As we are inundated with new Star Wars trailers and news for the upcoming seventh chapter in the saga The Force Awakens, apparently there has been one character that has managed to stay out of the spotlight until now (this excludes Luke Skywalker): Maz Kanata, the little goggle-wearing alien who is at the center of the official poster for the film. No one’s talking about her, until now.
Maz Kanata is a CG character played by Lupita Nyong’o, the Oscar winning actress of 12 Years a Slave. Recently, director J.J. Abrams sat down with Entertainment Weekly for an interview and delved into some details about Maz Kanata.
“I have lived long enough to see the same eyes in different people. I see your eyes. I know your eyes.”
“That’s Maz,” reveals Abrams. To whom she is saying that too, we don’t know. But what we do know, is that she will focus heavily on Daisy Ridley’s character, Rey – who seems to have a connection to the Force.
Maz’s eyes will be very important to her character which are covered by goggles in the poster (see above). “I had some specific ideas about how she would work and what she would do. I had this pitch about the goggles that she wore,” says Abrams. “Her eyes are an important aspect to her character, and you’ll see how it plays out.” The eyes of Maz will be important to the story, and will probably play a big part of her connection to the mystic world.
Many people out there have been speculating that she will take the Yoda-like character in the films now that the wise Jedi master has passed away – who is to be the voice of reason? Maz Kanata.
Originally Maz’s character was going to be puppet but eventually they came to the decision that CG would better suit her using performance capture methods. For that, Nyong’o- a newcomer to motion-capture acting – received training from the great Andy Serkis (Gollum in Lord of the Rings, Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes), who co-stars in the film as Supreme Leader Snoke. The connection between actor and CG character was very important to Abrams and Nyong’o, so the animation of the character had to keep precision and authenticity of their vision. “Maz needed to look and feel and be just like one of those creatures,” stated Abrams.
He went on to say that Maz’s character has been around for over a thousand years and was a pirate for a long time. But he also states a lot of her background won’t be explored in the film – this will be a part of her story in the extended Star Wars universe.