Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Who Is Maz Kanata?


With The Force Awakens out in theaters, Maz Kanata has finally been revealed. So who is she, really?

For a long time, we didn’t have an exact image of Lupita Nyong’o’s motion capture CG character, the thousand-year-old Maz Kanata. We thought from the second teaser trailer shown at Star Wars Celebration that she was short and orange, and this was confirmed when we saw her full figure on the official poster for the film. Now that we’ve seen the movie, we know a little more about her than just her appearance.

Spoiler Warning: The rest of the articles contains spoilers from The Force Awakens. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, proceed with caution.

Maz is a pretty awesome old lady. She runs a cantina/haven for pirates, explorers, and people who don’t want to be found on the planet Takodana, in an old castle which, according to the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary, was built on an ancient Jedi and Sith battleground. According to Han Solo, she’s been running the place for about a thousand years, which means she’s at least a little older than that.

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But Maz is not your typical hardened bartender or pirate thug. She’s witty and wise in a way which belies her diminutive appearance. Also according to the visual dictionary, she’s Force sensitive, but she was never trained in the Jedi arts. She seems to use her powers more for observing the universe, and the ebb and flow of good and evil. She’s been around long enough to see several governments rise and fall. She’s seen the circle of life, so to speak. And she’s encouraging young people like Rey and Finn to take charge of their destinies, become the heroes in this new fight.

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Another interesting part of her character is her collection of old relics – one of which is Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber, the one passed down to Luke and which he lost in his battle against his father in Cloud City. How she got it, she does not explain, but she knows it’s the key to Rey’s destiny in the Force.

I’m interested to see if Maz returns in Episode VIII. Her fate was left unresolved in The Force Awakens, so seeing her back or hearing of her in Episode VIII in any capacity is essential.  If she does, I hope she interacts with Luke Skywalker or the Force ghosts of ancient Jedi. J.J. Abrams and Nyong’o did imply Maz met Yoda at some point in their lives; and given her connection to the Force, it wouldn’t be implausible to suggest she could commune with the dead Jedi Master.

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All of this is important because the alien’s role in the next Episode could prove essential. Maz Kanata, the pirate queen, may be the key to helping Luke, Leia, and probably Rey figure out how to make sense of the awakening of the Force, and what they need to do to help the light side win over the dark.