Ray Park, the British actor who first played Darth Maul in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, has defended his appearance in Solo: A Star Wars Story after receiving “a few fatty comments” about his return to the role.
Maul made a surprise cameo in Solo where it was revealed that he had survived his “death” in The Phantom Menace, and was behind the shadowy Crimson Dawn crime syndicate that looms over the spin-off film.
On Instagram Park says that, although he doesn’t care about the comments and he doesn’t need to justify his appearance in the film, he “worked his butt off” to play Maul once again. He’s also shared photos of himself looking absolutely ripped to silence the haters.
“I know there are a few people that have no clue what I do, or how it works,” says 44-year-old Park.
“Please remember I was 22 on Ep1 training 15hrs a day. For Solo I was getting a good 3-4 hours in of training with a serious hip injury, I had been suffering from for a few years which prevented me from doing a lot of what I love with my workouts.”
He adds that Maul’s make-up was designed to make his look differently to how fans remember him in Phantom Menace.
Park’s comments follow a recent interview published by Forbes that finally lifted the lid on the actor’s top secret cameo in Solo.
The trained martial artist, who also starred in X-Men and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, says he found out about his Maul cameo summer last year around the same time Ron Howard joined the troubled production.
“I found out last June/July when we were in Guatemala,” Park says. “I got the phone call from Lynne Hale from Lucasfilm. And it was really nice of her, because she said to me ‘Ray, we’re just calling to see if you would like to do it.’ And I went [inhales slowly] ‘Yeah. Do you want me on the plane now?’”
He says he shot his cameo in October, 2017, where he lip synced his part to the audio of Sam Witwer’s voice performance. In Phantom Menace, British comedian Peter Serafinowicz voiced the part, “looping” his lines to Park’s performance.
Park also revealed that he’d “spoiled” his return as Maul on his Instagram account, although fans never rumbled his clues.
IGN has exclusively shared Maul’s Solo cameo on YouTube. You can watch it below.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is available to watch instantly on Download and keep on digital from 17 September in HD and 4K Ultra HD™, and on Blu-ray 4K Ultra HD™, 3D, Blu-ray™, DVD, and On-Demand on 24 September.