Solo is officially here, and while it’s more or less a standalone story, its connections to the larger Star Wars galaxy run surprisingly deep.
Significant spoilers for Solo and other Star Wars comics, novels, and TV series below.
So where exactly does it slot into the current canonical timeline? Well, the short answer is… Solo wraps up approximately 10 years before the events of A New Hope.
That being said, we can certainly dig a little bit deeper, especially given that big “surprise” cameo.
How Does Han Solo Fit In?
First, let’s line Han’s life up with some of the other major events in the timeline. From what we know of his life before Solo (mostly taken from the companion guidebook), we can estimate that Han was born somewhere around 32 years before the Battle of Yavin. This is around the same timeframe as the Invasion of Naboo, as depicted in The Phantom Menace.
Han joins the White Worms at age eight, and enlists in the Empire at 19. That means this latter event roughly coincides with the opening of Rogue One.
We then catch up with Han three years later where he’s serving as an Imperial stormtrooper in the Battle of Mimban, and the rest of the story unfolds shortly thereafter.
So in a broader picture, all of this places the bulk of Solo about nine years after the end of Revenge of the Sith, five years before Rebels, and about a decade before the events of Rogue One and A New Hope. That means when we first meet Han in that Mos Eisley cantina, he’s about 30ish years old, pretty close to Harrison Ford’s actual age at the time.
How Does Darth Maul Fit In?
Perhaps the bigger question though, is how the heck does Darth Maul fit into any of this? Well luckily, there is a lot of Maul’s story that has already been told, so we can line his appearance in Solo up with the existing timeline pretty easily.
During the events of The Phantom Menace, Darth Maul is apparently killed on Naboo by Obi-Wan Kenobi. However, he actually survived this encounter, and channeled dark Force powers to cling to life in a garbage container. This trash, along with Maul, was eventually dumped on the planet of Lotho Minor, where Maul replaced his missing legs with a spider-like apparatus that allowed him to walk again.
Maul remained trapped on Lotho Minor for many years, slowly going insane and becoming consumed with a desire for revenge against Obi-Wan. During the Clone Wars, he finally escaped his “exile” after his brother, Savage Opress, learned of his whereabouts and rescued him.
Savage helped Maul reclaim at least some of his old identity, and a Night Sister witch on Dathomir fashioned him a new set of cybernetic legs. Over the years, Maul would tangle with Obi-Wan a couple more times, with both surviving the encounters.
Eventually though, Maul and his brother formed a group called the Shadow Collective, uniting several criminal organizations (the Mandalorian Death Watch, the Pyke Syndicate, Black Sun, and the Hutt Clan) under his leadership. After a disastrous conflict with the Separatists however, the Shadow Collective was disbanded, and Maul went into hiding once again.
Nine years later however, and we get the events of Solo. While we don’t have the full story yet, it seems that in those ensuing years, a new criminal power has risen in the Crimson Dawn, which has struck an uneasy alliance with the Pyke Syndicate. While Dryden Vos is the face of the organization, the closing minutes of Solo reveal that it’s actually Maul who is the true leader.
Maul’s story picks up again in Rebels, where he crosses paths with Ahsoka Tano, Ezra Bridger, and Kanan Jarrus, before meeting his end on Tatooine in a duel against Obi-Wan. However, that leaves a solid seven or eight years that aren’t accounted for just yet.
If a Solo sequel is made, that could certainly fill in some of this. I also don’t doubt that we’ll see much more of the story presented in the comics and future novels, perhaps revealing what Maul’s agenda is with the Crimson Dawn, and how that eventually leads him to Malachor in Rebels.