In the world of Star Wars, there’s always room for exotic-looking characters from various walks of life. One of the more interesting additions to the modern canon of that galaxy far, far away is that of bar proprietor/adventure seeker Maz Kanata, played by Lupita Nyong’o. However, as you’ll see in the unused design for the Star Wars: The Force Awakens character below, we almost saw a very wild departure from her now known visage. Here’s what Maz originally could have looked like:
This comes from Christian Alzmann, a concept artist/art director at Lucasfilm who shared this very special look at what Maz Kanata could have looked like in Star Wars: The Force Awakens on his Instagram page. And while it’s very similar to the final look that we got, both in concept and in execution, it’s also totally wild. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Alzmann’s commentary regarding his Star Wars: The Force Awakens design is the fact that Maz Kanata was always meant to be a nearsighted creature.
With a note of aiming for a look that invoked a character with heavy glasses, but without using those glasses, the eyes are the greatest difference in this Star Wars: The Force Awakens player. In her original design, Maz’s facial structure has a crucial variance that sees her eyes protruding out further, accompanied by a squint that definitely shows the need for some facial furniture.
However, through the process that has seen everything from character designs to entire stories discarded from the Star Wars sequel trilogy, Maz Kanata’s face became the more streamlined. humanoid presence we see today. The finished product sees Maz’s eyes slightly recessed into her face, which keeps the nearsighted nature of the character present. This also allowed the Star Wars: The Force Awakens character to literally acquire some thick glasses, as she gained her memorable accessory, a pair of goggles, out of the deal.
This wasn’t the only change we’d see to Maz Kanata in the Star Wars story, as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker saw her character go from a CGI creation to a puppet-based presence for the final Skywalker Saga entry. Were that shift to have been made with the original design, there would have been bound to have been difficulties in scaling such a wild look into an animatronic likeness. Sometimes, things just work out the way they do for a reason.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and the rest of the Star Wars universe of films and series, can now be seen on Disney+. Who knows? We might even see Maz Kanata pop up in a younger incarnation throughout the shows and projects slated for the streaming service, and her character design might be all the more interesting to see in that particular context.