Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens not only spotlighted a new cast of young stars to carry the saga going forward, but it also briefly introduced a pair of older, mysterious characters on each side of the new galactic conflict. We already discussed at length the theories surrounding Kylo Ren's master and commander of the First Order, Supreme Leader Snoke, but opposite him and opposing "evil" is the thousand year-old wise woman known as Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong'o).
Maz is an intriguing character who, like Snoke, seems to know everything. She's Force-savvy by her own admission, is old pals with Han Solo and Chewbacca, and somehow has in her possession the lightsaber that previously belonged to Luke and Anakin Skywalker. Her role and appearance have evolved quite a bit throughout the development of Star Wars 7 and today we learned of something else about the plans for the character that may surprise you.
But before we get to that, let's back up. If you kept a close eye on the Star Wars 7 trailers and TV commercials, there were shots of Maz that didn't make it into the final cut of the film. One in particular showed Maz on the Resistance base handing Luke's old lightsaber to Leia. In that version, Maz had left Takodana with Han and Finn after the First Order assault and joined them on the planet D'Qar but as director J.J. Abrams explains, it was unnecessary for the final act of the film.
“That was a scene actually filmed, but we took (it) out. At one point, Maz used to continue along with the characters back to the Resistance base, but we realized that she really had nothing to do there of value, except to be sitting around. … Lupita did film scenes on set for that sequence, but it felt unnecessary. So we ended up leaving those things out.”
That's understandable and leaves the sequels open to see Maz return in a big way. And given what SFX Supervisor Chris Corbould told Collider about a particular deleted scene he was sad to see not make the film, it sounds as if Maz may (or at least, should) have a big role to play in the trilogy.
"There was a particular part of a scene that never made it, where they go underneath the castle and they’re going into the underground passageways, and Stormtroopers are coming down the stairs and Maz uses her powers to collapse the ceiling.
From my point of view, [that] worked absolutely brilliantly because you had all the main actors running up and then Maz does her bit and then the whole ceiling collapses in front of them, but that never made it. That was a shot I was quite proud of, actually, it worked really, really well."
Maz, who by the way is based on one of Abrams' school teachers, has "powers." Perhaps when she told Rey "I am no Jedi, but I know the Force," she not only understands the Force but can use it. Was she once a part of the Jedi Order? Is she self-taught? Or was this cut with the intention of not making her a Force user at all in the saga?
Maz's understanding of the Force is curious, especially given her knowledge of Luke, Han, and Leia, and her treasure room lightsaber. Add in the fact that Lor San Tekka (Max von Sydow) - who only appears briefly at the beginning of Star Wars 7 is a member of the Church of the Force - and you can see that there's a lot more going on with the Force and many events that took place between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens that have yet to be detailed.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is now playing in theaters. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will arrive in theaters on December 16th, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.