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With filming well underway for the eighth film in the (official) Star Wars saga, rumors are rife about who will be retuning to a galaxy far, far away. We already know that newcomer Kelly Marie Tran will play a big part alongside Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, and now signs point to another Episode VII favorite lighting up their lightsabers once more.
By the looks of it, Han Solo's Force sensitive, smuggler friend, Maz Kanata, could be reprising her role as the 1000-year-old underworld figure. Director Rian Johnson posted a cryptic black and white image of Maz on his Tumblr, presumably from the motion capture set of the film.
Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o brought Maz to life in last year's Star Wars: The Force Awakens when she offered words of advice to Daisy Ridley's Rey. It also turned out that Maz had a previous connection to Star Wars lore, as the basement of her cantina is where Luke Skywalker's fabled lightsaber was being kept. The Force Awakens's director, J.J. Abrams, revealed that Maz originally had a bigger part to play, which was cut in the third act. Deleted scenes showed Maz dispatching incoming Stormtroopers using her Force powers, as well as accompanying the main characters to the Resistance base after the attack on Takodana.
When we last saw Maz, she was M.I.A., her castle was left in ruins by the First Order and it appeared her role in the "new" trilogy would be over. Maz has pulled a Captain Phasma, dodging death to appear in 2017's (as yet untitled) Star Wars follow-up. How much of a role she will play in Episode VIII remains to be seen, but with Rey entering into Jedi training with Luke Skywalker, could Maz be joining them for some Karate Kid-style training?