Maz Kanata's Role in 'Rise of Skywalker' May Solve a Huge Star Wars Mystery

Will we finally learn what happened to Luke's lightsaber?

There’s plenty of moving pieces on the Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker chessboard right now, but we can’t afford to ignore a potential key player: Maz Kanata. The former space pirate didn’t get much screen time in Last Jedi, but she could help solve a major mystery from The Force Awakens and shed some light on Rey’s past, present, and future in The Rise of Skywalker.

Laugh all you want, but we’ve all spent way too much time not talking about how important Maz Kanata (voiced by the inimitable Lupita Nyong’o) could be in the final chapters of the Skywalker saga. Maz was first introduced in Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens, where she was given a decently sized role to play as a rogue “pirate queen” whose cache of prized possessions included Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber. She’s set to make another appearance in The Rise of Skywalker and could turn out to be a key player in the story despite being mostly sidelined in previous films.

Speculative spoilers ahead for Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker.

Maz Kanata and Rey have a meeting in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'
Maz and Rey have a heart-to-heart in 'Force Awakens'

Maz has a long history with the Empire, Palpatine, and the now-fallen Jedi Order, which means she has the potential to be a key source of information and aid within the Rise of Skywalker story. With Palpatine set to return in some form, Luke’s Force ghost watching over the proceedings, and — this is the real kicker — Maz actually having some personal history with Palpatine, as well as the now-defunct Jedi Order, it’s looking more and more likely that Maz will be the important connective tissue to tie this movie together.

As a Force-sensitive being, Maz has long understood the responsibilities that come with that power and what it means if the Empire got their hands on her to exploit her abilities. Armed with this knowledge in her younger years, Maz sought protection with the Jedi Order to prevent falling into the Empire’s hands — something even more important as time went on, as she saw exactly how the Empire handled both the Jedi and those outside the Order who were Force-sensitive. All of this is to say that going into Rise of Skywalker, Maz’s history with both the Sith and the Jedi have the potential to be very informative as both Rey and the Resistance each plan their next moves.

Let’s also not forget that Star Wars still needs to reveal how exactly Maz got her hands on the lightsaber created for Anakin Skywalker, which was then passed on to Luke. In the original Star Wars trilogy, Luke is in possession of his iconic blue lightsaber — the same one Maz Kanata gave to Rey in The Force Awakens. However, The Last Jedi revealed Luke had a green lightsaber back when he was training Kylo Ren in between Episode VI and VII.

The Rise of Skywalker needs to account for how lightsabers were shuffled around and why Maz came to have Anakin/Luke’s blue lightsaber. The exact progression of events is still a mystery, but it could be a potentially illuminating memory, especially for Rey as she continues her Jedi training and grows in her Force-sensitive abilities.

Maz acquiring Luke’s lightsaber may not seem like an earth-shattering moment, but it could prove to be really important. The circumstances of Maz taking this iconic weapon and the people she had to interact with to get it may provide some clues about Luke’s past, other Jedi activity, the Empire, or some aspect of Star Wars history fans don’t even know they need to be concerned about.

Maz Kanata via hologram message in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'
Maz Kanata via hologram message in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'

If it wasn’t clear enough, Maz has been egregiously sidelined in the Star Wars sequels thus far, but she could be of major importance to The Rise of Skywalker. First, we need to consider what the heck she was doing during the events of The Last Jedi. Maz appears in one scene via a hologram conversation with Finn, Rose, and Poe. As Maz tells the duo how to find a master codebreaker on Canto Bight, she reveals she’s in the middle of a “union dispute” (aka a firefight). Whether or not this union dispute has to do with other troubles in the galaxy (and, honestly, it totally could), Maz’s quick appearance in The Last Jedi raises this very important question: What the hell has she been doing since The Force Awakens? Has she been operating on her own? Could she be involved in Resistance business? We. Need. Answers.

Like it or not, things are about to get very tough for Rey and the Resistance going into The Rise of Skywalker. The soul of the galaxy is at stake, and they’re going to be fighting their hardest to make sure Palpatine, Kylo, or some unforeseen shadowy figure is able to tip the scales towards the Dark side. With a big final battle ahead, it’s time we stopped overlooking Maz and instead realized she has a wealth of knowledge and experience which could prove vital on the road ahead — or at least finally explain what happened to Luke’s blue lightsaber.


Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker is out December 22, 2019.

Media via Lucasfilm, YouTube