Speculation: Who is Maz Kanata?

Lupita Nyong'oCuriosity 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.”

Maz Kanata's

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…

Maz

MazThe similarities are unmistakable. But could this be the same character? I’ve got 2 theories:

 

Theory 1:

“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.

 

Falcon

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:

VossThe 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.

 

NightsistersThe 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.

 

PriestessesThe 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.”

Lupita

“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.
P.S.

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!

 

+ posts

60 thoughts on “Speculation: Who is Maz Kanata?

  • November 16, 2015 at 7:34 pm
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    Cool. Regardless of who or what she is, I’m looking forward to meeting Maz.

  • November 16, 2015 at 7:55 pm
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    I have this idea that could be cool, though people seeing potential futures through her eyes fits the narrative more maybe, but what if she can SEE the force? She can see the energy field that penetrates everything and binds the galaxy together? She can see it in people and perhaps because she can see it she can easily manipulate it and she wears the goggles to take that edge from her sight so that it’s not so overwhelming?

    • November 16, 2015 at 8:08 pm
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      that would be AWESOME!

  • November 16, 2015 at 7:59 pm
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    a kind of neutral force user, more like a fortune teller I agree, might also be able to read into the past of objects ( luke’s lightsaber )

    • November 16, 2015 at 8:06 pm
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      Exactly. I’m expecting her to be an “oracle” type similar to the Matrix series. Very excited to find out her story.

    • November 16, 2015 at 8:43 pm
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      Complete speculation, but I believe that maybe this is where the Han Solo dies thing is coming from. Since she can see the future maybe there is a flash of where if Rey doesn’t act Han dies and that is shown. So those “inside sources” showing Han’s death could be true and it could be just a vision.

    • November 16, 2015 at 8:44 pm
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      **POSSIBLE SPOILERS** In regards to Luke’s saber, I imagine that Finn, Rey, Han, Chewie and BB-8 bring it to Maz, in order to have her see if she can tell them where Luke is. At some point, Rey flips out and runs out of the castle, at which point the First Order Attacks the castle, and come close to capturing the rest of the gang, until the Resistance shows up, and they escape. So, I’m wondering, does Maz travel with the Falcon crew (now, missing Rey) back to the Resistance Base, where the scene occurs where she hands it to Leia?

      • November 16, 2015 at 9:02 pm
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        Sounds right, but I think we find out there are 2 objects used to discover Luke’s location, his lightsaber and something concealed inside Poe’s leather jacket. I mean, why else would Finn wear a leather jacket in the blistering Jakku heat. Reckon Poe receives both Luke’s lightsaber and something else from Max Von Sydow’s character before he is taken prisoner.

      • November 17, 2015 at 3:44 am
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        I’ve said this a few times, but I think if for some reason the Skywalker lightsaber is indeed playing a role, then I think it’s to help Kylo construct a better functioning saber or help the First Order use it’s design to build or finish building a bigger weapon than Starkiller Base, seeing as how the design of a lightsbaer is so sacred and unique. I don’t believe it’s going to be used to find Luke, or help find him. Unless Maz or someone in the SWU is like Vibe, then I just don’t see it.

    • November 16, 2015 at 9:16 pm
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      Psychometry. Quin-Lon Voss had it in the old EU.

      • November 16, 2015 at 9:53 pm
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        yup exactly.. and I suspect that Kylo is after it as well ( luke’s saber ) for the same reasons.. finding the last jedi.maybe Kylo doesn’t havethe skills ( psychometry ) but.. Snoke?

        • November 17, 2015 at 3:21 am
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          One of the things that disappointed me in the PT was the lack of force powers we never seen before and this would be the perfect time to introduce it,

      • November 17, 2015 at 12:36 am
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        Is there a required midichlorian count for that?

        • November 17, 2015 at 3:22 am
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          OVER TEN THOUSAND!

  • November 16, 2015 at 8:01 pm
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    Some props guy was probably looking through Lucasfilm prop storage, found a bunch of old flags from the pod race sequence, and thought they would be good to dress the Maz castle with. I wouldn’t read too much into it.

    • November 17, 2015 at 12:55 pm
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      Nothing will be done in this film without reason. Think you will be able to read a lot into everything. We are talking about a film with tons of history, made by fans, for fans 🙂

  • November 16, 2015 at 8:03 pm
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    She is the mother of Yoda Kanata. :p.

    • November 16, 2015 at 8:12 pm
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      LOL

  • November 16, 2015 at 8:08 pm
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    I agree with the article, I think the fact that she is older than even Yoda means she won’t be a Jedi or a Sith but a neutral force-mystic.

  • November 16, 2015 at 8:20 pm
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    Initially I thought the below scene from a recent TV Spot was Rey walking towards Leia at the Resistance Base, as the trailer implies; but now I believe this is a very apprehensive Rey walking down the steps inside Maz’s castle to learn her destiny.

