‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’: Lupita Nyong’o Character Details Revealed

12 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

J.J. Abrams Offers Details About Lupita Nyong’o’s ‘Force Awakens’ Character.

One thing we haven’t seen, at least not in any detail, is the character speaking these words in the recent TV spot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Maz Kanata, the diminutive alien played by 12 Years a Slave Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o. With Yoda no longer in the picture, who is going to be that wise voice of reason, the personality in the Star Wars universe that imparts knowledge and advice to our heroes?

It’s almost time to head to a galaxy far, far away, and Lucasfilm has debuted another new poster for the upcoming taking us to Jakku with Daisy Ridley’s Rey and her companion BB-8. But she’s been hiding in plain sight, and many fans have already guessed: She’s in the center of the movie’s poster, sporting a small smile and a large pair of dark goggles. “That’s Maz,” says director J.J. Opening in theaters on December 18, 2015, is set 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, and features a new generation of swashbuckling heroes and shadowy villains, as well as the return of fan-favorite smugglers, princesses, and Jedi.

I know your eyes.” Abrams confirms to Entertainment Weekly that “her eyes are an important aspect of her character,” and that, yes, she has lived a very long time, much of it in a castle the magazine says she “inhabits with a court of misfits and miscreants.” “Her history is that she was a pirate for a long time,” he said. “She’s lived over a thousand years. She’s had this watering hole for about a century, and it’s like another bar that you’d find in a corner of the ‘Star Wars’ universe.” However, if you want to know more about Maz’s backstory, you’re not going to learn it in EW, or in “The Force Awakens.” Abrams suggests you’ll have to look for that “in other venues,” such as books or games. Abrams, the highly-anticipated movie stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Max Von Sydow. Her eyes have special meaning and power. “I had some specific ideas about how she would work and what she would do,” Abrams says. “I had this pitch about these goggles that she wore.

That information, of course, is being kept a secret by Abrams, as is Maz’s deeper backstory, which the director said is “coming out in other venues,” not necessarily in The Force Awakens. Maz is one of the few creatures in her court who is not a real-life, practical effect, and Abrams said the digital artists had a high standard to meet to make her blend in. “Maz needed to look and feel and be just like one of those creatures. She expounded on this and shared some wisdom from the mocap king himself, Andy Serkis: The biggest advice [Andy] gave me, that was so important to hold on to, is a motion-capture character you develop the same way as any other. And given her mobility, and given the role that she played, it became clear that that was one creature where we should use the tool of CG,” he says. “But the performance was all Lupita. She was there on set, and we did capture sessions afterwards as well, and I can’t say enough about working with her.” Nyong’o was also a newcomer to performance-capture work, but she was coached by Andy Serkis (Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes) at his digital studio, The Imaginarium.

You have to understand who the character is and what makes them who they are,” she says. “You went to the big man himself, when you talked to J.J.” Nyong’o says with a laugh. “So you have gotten as much as you’re going to get, I’m afraid.” If I could speculate for a moment: looking these details and some info from the trailer, it could very well be that Maz is force-sensitive, and has the ability to find that force-sensitivity in others. Rey has the potential to be force-sensitive, judging by the way the trailer is edited, with Maz providing voice-over with Rey often serving as a focal point. It’s possible Maz’s eyes are what help her see into people’s potential, but it’s something she likely doesn’t want to use a lot as she keeps them behind goggles.

Looking at the concept art for the character, it’s clear to see why people are unhappy with Maz; there’s a striking likeness to a racist late-1875 caricature. Additionally, given the franchise’s treatment of another black actor hidden behind CGI (see: Ahmed Best’s Jar Jar Binks), one can see exactly where the worries come from. We won’t really know what kind of character she is until we’re all seeing her on the big screen, but hopes are indeed quite high for this former-space-pirate-possibly-a-force-sensitive-bar-owner.

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