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Clues To Maz Kanata's Backstory

Maz Kanata is a standout character in The Force Awakens. While some have dismissed her as a Yoda knockoff, that may be a hasty jump to judgement. Indeed she's a tiny little special effect who seems to be full of wisdom, but the movie lets us know there's more to her than meets the eye. There are plenty of little clues scattered through The Force Awakens that point to Maz having a much bigger story to tell in later movies.

The Lightsaber

One of the most perplexing parts about Maz's character in The Force Awakens is the question of how she came to be in possession of Luke's original blue-bladed lightsaber. This saber was given to Luke by Obi-Wan and lost in Cloud City after Skywalker's confrontation with Darth Vader. But where did it go from there?

Cloud City is in the sky above a gas giant planet called Bespin, and there is no ground below. However, the shaft that swallowed Luke's hand wasn't necessarily bottomless. The popular story is that a scavenger in the depths of Cloud City found the lightsaber. How it made its way from there to Maz may not be as important as why Maz has it and why she seems to understand its importance. After all, there were numerous lightsabers once—just look at the massive Jedi battle on Geonosis from Attack of the Clones.

It seems likely that Maz has an understanding of the Force, those who wield it, and their importance in the universe. Who's to say the universe is entirely in the hands of Jedi and Sith anyway? Why can't there be other factions with different abilities, or at least those who understand that choosing a side is integral to surviving in the universe? Especially if they're as old as Maz...

She's Lived Through All Six Other Movies

Han indicates that Maz is one of the oldest characters in the Star Wars universe. In fact, she's over 1,000 years old, which means she's been around since before even Yoda was born. She's been somewhere watching this entire story play out from the beginning. It's safe to assume that, since she has the lightsaber, knows Han, and has this Force affinity, she's been behind the scenes longer than anyone else we know.

If you recall, Yoda was about 900 when he died, so Maz and Yoda were contemporaries with her even a little bit older, it seems. Could she have been involved with Jedi and the Force in the past? It seems likely given her abilities as presented in The Force Awakens. In a perfect world, maybe we'll find out she was Yoda's main squeeze before he became a Jedi Master.

Given that Kanata is now the oldest living character we've been introduced to, it's likely Maz has many more cards up her sleeve. The fact Maz is introduced as a pirate and a smuggler with her own bar/castle is also noteworthy. Her similarities to Jabba the Hutt are not physical, but rather in the fact that they're both powerful figures running underground empires. As such, you can see why Han Solo and her have a history together. She's basically an otherworldly combination of Jabba and Yoda who leans more towards the Light, from what we've seen. And with a smuggling empire that could be 1,000 years old, it's safe to say Maz trades in more than just physical goods, but likely information and secrets as well.

Her "Boyfriend"

Maz makes reference to Chewbacca as her boyfriend and it's obvious her history with Han and Chewie is long and storied, with Chewbacca apparently getting the better of Maz's attitude than Han. While it's played for laughs in the movie that she really likes Chewbacca, it's still significant for the type of character Maz is being presented as. Unable to speak English, Chewbacca has always served as a character whose actions dictate who he is. He's managed to express loyalty, sorrow, and bravery, all with a series of guttural roars. When we're introduced to a character that's meant to be his friend, that carries some weight. Remermber, Chewie doesn't like just anyone. He's outwardly hostile to Lando, and is indifferent to Luke and Obi-Wan when he first meets them. To get on Chewie's good side, you have to earn it.

Chewbacca has been at the center of the action since working with Yoda in the prequel trilogies. He protects his friends and fights on the Light side of the Force. Anyone who hitches their wagon to Chewbacca's star has to be a decent person, right? And also one with a history of getting into some shady situations for the greater good.

The Force

There's no indication Maz can use the Force, but she's certainly sensitive to it. Is it possible she has other powers not yet known to us in the Star Wars Universe? Remember the first time we saw Force lightning come out of the Emperor's hands in Return of the Jedi? That was pretty much groundbreaking, so the franchise still has room for surprises. Maybe Maz is from a race of beings who are Force sensitive and manipulate it in new ways.Heck, maybe she can manipulate Force users without being able to use the Force herself.

There's lots to speculate about, but Maz makes it clear she has a vested interest in the goings-on of the Light and Dark Sides. She knew the lightsaber was calling out to Rey even when Rey didn't fully understand it. The title of the movie The Force Awakens is directly reflected in lines spoken by Maz when she says there's been an awakening. She's able to feel it, and to understand what it means, even when those more directly involved aren't.

If Maz is Force sensitive but who was never trained, maybe because she was too old, it's likely then that she was at least known to the Jedi council. Surely Yoda and friends at least kept tabs on those in the Universe who could use the Force, just for safety's sake.

Her Eyes

Director J.J. Abrams has stated that Maz Kanata's eyes are an important aspect of her character. If that's how she's able to sense Force potential in others or if there's something deeper at work, it's clear that when Maz looks at a character through her goofy googles, there's more going on than meets the eye—or meets our eyes, at least.

Maz takes a very thorough look at both Rey and Finn and seems to recognize something in them both. In fact, she tells Finn she knows his eyes. A lot is made in this movie of family links, with the first reference coming regarding Kylo Ren, long before we know who his character really is.

This seems to suggest Maz is familiar with more characters than just Han and Chewbacca. She may very well know Luke and the true parents of both Finn and Rey. She my have seen the entire history of this battle between the Dark and Light play out from its very beginning. And who knows? If there are so many larger than life characters on the Dark Side, from Palpatine to Snoke, why can't there be a character on the Light side who's been watching from the sidelines, too?