    • November 16, 2015 at 11:49 pm
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      or see luke

      • November 17, 2015 at 12:34 am
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        This was what I thought at first (when she finally meets Luke), but now I think it is Maz’s castle. But who knows!

      • November 17, 2015 at 12:43 am
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        I’m pretty sure all we see of Luke aside from a flashback is the scenes he filmed at Skellig Michael Island. Those scenes don’t resemble the TV spot.

  • November 16, 2015 at 8:23 pm
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    I suspect Maz’s backstory will turn out to be much simpler and less involved than the article implies. I doubt there will be any reference to obscure force-using species or groups that are known only to a handful of SW experts/fans.

    However, since Maz is said to be a collector of some sort, it is not inconceivable that she was indeed present at Anakin’s pod race and wanted to have his flag as a coilection item.

    • November 16, 2015 at 9:14 pm
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      I think Pomojema was simply expressing that non-Jedi or Sith Force-users were a part of you the old canon and there might be beings similar to that idea in the new canon, not that she would have a connection to one of those groups.

  • November 16, 2015 at 8:24 pm
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    If Maz Kanata turns out to be a Whill, I will be completely happy with that, although I’ve always imagined the Whills to be a little bit more abstract. The wonderful thing about this new era of Star Wars is that someday, we’ll probably have a filmmaker who makes a film about that original “Journal of the Whills” concept.

    • November 16, 2015 at 10:25 pm
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      YES

  • November 16, 2015 at 8:59 pm
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    If doubt that Maz is a Whill, it seems like the Priestesses already serve that role.

    But I like the speculation on her eyes. Her eyes are like Galadriel’s Mirror. (So not exactly original but oh well.)

  • November 16, 2015 at 9:05 pm
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    As soon as the question “Who are you?” was asked in the trailer, I thought of another famous sci-fi franchise. In the “Babylon 5” universe, each major race is associated with a particular question that embodies their entire philosophy. The sinister “Shadows”, an ancient race wishing to plunge the entire galaxy into war and chaos in order to accellerate evolution, ask the question WHAT DO YOU WANT? Unbridled ambition is seen as the road to progress.

    The enemies of the Shadows, yet in a way their counterparts, are the Vorlon, a race believing in discipline and order. Their Question is WHO ARE YOU? It encourages introspection and deep reflection over one’s own identity.

    In Babylon 5, the younger races (including humans) must find their own answers to the Great Questions as they become pawns in the vast, millennia-old conflict between the Vorlons and the Shadows with their opposing philosophies.

    So now it is Rey’s turn to find her answer to what geeks still know as the Vorlon Question: WHO ARE YOU?

    Who indeed? We can be sure of one thing: She will find that she is ultimately something far greater than a scavenger.

    • November 16, 2015 at 9:27 pm
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      As far as I recalll, there are two other fundamental Babylon 5 questions besides “who are you” and “what do you want”, namely “why are you here” and “where are you going” (the so-called Lorien questions). I don’t see any relation to Maz Kanata though.

  • November 16, 2015 at 9:14 pm
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    Outside the EU, They seem to largely be ignoring the PT so I don’t seem them directly referencing anything in TPM outside the novels/comics.

    • November 16, 2015 at 11:48 pm
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      podracing flags are so OT

      • November 17, 2015 at 3:24 am
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        But no one would have even noticed them if not for freeze frame which you can’t do in theaters yet. Even then it took this site and a few eagle eyed viewers to pick up on it.

  • November 16, 2015 at 9:33 pm
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    I’m doubtful she will be as cherished by fans as Yoda.. I already don’t like her voice. It sounds too human.. they should of used a voice actor who can generate a more “alien sounding” accent

    • November 16, 2015 at 10:38 pm
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      Then you run into the prequel criticisms over voices that sound like racist accents and everyone gets upset about it.

      • November 17, 2015 at 12:48 am
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        This isn’t a black and white issue.. A character can have an alien accent without sounding like a racial parody like the prequels

    • November 17, 2015 at 12:32 am
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      Well, Yoda has been a beloved character for 35 years… It would take quite a long time for Maz to be as cherished. Plus, she seems a bit like a copy of Yoda, so you’re probably right.

    • November 17, 2015 at 12:50 am
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      Regardless of her voice, Yoda’s success won’t be easy to duplicate in the very least. Plus Yoda’s a key figure in the ENTIRE saga. It remains to be seen how important Maz Kanata’s involvement will be when it’s all said and done.

