In spite of her great potential and Lupita Nyong'o’s amazing portrayal, Maz Kanata has emerged as the worst character in the current Star Wars trilogy.
Maz's introduction in The Force Awakens left audiences with more questions than answers, and her role in The Last Jedi was perfunctory at best. At present, Maz hasn’t been confirmed to return for Episode IX, at least according to Nyong'o, but Maz's scaled back roles haven’t given fans much to get excited about. Like Captain Phasma, she remains a blip on the plot radar with little to do.
The wizened-but-wise orange alien could be so much more, especially given such a talented actress and the character’s original concept. Why has she been such a disappointment, and is there any way to redeem Kanata?
This Page: The Problem With Maz Kanata
Maz's Scenes Are The Worst In The Sequel Trilogy
Admittedly, characters with wasted potential are par for the course with the Star Wars movies. Every trilogy has a few bad characters as well as frustratingly underused personas like Boba Fett, Darth Maul (pre-Clone Wars) and General Grievous. Of all the current trilogy's new personalities, though, Maz Kanata is one of the worst characters because she gets so little characterization despite her plot involvement. She's intriguing, but her appearances feel more like exposition dumps.
Maz is introduced in Episode VII as an old acquaintance of Han Solo. As the proprietor of her own hive of scum and villainy on Takodana, Maz at first glance seems to be a repository of vital galactic info from the many travelers who pass through her doors. But while supplemental materials like Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy did add more layers to her, that's hardly present for general audiences who rarely dig deeper than the theater. Taking only her screen time into consideration, Maz's main function in The Force Awakens was to whisk Rey along on her destiny to find Luke Skywalker. Maz ends up leaving many unanswered questions in her wake.
Worst of all, she is responsible for introducing perhaps the biggest plot hole to the sequel trilogy: how exactly did Maz get ahold of the Skywalker family lightsaber? Her frustrating non-explanation that this is "a tale for another time" received no elaboration from Rian Johnson in The Last Jedi, understandably infuriating fans.
Although that's not her biggest problem in Episode VIII. Maz's cameo in The Last Jedi only compounds her status as an exposition device who merely helps move the other characters along to the next plot point. When Finn and Rose Tico contact her to be their codebreaker, she instead points them towards their subplot to Canto Bight (after some eyebrow-raising innuendo). Despite Maz's unique appearance and sheen of cleverness, none of her appearances gave the audience any real reason to care about her character. Considering what Maz could’ve been, it’s a genuine missed opportunity. Although that so much changed may be part of the problem.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018