That is, if Yoda was a pirate.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens will bring back many fan favorite characters from the past films, but it’s also introducing a new generation of young heroes and villains that will shape the face of the galaxy. However, if the new information we have on Lupita Nyong’o’s character Maz Kanata is to be believed… some of the new faces aren’t quite as young as we thought.
In fact, one of them is really, really old.
So… just how old is Maz Kanata?
One thousand years old.
How old is that compared to Yoda?
Well, if Yoda’s line about him being “900 years old” in Return of the Jedi is true Kanata beats him by a few decades.Though, based on how she looks in the poster (she’s the one with the goggles on the left), she’s aged pretty well:
Crazy. How do we know this?
In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Nyong’o gave some background on her character:
“Her history is that she was a pirate for a long time. 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. All that backstory will be forthcoming. In the movie, you don’t learn these things, but I know that these are things that are coming out in other venues.”
So, she’s a pirate?
We’ve kinda known this for a while, but now it’s official. She must have been a pirate during the days of the Old Republic too. We wonder how many Jedi she’s come into contact with. Perhaps a few tried to shut her down once or twice?
Why include a character like this?
Star Wars has always had a thing for wise old mentor figures who have been around a long time and thus know everything. It’s a story telling device that allows you to deliver exposition in a way that’s plausible. Obi-Wan Kenobi was in the first film partly so he could explain the Force and the history of the Jedi Knights to the audience. Yoda expanded on that in The Empire Strikes Back.
So, what is Maz Kanata’s narrative function in The Force Awakens?
Han Solo is definitely going to be more of a mentor figure in this film, but at the end of the day he really doesn’t know a whole lot about the broader history of the Force, the Jedi, and the galaxy as a whole. He’s good for the everyman, sarcastic, ground level perspective on events. If Yoda was the wise old grandpa who was a little loopy, Maz Kanata will probably be the wise old grandma who doesn’t mind smacking you with her cane.
After all, she is a pirate. You can be wise and still be a cranky old jerk.
But, we have to wonder… if this is the reason Kanata is in the film there will be no need for Yoda. Perhaps the rumors of his return are exaggerated?