Maz Kanata: Character Corner

Maz Kanata
Maz Kanata

Among the new characters introduced to us in Star Wars Episode VII, Maz Kanata is perhaps the most interesting. Portrayed by actress Lupita Nyong’O, this short, ancient creature is a member of an unknown alien race, and is so far the oldest character to appear in a canon feature, beating the previous record holder by at least seventy years. Said to be more than a thousand years old, this force-sensitive character hid, for some reason not becoming a Jedi. When Emperor Palpatine took control, she hid, only revealing her force-sensitive properties after his death.

She came to own a castle on the planet Takodana, which Maz turned into a den and temporary home for travelers and smugglers. Now able to utilize her strong connection to the Force, she began to gather items of important value, such as Anakin Skywalker’s original lightsaber, which Rey finds.

This strange creature says she has the ability to see other people’s inner thoughts and feelings – though the movie doesn’t explain if this is an ability gained through the Force or simply something she picked up in her many years, though she does adjust her glasses for a closer look beforehand. It is unknown what she does after the First Order attacks, evidently destroying the castle

Behind the Scenes:

Gossam
Gossam

Inspired by his high school English teacher (Rose Gilbert), J.J. Abrams said: “We really wanted the story to feel authentic, despite being a wild fantasy. I mentioned Rose in an early story meeting as a sort of timeless, wise figure that I’d actually known in my life.” Sadly, Gilbert died during pre-production. Maz was a full CGI character, with Lupita Nyong’O providing the facial expressions and voice. According to Abrams, Maz was originally going to continue to be seen in the background of the resistance, but was eventually removed because she had nothing to do or say. Maz was originally going to be a Gossam, an alien species allied with the Separatists during the Clone War.

Thanks for reading! We hope you enjoyed learning about one of the Star Wars world’s newest characters. Hopefully we’ll see more of Maz in the future. Come back next week for more fun fan information!

Actor and Actress needs for Episode VII

Kylo Ren's actor had to work around his filming scheduleIf you were an actor or actress and J.J. Abrams came a-calling with even a small scene for you to appear in for Star Wars Episode VIII, wouldn’t you drop everything for the chance? Maybe even if you weren’t an actor. Well, it happened for Episode VII, but this is a world with many interlocking parts, so some actors and actresses had a few things to clear up before The Force Awakens could appear. They range from requests and acting choices all the way to:

John Boyega (Finn), when he heard he’d been given the lead role, dropped out of a Jessie Owns Biopic (Race), and was replaced by Stephan James, who also appeared in Selma. Race comes out February 19th, 2016. Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill both received personal trainers and nutritionists to help them get in shape for their respective roles, and after announcing his role in Episode VII, actor Adam Driver (Kylo Ren) had to work around his shooting schedule for HBO’s comedy-drama series Girls.

Lupita Nyong’o has said she wanted to play a role where her distinctive appearance wasn’t important, and she got it in centuries-old space pirate Maz Kanata. Anthony Daniels, the man behind the C-3PO mask, was originally going to be contributing only his voice, until Abrams and/or Daniels himself (sources are split) decided to make it an acting role as well. Egregiously tall Peter Mayhew again played Chewbacca, but due to Mayhew’s age and knee problems was replaced with Joonas Suotamo (6’ 10” Finnish basketball player and actor) during action sequences.

We’re sure there are plenty more stories from every actor and actress that will be revealed with time, but this is what we know already. Thanks for reading! If you’re looking for more fun fan Star Wars information, be sure to check back next week!

Characters Missing From Episode VII

Lando Calrissian is one of the characters missing from Episode VII
Missing: Lando Calrissian

We saw lots of characters we know and love in Star Wars Episode VII: Luke, Han, and Leia, C-3PO and R2-D2, and Chewie, but one of the loveable things about the Star Wars movies is the wide cast of character we know and love. The characters from the original trilogy are some of the most beloved for fans, and there are plenty missing from the Force Awakens.

The most glaring is Lando Calrissian. The gloriously mustachioed part-smuggler, part-gambler, and part-legitimate businessman was an established member of the rebel alliance by the end of Return of the Jedi, both helping break Han free of Jabba’s palace as well as pilot the Millennium Falcon during the final battle. Why doesn’t he show up during Episode VII? It could be the character will show up in the next movie (in a fun mirror of the original series), or it could be for a reason related to a real-world issue such as money.

There are plenty more. Hardly anyone imagined Boba Fett actually met his end in the Sarlacc, and though many would have liked to see him, not many expected it. Denis Lawson, the actor known for playing Wedge Antilles during (most of) the original series, turned down an offer to reprise the roll, stating he would be bored by what they were likely to offer him. Even Mon Mothma, a Rebel leader and likely Republic politician, doesn’t receive so much as a name drop during The Force Awaken’s 140-minute run time.

Then again, one of the legitimate criticisms of the prequels is the flagrant and unnecessary shoe-horning of characters viewers recognize from the original trilogy, so perhaps it’s to the movie’s favor they don’t try to put every single recognizable face in front of us.

Thanks for reading! Come back next week for more fun fan information about your favorite series.

Starkiller Base: The New Terror

Starkiller BaseOnce again, the forces of the Sith have arranged themselves behind immense power. The Starkiller Base – contained within an entire unnamed planet – was the pinnacle of destructive technology, able to obliterate entire star systems. The destruction of this weapon was the goal of the Resistance in The Force Awakens, and they succeeded after paying a terrible price. Want to know how it works?

Using a method of cutting off sunlight from the surface of the planet, a star’s energy would be drained into the core of Starkiller base, and then move on to another using thrusters built into the planet’s crust. The energy within is referred to as “quintessence,” a form of dark energy present throughout the galaxy. The energy would be held in place both by the planet’s magnetic field, as well as an artificial containment field the First Order had installed. A thermal oscillator (which was the target of the sabotage by Finn, Han, and Chewie) worked to contain the quintessence using much less than a stable field would.

A vast cylinder, large enough to draw the eye when viewing the planet from orbit, sank to where the energy was stored in order to direct the energy toward a target. The cylinder also absorbed the shock of the weapon’s firing. It is in this way the weapon was most vulnerable right before firing – should the thermal oscillator be destroyed, the energy would quickly destroy the planet, as we saw in Episode VII.

When firing, a small breach would be made in the containment field, leading to the cylinder. The quintessence transformed into “phantom energy,” able to travel through sub-hyperspace. This made travel to Starkiller Base’s target near instantaneous until it reach a large enough solid mass. When struck, the phantom energy produced enough heat to detonate the planet’s core. The space-time distortion the phantom energy traveling at such speeds made it possible to see the destruction simultaneously thousands of light-years away.

Starkiller Base was protected by shields able to stop bombardment and enemy infiltrators, but critical gaps in the shield’s refresh allowed the Millennium Falcon to land during the third act of Episode VII.

Thanks for reading! We hope you enjoyed this breakdown of another destructive force in the galaxy! Come back next week for more fun fan information.

Kylo watches Starkiller
Kylo Ren watches Starkiller Base fire