Star Wars: The Force Awakens brought with it an assortment of new characters. One of the most intriguing new faces of this new trilogy was Maz Kanata, a mysterious, short, Force-sensitive, female smuggler who owned a large castle on Takodana.
Not much is known of this character except that she is over a 1,000 years old, she is somehow sensitive to the Force, and she managed to retrieve the Skywalker lightsaber after it was lost on Cloud City. Not much of a lead.
There's a bit more to know about Maz, though. She is very intrigued by eyes; she has seen many eyes and can tell what someone is feeling simply by looking into their eyes. She demonstrated this in The Force Awakens by looking into the eyes of Finn and identifying his urge to run.
We also know that Maz has witnessed the Dark Side throughout the ages, including through the Sith and the Empire. Though almost everyone in the galaxy witnessed the presence of the Empire, not everyone knew about the Sith. The Sith were a much more secretive group. Clearly, Maz was not cooped up in her castle all those years ago if she somehow managed to witness the rise of the Sith. So where was she? Well, what if I told you...
Maz was right in front of our eyes for four other Star Wars movies
Maz's short stature, the fact that she witnessed major points in the history of the galaxy, her knowledge of Luke and Anakin, and her interest in eyes can all connect her to a previous role in the films, but not as major a role as you'd expect. Maz managed to lay under the radar during the previous Star Wars films as someone who not only witnessed a lot, but actually had a great impact as well, without really being noticed by anyone (with the exception of one brief run-in with the Empire).
During 'Star Wars: The Phantom Menace,' 'Attack of the Clones,' 'A New Hope' and 'Return of the Jedi,' Maz Kanata was a Jawa!
Let's break it down, starting with the more obvious points. First, let's look at the height comparison. According to Wookiepedia.com, Maz Kanata is around 1.24 meters (approx. 4') tall, whereas the average height of a Jawa is somewhere around 1 meter (3' 3"). Though they aren't the exact same number, the 1 meter for Jawas is simply an average. There's no reason that Maz could not have been one of the taller Jawas of the group, as their heights did differentiate.
We also don't know exactly what a Jawa looks like under its brown hood and robes. For all we know, they all could have looked like Maz, or they could have all looked different. All we ever see of their facial features is their glowing yellow eyes. In fact, the costume for these characters under the hood is just a black face cover with two yellow lights on the front. There is no way to disprove that Maz could have been under one of those dark hoods.
What about her eyes?
One of the biggest things Maz would put emphasis on when we saw her in The Force Awakens was a person's eyes. She had an obsession, wearing goggles seemingly just for this purpose. Perhaps this trait was gained from when she lived with the Jawas, as their only form of non-verbal communication (with the exception of gestures) was through their eyes. Eye communication was likely a strong form of communication for Jawas and could easily explain Maz's emphasis on it.
In The Force Awakens, Maz's eyes were hazel. This is unlike Jawas as their eyes seemingly glow yellow. This, however, is explainable in two possible scenarios:
- First option: Maz's goggles are similar to the contact lenses that change your eye color, thus diminishing the bright yellow from her eyes to give out a more hazel appearance.
- Second option: The Jawas wore goggles that gave out a glowing yellow tint.
The second option might make more sense as it explains how the eyes of the Jawa unnaturally manage to glow. Perhaps after retiring as a Jawa, Maz put on a new pair of goggles as she was unacquainted with the feeling of not wearing any.
Maz actually witnessed a lot as a Jawa
If this theory stands, it could actually show a lot of this character's secret history and explain how she knew and saw so much. She somehow knew a lot about the history of the Sith and Jedi, and knew even more about the Skywalker bloodline. Let's look at Maz's appearances on screen chronologically, going from Episode I to VI...
First Appearance: 'The Phantom Menace'
Maz's appearance in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace was brief, but actually ties itself back to when we saw her in The Force Awakens. During the Pod Race, we briefly saw two Jawas watching. As someone who was connected to the Force, and therefore connected to Anakin, it would make a lot of sense that Maz was one of these two Jawas watching the race occur.
