‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Reveals First Look at Lupita Nyong’o’s Maz Kanata
When Vanity Fair released all of those incredible Star Wars: The Force Awakens photographs, one of the most intriguing images features Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o in a motion capture rig. This sight, not uncommon for major talents in the wake of Andy Serkis, confirmed a bunch of old rumors: the 12 Years a Slave star is playing an alien in J.J. Abrams’ upcoming film. Now, a piece of concept art supposedly depicting Nyong’o’s Maz Kanata has appeared online and, well, let’s just say that mo-cap may have been the way to go with this particular alien design.
While Abrams and the rest of the Force Awakens team have bent over backwards to incorporate practical make-up and puppetry into the film, Maz’s design looks like it would have been, well, difficult to apply to an actor who is not a secret giraffe. And while this could have been a puppet character, the casting of such a talented thespian suggests that the story calls for a genuine performance from an actual actor. There’s no shame in mo-cap in the year 2015!
Anyway, here’s Maz, courtesy of Indie Revolver:
Since that’s concept art, the final version of the character may be slightly different. However, the design does align with early rumors about the character (who was codenamed “Rose” on set), which suggested that Nyong’o was playing a strange, authoritative alien of some kind. We now know that this strange, authoritative alien is a pirate and that her “castle” is filled with all kinds of “galactic travelers, smugglers, and other assorted riffraff.”
But is she a hero, a villain, or something in between? Since there’s a shot in the trailer where a pair of very alien-looking hands appear to hand Daisey Ridley’s Rey a lightsaber, we’re going to go with “rougish hero.”
Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in theaters on December 18.