Star Wars enjoys a long history of sneaky cameos in their films and TV shows. For example, the James Bond actor Daniel Craig plays a storm trooper in 2015’s The Force Awakens. The Anakin Skywalker voice actor Matt Lanter plays a nameless New Republic soldier in season 1 of The Mandalorian, and the same episode ends with three Star Wars directors — including the animation head Dave Filoni — in cameos as New Republic pilots. Well, with The Book of Boba Fett, the tradition continues. This week in the series premiere, a fan-favorite Darth Maul actor voiced a character whose actions make a big impact on the fate of the titular bounty hunter. WARNING! Spoilers follow for the first episode of The Book of Boba Fett.
If the first actor you think of when you see the name “Darth Maul” is Ray Park — who played the formidable villain in 1999’s The Phantom Menace — you may be disappointed, or at least surprised. To many Star Wars fans, the definitive Maul isn’t Park, but Sam Witwer who’s voiced Maul along with other characters for The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels, and even 2018’s Solo: A Star Wars Story (while Park did the body work for Maul in that film). Darth Maul doesn’t appear in The Book of Boba Fett, however. Instead, Witwer voices a Rodian prisoner of the Tusken Raiders. Fans found out about the clandestine casting via a tweet from Star Wars sound designer David W. Collins. You can see the tweet below.
While the Darth Maul actor responded to Collins’ tweet with a “No comment,” Witwer also made a point to retweet the reveal from his friend. You never actually hear the Rodian prisoner speak in anything but his native tongue so it would be difficult or impossible to recognize the voice without Collins’ tweet. Considering Witwer’s prolific voice work both in and out of the Star Wars universe, this may not be the last time we hear his voice on The Book of Boba Fett. By the way, while Witwer voices the Rodian, the credits list the actor actually portraying the on-screen alien as Dawn Dininger.
We hear the Darth Maul actor voicing the Rodian in the flashback sequences of the Book of Boba Fett premiere which unveil how the bounty hunter escaped the sarlacc pit — where he was thought to meet his end in 1983’s Return of the Jedi — and what happened to him afterwards. After having his armor stolen by Jawas, Fett is captured by Tusken Raiders. When he awakens in their camp, he discovers a Rodian prisoner tied up nearby. He manages to wriggle free of his bonds, but when he asks the Rodian if he wants to be freed, the alien instead sounds the alarm, attracting the Tuskens who recapture Fett.
For whatever reason the Rodian betrayed Fett, he pays for it in the end and he probably won’t get the second chance at life that Darth Maul did. The Rodian, Fett, their child Tusken overseer and his massif protector are attacked by a massive, reptilian, many-armed beast they accidentally disturb in the Tattooine sands — kind of like a giant lizard centaur. Boba Fett manages to earn the Tuskens’ respect by slaying the beast, but the Rodian doesn’t survive the encounter.