We know the actress who plays her and we’re almost certain that we’ve heard her speak on both the third trailer and the TV spot, but there’s very little official information out there about Maz Kanata and her role in The Force Awakens.
Curious to know more? So are we. That’s why we’ve rounded up what we know about the mysterious Kanata and put it all into one handy place. But fair warning – mild spoilers abound!
Lupita Nyong’o was a late edition to the Episode VII cast, meaning that she didn’t appear in the famous round-the-table script reading photo. The Oscar-winning actress received a fair amount of attention in the Vanity Fair article from May however, where it was revealed that she plays an entirely motion-capture character known as Maz Kanata.
Who is Maz Kanata?
The aforementioned Vanity Fair article confirmed that Kanata is a pirate, with a castle that boasts a roster of alien guests and a first-glance resemblance to Jabba’s palace. We’d be willing to bet that this is the building adorned with colourful flags that Han takes Rey and Finn to, but we don’t know this for a fact yet.
Something we do know is that Kanata is old – old enough to recognise a person’s lineage by their eyes, as her dialogue in the TV spot suggests. There’s a softness and wisdom to her speech that brings Yoda somewhat to mind, but then the occupation of space pirate doesn’t indicate ‘friendly’ in the same way that ‘diminutive Jedi master’ does.
On the subject of Yoda, his character design was also kept a closely-guarded secret in the run up to the release of The Empire Strikes Back. We’ve yet to see precisely what Maz Kanata looks like but there’s speculation that it’s her orange-skinned hand passing Luke’s lightsaber on to Leia in the second trailer.
The problem here is that the look of the orange-skinned alien doesn’t quite match with the leaked concept art from a few months ago. However that’s not to say that the concept art, if accurate, actually reflects her final design.
What all of this means is that until we get our first official glimpse of Maz Kanata in Lucasfilm-sanctioned form, we’re just going to have to keep speculating about both her appearance and the role that she plays.