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There are quite a few new characters to meet in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Some of the, like Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), we spend a lot of time with and get a fair amount of their story—not to say that we’re not left with mysteries. Then there are others we get less of. One of these is Maz Kanata. We’ve heard reports that her part was trimmed down in editing, and now we know why one scene was cut.
SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Force Awakens lurk beyond this point. Beware.
In the trailers for The Force Awakens there is a shot of Maz Kanata, voiced and motion captured by Lupita Nyong’o, handing a lightsaber to General Leia. We now know to whom the weapon in question belongs, but this moment is curiously absent from the finished film. Talking to Entertainment Weekly, director J.J. Abrams explained why.
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.
This answers one of the questions that many of us had after watching The Force Awakens, which is what happened to Maz? The last we see of her, the Kylo Ren and his First Order goons are attacking her watering hole on the planet Takodana, and she gets Finn to light up Luke’s lightsaber and have at some stormtroopers. If I’m not mistaken, after that, we don’t see her again.
It makes sense that Maz, if she survived, would have accompanied Han Solo and the others to the Resistance base. But if, like Abrams says, she didn’t really have any further part to play in the larger narrative, she would have just felt like additional baggage taking up space, and it’s easy to see why she was cut for time and pacing issues.
Though she disappears, we haven’t seen the last of the little bug-eyed weirdo. Abrams has said that we will see more of her story unfold over the course of future Episode movies, and given that she is more than a thousand years old and has see some shit in her time dealing with the underworld of the galaxy, she will likely have all kinds of valuable insight into the impending conflict with the First Order.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is in theaters now, but considering how much money it has already made, you probably know that and have seen it a couple of times.