Speculation: Who is Maz Kanata?
Curiosity in Maz Kanata’s role in The Force Awakens has risen substantially following the release of the first official trailer, international trailer, and TV spot; as all 3 were narrated by the character who is played by actress Lupita Nyong’o. We’ve learned a few interesting details about the character as we draw closer to December, enough so that we may begin speculating on who she is and what type of role she may have in the movie.
POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD
“The Force… it’s calling to you… just let it in…”
I recently stated in the Cantina that:
“She knows too much about the force, you can tell just be her bits of dialogue in the trailer and this TV spot. She was definitely around during the prequels, her having Anakin’s pod racing flag hanging above her castle is the freakiest thing ever imo lol. She’ll be beloved by the fans much like Yoda was in the OT.”
Her knowledge of the Force doesn’t seem to come from someone who has studied it or read about it in holocrons, but someone who has lived with it and knows its nature from experience. It is implied heavily in her tone as she says it, as if she can hear the call in the Force too and knows it’s not calling to her, but to whomever she is talking to.
Once again, credit to Calithlin on the flag identification!
A few days later, we got an email from our Italian friend Roby Rani from EmpiRa.it, and member of the 501st, who had a watch party with a group of friends for The Phantom Menace and stumbled across something interesting…
“I call it luck…”
This was a simple prop J.J. and crew stumbled upon at Lucasfilm in pre-production while looking for things to draw inspiration from while in character development. They ended up using it for Maz Kanata.
Theory 2 :
“In my experience there is no such thing as luck.”
This is actually a real statue of Maz Kanata who was someone of great importance in the criminal underworld (she is a pirate and this is Tatooine we’re talking about here) during the PT. This would explain why she has so much knowledge of the PT era and how she has the flags (especially the podracing flags) above her castle. She may have even been at the race and witnessed Anakin win, which was a monumental victory for the people of Tatooine, and was surely celebrated long after Anakin left to become a Jedi. It would tie her in beautifully to the story because she can speak from experience and of the people and events of that era.
Entertainment Weekly released this bit of information on Maz Kanata and more this week…
“Director J.J. Abrams calls this her “watering hole.” We’ve only seen her on the poster – a smallish figure with black goggles. Her eyes are covered because they hold a secret power. That’s why her narration is significant: “I have lived long enough to see the same eyes in different people. I see your eyes. I know your eyes.””
She’s a Jedi!
Well, no, not necessarily. If you’ve only seen the movies and aren’t that familiar with all the lore you may think she’s a Jedi or Sith. But We’ve seen her archetype in many forms throughout the lore. Here are some examples:
The Voss Mystics (Star Wars: The Old Republic) were the totalitarian rulers of the Voss species. They were talented healers and seers native to the planet Voss that were said to have had incredible aptitude for the Force. However, they possessed no formal knowledge of the Force and were uninterested in outsider’s’ opinions, and were considered to be Gray. The visions and talents of these mystics allowed the Voss to survive the attacks of another native species, a tech-savvy pre-flight species named the Gormak.
The Nightsisters (Star Wars: Clone Wars) were a clan and an order of magick-wielding females who lived on Dathomir, a planet bathed in dark energies.These Dark Side users were able to perform their arcane magicks by tapping into the magical ichor which flowed from the depths of their planet.
The Force Priestesses (Star Wars: Clone Wars) were five beings that resided on the Force Planet, the home of the midi-chlorians.
The priestesses were representative of the connection between the Living Force as experienced by living beings, and the Cosmic Force in its role in the greater scheme of the universe. The five were a form of shape-shifter, and would mutate their forms to manifest as Serenity, Joy, Anger, Confusion, and Sadness.
Jedi Master Yoda encountered the Force Priestesses during the Clone Wars. They knew the secret to transforming into a Force spirit.
Also, one of our readers mentioned that Kanata reminds him of the Whills, which is actually the concept David Filoni used for The Force Priestesses:
“Though installments from The Lost Missions of Star Wars: The Clone Wars indicated that Qui-Gon Jinn had learned from the Force Priestesses and directing Kenobi to them as well, canon material from the the official Databank and the now-defunct Encyclopedia on StarWars.com still refer to Jinn as having learned from a ‘Shaman of the Whills’, the Ancient Order of the Whills having first been referenced in the novelization of the original Star Wars film.”
“Who are you?”
From Entertainment Weekly:
“Abrams was willing to go a little further and reveal some of the backstory behind Kanata and the castle she inhabits with a court of misfits and miscreants. “Her history is that she was a pirate for a long time,” he says. “She’s lived over a thousand years. She’s had this watering hole (her pirate castle) for about a century, and it’s like another bar that you’d find in a corner of the Star Wars universe.””
Her eyes have special meaning and power. “I had some specific ideas about how she would work and what she would do,” Abrams says. “I had this pitch about these goggles that she wore. Her eyes are an important aspect of her character, and you’ll see how it plays out.”
My speculation is that Maz is neither Sith or Jedi, but a neutrally aligned being like the Voss Mystics or the Force Priestesses. I think through her eyes, people can see a future, a path they may have to walk depending on the choices they make now much like the cave on Dagobah. However, it is her eyes that show them this instead of a place. Her goggles may defuse the power in her eyes allowing her to hold conversations with people without them seeing futures, that could be really cool. She may not have always had this ability, maybe it too “awakened” in her at some point in the past and she understands how to use it. She’ll be the first to introduce Rey and Finn to the mysticism of the force we all loved from the OT, but has an unbiased view, which offers a unique perspective that has been vastly unexplored in the franchise. She is their call to action. The question “who are you?” was not her trying to figure out Rey’s name. I think she was testing her to see if she had accepted her destiny as a Skywalker or not. How Rey answers will determine if she was ready to take the next step in her development and rise to the occasion. Or if she’ll turn away from it and continue being “No one”.
Remember, this is purely speculation on my part, but what do you think? Share your comments below.
I’d like to say thank you to Viral and the SWNN staff for giving me the opportunity to write for site; as well as my fellow 1030th members, The Cantina, and all the fans across the galaxy. Thank you for reading, and may the force be with you all!