This is later supported in The Force Awakens as many of the banners hung on Maz's castle are flags from that specific Pod Race, including Anakin's banner and the banner for the race itself. Maz must have understood this race's importance in the history of the galaxy and kept the flags for safe keeping, later hanging them at her castle like an overcrowded museum exhibit.
Also remember that Darth Maul arrived on Tatooine during The Phantom Menace. Perhaps Maz witnessed the Sith Apprentice, thus explaining her knowledge (and, at the time, curiosity) in this Dark Side organization.
Second Appearance: 'Attack of the Clones'
Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones is one of the few times we actually witness interaction with the Jawas. As Anakin is riding on his speeder to rescue his mother from the Tusken Raiders, he stops to ask a Jawa for directions.
Perhaps this too was Maz Kanata. Maz's connection with the Force most likely informed her that being there would fulfill a large part of Anakin's destiny. Though she likely did not know the end result of that destiny, she most likely wanted to seek out Anakin and help him anyways. She understood that he was the Chosen One, knowing that he was born of the Force. If you had the chance to help the Chosen One, wouldn't you do it?
Third Appearance: 'A New Hope'
The classic Star Wars film included what is perhaps Maz's largest interaction with another character before finally appearing in The Force Awakens. During A New Hope, we witness the Jawas picking up R2-D2 and selling him to Uncle Owen. However, this situation was actually a lot deeper than you may think.
As Maz was able to see many occurrences throughout the galaxy with the Force, obviously using herself as a means to stop the Dark Side at all costs, she likely understood the need to keep the plans hidden inside R2-D2 out of the hands of the Empire. This would explain why she and the other Jawas kidnapped R2 and C-3PO. Maz then took the droids to someone she trusted — Luke Skywalker. She knew that this would start him on his path as a Jedi.
The only catch here would be the fact that all of the Jawas were killed by Stormtroopers. But what if only most of them were killed? Take a look at the picture above. On the left, you can see what we assume to be the entire group of Jawas. If you count them, there are eight in total. On the right is a picture of the Jawas that were slaughtered by the Stormtroopers. How many are there? Seven. So one escaped. Which one exactly? Maz-freaking-Kanata managed to escape just in time after betraying the Empire. Nice work, Maz.
Fourth Appearance: 'Return of the Jedi'
During Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi, we see a lone Jawa in Jabba's palace — which could well be Maz. Behind Jabba, there is a single Jawa. From what we know, Jawas typically like to stay in groups, so seeing one single Jawa on its own is actually quite intriguing. Perhaps it is because the rest of her Jawa friends were killed years earlier.
If this were Maz, it would explain why she later opened her own castle. At Jabba's palace, she witnessed the party life with some of the galaxy's worst people — and somehow enjoyed it. After the death of Jabba, she likely tore off her robes and hood and started her own castle on Takodana.
Although Maz did appear in Jabba's palace, there was no sign of her in the sailbarge during the fight over the Sarlacc. This would explain her survival. Perhaps she volunteered to stay behind, knowing that Jabba and his goons would not stand a chance against the Jedi Luke Skywalker.
Where does the lightsaber come in?
Somehow Maz Kanata managed to retrieve the Skywalker lightsaber that was lost over Cloud City during The Empire Strikes Back, but the answer as to how was never revealed. Perhaps Maz picked it up to add to her collection at her castle after the death of Jabba. Her castle wall does show many memories from her past, including the flags from the Pod Race and the Mandalorian symbol, which is most recognizable from Boba Fett who also resided at Jabba's Palace.
After having a history of watching the Skywalker bloodline, perhaps Maz sought their saber for her collection to remember their legacy. This would make sense as there was a 30-year period of time between the death of Jabba and when we saw Maz on Takodana. There was plenty of time for her to complete her collection with the sword. Plus there's also the possibility that the Force told her to do it, especially since she had already seen it in person before.
Though it is not a definite fact that Maz is a Jawa, it's certainly a strong possibility. It would not only explain a lot about Maz herself, but it would explain how R2 stumbled across Luke Skywalker in the deserts of Tatooine all those years ago. Until there is anything to disprove it, Maz Kanata is a Jawa in my book. She has the stature, she has the characteristics, and it really does fit just like a puzzle piece.