Maz Kanata was a character of study from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The first discussion around the character was whether or not she'd be a puppet, like Yoda, or a computer generated character. You know, like New Trilogy Yoda. J.J. Abrams decided her character was too important and needed to be in full movement in a number of scenes. So she got the full CG treatment, with Lupita Nyong'o doing capture sessions to make it as real as possible.
The Star Wars universe describes Maz as an ex-pirate, a job that allowed her to see much of the galaxy. It also allows her to easily relate to Han Solo. During her sit-down with Rey in The Force Awakens, the character reveals that she is "familiar" with the Force. While audiences would have liked to know more, the character gets distracted by admitting she was seeking the "D" from Chewbacca. Well, maybe not exactly, but it is theorized that her and Yoda had a er, history. So we were left to assume she probably has quite a bit of knowledge with the Force, especially since she was holding Luke Skywalker's Lightsaber in her wine cellar.
And then there is that deleted scene that was tragically cut from the film. In it, Maz is seen fighting Storm Troopers near where Rey found the Lightsaber. How does Maz deal with her enemies? By using the Force, of course. Whoa! In the scene she collapses the ceiling to crush the incoming First Order troops. So this character is obviously important. But then rumors surfaced that had many thinking the character would not be making a return to the sequels. Not so!
Maz Kanata Still Important in Star Wars Trilogy
While stopping by The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Lupita Nyong'o explained that she finished filming/recording her scenes for Star Wars: Episode VIII. She reveals this could be big news for some, considering the rumors of the character not returning.
"I don’t know where this rumor came from! I have no idea. It hurt my feelings."
These rumors may have had something to do with the earlier rumors from set claiming a number of Maz Kanata scenes were cut (from Force Awakens) because Nyong'o's voicework fell flat. While the rumors are hard to believe, considering Nyong'o's acting abilities are typically on point, we did see Natalie Portman struggle in Episodes I-III. No matter what you believe, Maz Kanata is back.
"I shot my scenes, it's coming out – you never really know, when you shoot your scenes in a movie, which ones are gonna make it and all that. So, it's always, Fingers crossed! But as far as I know, I'm in it."
She acknowledges that she can't know how much of her work will make the cut, somewhat confirming that she had a lot of work left on the editing table the last time.