background transforms into that enchanting song, “Duel of the Fates”: “One man couldn’t have done this alone.”
Qi’ra: “I wasn’t there. But if I had been, perhaps I could’ve saved him.”
Maul snarls, then chuckles. He holds out his arm, and his lightsaber flies into his right hand from off-screen. He then stands up and orders Qi’ra: “Bring the ship and come to me on Dathomir, and you and I will then decide what to do about traitor Beckett, and his accomplices.”
Qi’ra: “I’m on my way.”
Qi’ra prepares to shut off the communicator, but Maul ignites his lightsaber, stopping her.
Maul: “Qi’ra, you and I will be working much more closely from now on.”
Maul turns off his lightsaber before shutting down the communicator and, with it, “Duel of the Fates” goes away.
Does Maul Believe Qi’ra?
While the viewers of the movie know that Qi’ra is lying about everything aside from the coaxium being gone and Dryden Vos having been killed (but her pinning those transgressions on Beckett), does Maul? One thing does seem clear to him: not everything is quite adding up and he is suspicious. Nevertheless, he does order Qi’ra to visit him on Dathomir and he may be tightening his leash on her because he doesn’t trust her, or it could simply be because she is filling the void that Dryden Vos’ death has left.
Maul as Head of Crimson Dawn
With this scene late in the movie, it becomes clear that Maul is the head of Crimson Dawn. As such, previous references in the movie become relevant for understanding the way Maul runs Crimson Dawn.
One of the earliest references in the movie is when Beckett tells Han, “Crimson Dawn? Now we owe them 100 keys of refined coaxium. When they find out we don’t got it, they’re gonna kill us.” Already, we get the sense that Crimson Dawn is greatly concerned not only about the coaxium, but also having the job they requested to be fulfilled.
Crimson Dawn’s Alliance with the Pykes
When discussing a plan to get coaxium for Crimson Dawn, Han Solo suggest going after astatic coaxium, whereupon Qi’ra says, “Well, the only known source of astatic coaxium is a fissure vent beneath the spice mines on Kessel.” When Han says, “Yeah: that’s the one I was thinking of. That’s a very, very good one”, Dryden Vos then states that “the Pykes control Kessel. Crimson Dawn maintains a fragile alliance with the Pykes. It’s one that I can’t jeopardize without risking an all-out war with the Syndicates, and that, gentlemen, I will not do. So, if that’s all you have, I think we’re done here.” At that point, Beckett pipes in and observes that “We don’t have any alliance with the Pykes.”
With the Pykes having initially joined Maul’s criminal enterprise in season 5, they remain in league with him through the end of the Clone Wars and, it seems, all the way up at least through this movie (and, it can be presumed), after this movie, as well.
Brutality of Crimson Dawn
More than just its criminal enterprises, though, Crimson Dawn, as told by Enfys Nest is utterly brutal: “My mother once told me about a band of mercenaries that came to a peaceful planet. They had a resource there these men coveted, so they took it. They kept coming back, taking more. Until finally, the people resisted. When they returned demanding their tribute, the people shouted back in one voice, ‘No more!’ The mercenaries didn’t like the sound of that, so they cut off the tongue of every last man, woman, and child. Do you know what that pack of animals became?” The answer to Nest’s question, of course, is Crimson Dawn.
Building upon both their brutality and criminality, Nest also mentions what the coaxium would be used for: “Crimson Dawn and the rest of the five Syndicates have committed unspeakable crimes across the galaxy. Each of our worlds has been brutalized by the Syndicates. Crimson Dawn will use their profits from the coaxium you stole to tyrannize system after system in league with the Empire.” Not that we know exactly who these five Syndicates are, but Maul has clearly built his criminal enterprise from what it was during the Clone Wars.
Once You’re in Crimson Dawn, You’re In
When Dryden Vos and Qi’ra are fighting, Vos tells her, “Once you’re a part of Crimson Dawn, you can’t leave.” Although one wonders how much Vos is telling her that so as to let her know that killing him does not release her from Crimson Dawn, it could also be an entirely earnest warning. Thus, no matter what, Qi’ra will be stuck with Crimson Dawn, even if she kills Vos.
Continuing on in the Darth Maul Project, the next time we see Maul is Ezra Bridger finding Maul on Malachor in Star Wars Rebels‘ fantastic season two finale.