Lupita Nyongo’s ‘Star Wars’ character is over 1,000 years old and has important eyes

We know what Maz Kanata looks like, but we still don't know what role she'll play.


Aja Romano

Internet Culture

Published Nov 12, 2015   Updated May 27, 2021, 4:09 pm CDT

The Internet is teeming with theories and speculation about Star WarsThe Force Awakens thanks to Entertainment Weekly‘s exclusive new stories. Yesterday, the magazine unveiled 27 new stills from the film and new interviews with Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher. Today, it revealed that Lupita Nyong’o‘s character Maz Kanata is indeed the strange alien featured in the Force Awakens poster.

That’s right—as many fans suspected, this enigmatic woman was hiding in plain sight all along.

Star Wars/Twitter

Maz’s voice is the one in the film’s new TV spot, uttering the line, “I have lived long enough to see the same eyes in different people. I see your eyes. I know your eyes.” Director J.J. Abrams told EW that the line is significant for Maz: Her eyes contain “special meaning and power,” which probably explains why she wears those distinctive goggles.

Thanks to this summer’s Annie Leibovitz photo shoot for Vanity Fair, we already knew that Maz was a pirate who held court in an exotic castle. But EW added that Maz, who is over a thousand years old, lives in “a court of misfits and miscreants.” That sounds like our kind of hangout.

EW also treated us to many more details about other characters, particularly Leia and Rey. Let’s break down what we’ve learned:

  • Leia is now called “General.” In a look at Princess—sorry, General—Leia, EW revealed that the Star Wars heroine now carries a professional title rather than her noble one. According to Abrams, however, there is an exception: One character in the movie slips up. Most fans agree that it’s probably Han.
  • She’s a solitary figure in an intense role. According to Abrams, there’s “not a lot of fooling around” when it comes to Leia, because “the stakes are pretty high.” Meanwhile Carrie Fisher described her—in more Leia-esque fashion—as “solitary. Under a lot of pressure. Committed as ever to her cause,” as well as “defeated, tired, and pissed.”
  • Rey is an abandoned child. Her as-yet-unidentified parents left her on the desert planet Jakku when she was 5 years old. Actress Daisy Ridley described Rey as having been “alone for a long time.” Later, she added that “the film, for Rey, is a journey of finding out that no one is no one.”

There’s even more about the new film in Entertainment Weekly‘s photo gallery.

Photo via Star Wars Movies/Facebook

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*First Published: Nov 12, 2015, 1:56 pm CST