New evidence suggests that Maz Kanata may be making an appearance in Han Solo. The currently untitled standalone film will be looking at the pre-A New Hope life of the galaxy's self-proclaimed premier smuggler; spanning six years of the period between the original and prequel trilogy, it'll show how he became the cocksure scoundrel and met other iconic characters.
As well as Alden Ehrenreich in the main role, we have returns of Lando and Chewbacca played by Donald Glover and Joonas Suotamo respectively, promising a dramatization of how the trio met and the Millennium Falcon wound up in Han's possession. The rest of the cast - Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, Phoebe Waller-Bridge - appear to be playing brand new characters, although there may still be some familiar characters along the way.
As part of his SDCC 2017 coverage, Star Wars podcaster Steele Saunders interviewed Mark, a representative from Funko, about the toy company's output. In their chat, Mark stated he was excited for Han Solo, citing the impressive including "Emilia Clarke, Lupita Nyong'o, Donald Glover, Woody Harrelson". The obvious out-of-place actor there is Nyong'o, who plays Maz Kanata in the sequel trilogy, which has got fans speculating she may appear in the prequel too.
Maz Kanata was introduced in The Force Awakens as the owner of a cantina-like castle and sage advice giver to Rey (original drafts of the script even had her use the Force, something it seems wasn't cut until post-production). Born before the Clone Wars - and thus having been alive through all previous movies - very little was given up about her past in the film beyond some history with Han and a particular interest in "husband" Chewie. The statement would indicate we'll see this in the Han Solo film.
So, let's get this rumor analyzed. It's gained traction due to the source - Funko are a major force in the collector's industry and will be privy to a lot of advance information so they can get POP figures ready ahead of time for release. With Solo due out next May, it's a safe bet they're already working on the film's initial wave and thus Mark would know whether there was a Max figure or not.
However, there's a lot working against it. He could have just plain misspoken regardless of what he knows, getting the movie Nyong'o's in wrong (indeed, she makes up the impressive cast of both Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Black Panther, so she is a prominent name), or just got a Maz figure for Episode VIII confused. There's nothing to suggest he does know more than he lets on, after all.
Why this one will likely stick until explicitly disproven is how neatly it fits in the canon - Han and Maz's past was a big dangling thread in Episode VII and this film is arguably the best place to explore it (an example of Star Wars adopting the Marvel formula). It was also recently reported Maz's role in The Last Jedi was smaller than previously assumed, perhaps to account for having a part in another pressing film. And while we've had no other reporting of this happening, as a mo-cap character it would be easy for Nyong'o to record scenes with very few people knowing.
We'll have to wait and see, although if this is the case (and, being honest, it would be a very interesting move for the film), then you have to hope that Ron Howard maintains continuity; in Star Wars, Han claimed to have never seen anything that made him believe in the Force. Surely Maz would challenge him at least a little?
Source: Steele Wars
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019