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Close your eyes. Feel it. The light… it’s always been there. It will guide you.
~ Maz Kanata
Through the ages… I've seen evil take many forms. The Sith. The Empire. Today, it is the First Order. Their shadow is spreading across the galaxy. We must face them. Fight them. All of us.
~ Maz Kanata in The Force Awakens.
Maz Kanata is a major character in the Star Wars sequel trilogy. She is a major character in Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, a minor character in Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi, and a supporting character in Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker.
She was portrayed by Lupita Nyong'o, who also portrayed Nakia in Black Panther, and Raksha in The Jungle Book.
Born over a millennium before the war between the Resistance and the First Order, Maz established herself as a pirate queen around 1,000 years before the war, with her home base on Takodana.
During the High Republic Era she helped take care of the infant Qort after he was left on the doorstep of her castle. Discovering Qort to be Force sensitive Maz helped ensure that he was delivered to the Jedi order.
About half a century before the Battle of Yavin, she encountered the unorthodox Jedi Rael Averross when he stopped by the castle. When Averross was contacted by Qui-Gon Jinn she briefly appeared in the hologram being projected to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, bringing Averross a fresh drink.
Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens
She is a wise, small elderly space pirate who runs a cantina in a castle with a firm and even hand. Her origins are a mystery, but she serves a part in helping the protagonist, Rey, and her friends on their journey.
Maz is first introduced when Rey, Finn, Han Solo, and Chewbacca go to her castle to find a way to bring the droid BB-8 to safety from the wicked First Order. Maz, concerned for their safety, tells them to go home but she reluctantly aids them. She sees in Finn's eyes that he is trying to hide from his origins as a stormtrooper.
When Rey discovers the Skywalker's long-lost lightsaber, Maz sees that Rey has saw a vision and that the saber was calling to her. Maz tells Rey that she sees the truth about her in her eyes: that the ones she is waiting in Jakku would never come back, but someone in the future might would, and that the belonging she is seeking is ahead, not in the past. She then tries to give the saber to Rey, but she refuses it and leaves.
She later reveals that she has been keeping the lightsaber safe for thirty years since the Rebellion's triumph over the Empire, but she never reveals how did she obtained the saber. She gives it to Finn when the First Order is the attacking Takodana.
As for Maz, she helps our heroes escape and manages to escape herself alive.
Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi
Maz directs Finn and Rose Tico to the Codebreaker on Canto Bight.
Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker
Maz is seen at the Resistance base during this movie. When they receive a broadcast message from the late Darth Sidious threatening revenge, Maz proposes that if they want to stop him, they will need to find his location, Exegol.
When Organa decides to reach out to her son that is dueling Rey in the Death Star ruins, Maz knows what Leia needs to do to save him. After Leia manages to use the last of her energy to reach her son and Rey, she dies and a funeral is held for the late Alderaan princess where Maz sadly looks upon her dead body and bids her farewell.
Later, Maz sees Leia's body become one with the Force (at the same time Ben Solo vanishes at Exegol due to transferring his life force to revive Rey). Upon seeing this, Maz smiles, knowing that Leia is now at peace. During the Resistance's celebration after Sidious and the Sith Eternal's defeats, Maz presents Chewbacca with Han Solo's Medal of Bravery which he earned after the Battle of Yavin as she knows that Han would want his friend to have it.
At The Force Awakens, when Maz tells Rey that someone in the future might come back for her, Rey replies that she thinks that this person is Luke Skywalker. Nevertheless, during The Last Jedi, Rey seeks comfort in Kylo Ren while Luke is very reluctant to teach or even listen to her. Kylo Ren and Rey share similar feelings of loneliness and family abandonment, so he is able to understand and sympathize with her. This dialogue between Maz and Rey also heavily foreshadows Rey helping to turn Ben Solo back to the light side in The Rise of Skywalker.