One of the more intriguing supporting characters introduced in The Force Awakens was Maz Kanata. The wise old woman, played by Lupita Nyong’o, was shown to have a lot of knowledge on the Force and the ways of the Jedi. Notably, she had Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber in her possession until she handed it over to Rey. It was surprising, then, to see that Maz endeded up with a pretty small role in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
That’s not to say she wasn’t important to the story. Far from it, in fact, as she was actually crucial in helping the Resistance, introducing Finn and Rose to DJ, “the master codebreaker hanging out on Canto Bight” that was brought to life so wonderfully by Benicio Del Toro. But if things had gone according to the original plan, Maz would have been around for a bit more of the film, even helping the Resistance on Crait.
Thanks to The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, we’ve now got a look at some concept art for the film. Seen down below, it shows the character standing alongside Poe Dameron, Finn, C-3PO and what appears to be Leia.
If you’re wondering what she’s doing there, the original plan in The Force Awakens was for Maz to actually head back to the Resistance base. As J.J. Abrams told Entertainment Weekly when the film came out:
“That was a scene actually filmed, but we took 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 have her sitting around…Lupita did film scenes on set for that sequence, but it felt like going right just to go left, and it was unnecessary. So we ended up leaving those things out.”
Obviously, this concept art for The Last Jedi was put together back when plans for Maz were still in their original state, and while the role she ultimately played was small – but still crucial – it’s nice to get a look at what could’ve been. As for what lies ahead for Maz, well, that we don’t know, but we’re hopeful that she has a bit more to do in Star Wars: Episode IX when it blasts into theaters on December 20th, 2019.