    • November 17, 2015 at 1:05 am
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      I agree, the voice´s too human, and I don´t like the idea of her age – see last Death Star could destroy planets, next one solar systems, next one perhaps Galaxies…….yoda lived 900, Kanata over thousand, I wonder if the Yoda of the next trilogy remembers the foundation of the Republic 🙂
      seriously….so she was around when Anakin won the race. OK, she is a pirate – strange profession if you live over 1000 years and you are a wise and force sensitive beign…if she´s not a pirate and not as old, I would easily believe she is one of the Lost twenty, it would even make sense…

    • November 17, 2015 at 5:07 pm
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      There’s this squid thing named Ackbar. We like him. A lot.

      • November 17, 2015 at 6:34 pm
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        Your point?

        • November 17, 2015 at 8:53 pm
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          How human should the voice be or not be?

          • November 17, 2015 at 9:03 pm
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            Frank Oz’s speaking voice sounds nothing like Yoda. Lupita’s speaking voice sounds too much like Maz. It’s as simple as that. She is playing an alien, not a human.

  • November 16, 2015 at 9:57 pm
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    *slowly raises hand* But how does Mr Solo know of her existence?

    • November 16, 2015 at 10:46 pm
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      Smugglers and pirates are both part of the scum and villainy scene.

    • November 16, 2015 at 11:48 pm
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      we have 30 years and a extra twenty for them to meet

    • November 17, 2015 at 1:04 am
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      Well, Maz Kanata seems to be a big shot in the galactic underbelly and Han’s services were in good demand back in the day. I wouldn’t be surprised if she hired Captain Solo’s services once or twice before.

  • November 16, 2015 at 10:55 pm
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    Apparently Trac Ball was popular on Tatooine.

  • November 16, 2015 at 11:14 pm
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    Rey was born “of the force” to Leia, Like Anakin was to his mother. This is the reason her and Han have a strained relationship in Force Awakens. They dropped her off on Jakku to protect her. Han has to accept her. He will in this film. Before he dies. Peace Out y’all!

  • November 17, 2015 at 1:32 am
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    I was almost convinced until I got to the “unbiased” bit… unbiased pirate? Unbiased tavern owner? Unbiased collector of Pod racing championship flags? But we can trust her opinion of the force… maybe not

    • November 17, 2015 at 6:04 am
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      If you asked me, I’d say that she is aware of the force itself – for good or bad.
      Like, a Jedi sees that it’s the Force’s Will to have Anakin turn into darth vader, and then RESISTS it to save lives, EVEN THOUGH that’s technically in disagreement with The Force.

      Whereas Maz doesn’t appear to actually be as responsible. She’s a spectator, giving her the benefit of looking at the big picture on a more intellectual level. Because she isn’t directly responsible for the safety of the Galaxy, she has the option to look at the greater good and trusting that Destiny knows what it’s doing. – regardless of how “right” or “wrong” it looks on face value at this moment.
      T’would explain her absence from the Palpatine Wars [Clone Wars + Galactic Rebellion].

  • November 17, 2015 at 1:43 am
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    That connection to Episode 1 is just amazing. What if during the prequel era Maz was a childrens bedtime story ? young Anakin carved a doll after hearing his mum tell stories. Maybe even Yoda heard stories about her when he was a kid. And what if Snoke/Plagueis is other side to that coin ?

    • November 17, 2015 at 2:14 am
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      What “connection”?.. The statue hardly looks like Maz and it seems like prequel fans are really reaching with this one.. So far JJ and crew have been avoiding bringing up the prequels at all (besides the occasional diss)
      Strange for movies that were much more recently released than the OT

  • November 17, 2015 at 1:59 am
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    Interesting article…. perhaps the role of Maz’s eyes is simply to provide a ‘way-in’ (a narrative conceit) in to the flashback / Force Vision sequence(s) that allow for the necessary exposition to get us all up to speed with the past 30 years ??

  • November 17, 2015 at 2:52 am
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    Yoda 2.0

  • November 17, 2015 at 2:56 am
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    Theoretically, they could have hired Frank Oz to voice her.

  • November 17, 2015 at 5:56 am
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    I’m liking your theory except about Anakin’s flag.

    There are a lot of flags, I would assume that the flags are tokens left by various guests, akin to the “Famous Customers’ Signatures” walls some restaurants have. Like a “____ was here” sort of deal.
    So there could be any number of people that have an Anakin Flag on them, seeing as how popular pod-racing was, I’d think that would be something someone might hang on to.

    Either that or she puts her personal flag collection outdoors for some reason – if those are HER flags, I can’t wait to hear the story where she goes to Mandalore and plays black-jack with some bounty-hunters.

  • November 17, 2015 at 6:07 am
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    Maz Kanata’s character sounds exactly like a character I’ve been sitting on for 3 years, like, the more I hear, the more similar Maz is to the character I already thought of.

    DAMN IT.

  • November 17, 2015 at 9:17 am
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    I’m very interested in this character so far, and I love that they’ve kept her so secret. Just one month to go, ladies and gentlemen…

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