Indie Revolver has been going strong the last year with Star Wars scoops. Today, they’ve revealed the look for Lupita N’yong’o’s character of Maz Kanata, a pirate who may or may not be an ally to our heroes.
So, what does she look like?
There you go. She certainly fits the role of space pirate nicely, especially with the do-rag. It’s a look reminiscent of the golden age of piracy, which may allow them to draw on both fashions from Asian and Caribbean sects of pirate culture in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Have we seen this species before?
Perhaps, though it’s impossible to say just from the concept art. However, there are two species very reminiscent of Maz Kanata’s design. The first species you may remember as a background Jedi in The Phantom Menace named Yarael Poof, who sat on the Jedi Council. According to Canon, Poof’s species is referred to as a Quermian. Unfortunately, there’s nothing else present in canon nor the Expanded Universe about the species.
Poof’s neck seems longer, paler, and thinner than Kanata’s. In addition, his nose is flatter, lacking Kanata’s ridge.
Another candidate for Kanata’s species are the Xert which hail from the planet Troiuken. The only on screen example we’ve seen is the podracer Gasgano, who raced against Sebulba and Anakin in the Boonta Eve Classic.
Again, it’s not quite a fit for the same species, as Gasgano seems to have a longer, paler neck with larger black eyes.
So Maz Kanata is probably a member of an all new species.
That’s probably the most likely explanation, however it’s worth nothing that Maz Kanata is most likely female, where Yarael Poof and Gasgano are the males of their respective races. So, it’s certainly possible that Kanata’s physical differences are merely the result of being a different gender.
Why is Maz Kanata CGI when all the other aliens seem to be practical effects?
Well, given the crew’s devotion making The Force Awakens like the Original Trilogy, they wouldn’t stray from their practical effects edict without a reason or without thinking they could pull it off convincingly. Even big blockbusters with an emphasis on practical effects occasionally use CGI characters when they absolutely have to. Just look at Gollum in The Lord of the Rings.
Though puppets like Yoda can have fantastic expression, they do have their limits. If they want someone like Lupita Nyong’o on set, moving around, and possibly fighting, it makes sense to have her as CGI if they have a truly outlandish character design in mind.
What else do we know about her?
Not much. She’s rumored to live in a castle that has gone by several names in the production office, including “Exotic City,” “The Golan District,” and “The Hall of Mirrors.” It’s very possible all of those names refer to certain locations near or in the overall setting of Maz Kanata’s home.