Actress Lupita Nyong'o debuted as Maz Kanata in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and, while she might have only had a brief amount of time on screen, played a pivotal part of Rey's journey by passing Anakin's lightsaber first to Finn before Rey accepted it, with the actress confirming that she will also appear in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, yet refrained from detailing her character's importance. Part of the reason she dodged the question when speaking with Deadline is due in part to not knowing what the final film will look like but, with her role in Star Wars: The Last Jedi being smaller than it was in The Force Awakens, some fans are nervous that her role will be even smaller in the new film.
“I haven’t seen it, I won’t see it,” Nyong'o revealed to the outlet. “They never let you see these things beforehand. Although, maybe, I don’t know. Let’s see how [director] J.J. [Abrams] is feeling this time.”
She added, "I don’t know what the final thing’s going to look like, but from what I saw, I am in it.”
Throughout the development of the saga, Kanata's role has changed over time to suit the story. One sequence from The Force Awakens, which was ultimately scrapped, saw Kanata displaying her powers with the Force.
"There was a particular part of a scene that never made it, where they go underneath the castle and they’re going into the underground passageways, and stormtroopers are coming down the stairs and Maz uses her powers to collapse the ceiling," Chris Corbuld, SFX Supervisor on the film, previously told Collider. "From my point of view, [that] worked absolutely brilliantly because you had all the main actors running up and then Maz does her bit and then the whole ceiling collapses in front of them, but that never made it. That was a shot I was quite proud of, actually, it worked really, really well."
In The Last Jedi, Kanata only appears to tell Finn and Rose who they should look for on Canto Bight to help them carry out their mission, but previous plans included her playing a part of the battle on Crait.
"That was a scene actually filmed, but we took out," Abrams previously revealed to Entertainment Weekly. "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."
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker lands in theaters on December 20th.
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