Maz Kanata is one several characters that made an impression with minimal screen time in The Force Awakens. Perhaps only Snoke has an unknown backstory and future that creates as much speculation as Maz. Instead of the past, today we are going to dive deep into the Force and try to see the always moving future of Maz Kanata. This post is almost exclusively speculation based on available information, spoilers may occur so beware.
The first question we must ask is will Maz even be in the future films? Surprisingly there is only one piece of tenuous evidence she will show up in episode VIII or IX. The only mention of Lupita Nyong’o returning is from the premier of TFA where Kathleen Kennedy said everyone on stage would be returning to Episode VIII, unfortunately this can’t be taken as gold since two non-force-user characters are dead and were on that stage. This was before the film premiered so Kathleen Kennedy was obviously trying to prevent spoilers. We know Maz doesn’t die so the character has a chance to return but the questions remains why would she?
What narrative purpose could she have for our three main good guys? Rey is with Luke and I don’t believe she’ll be with them so she would need to be with Finn and/or Poe and have good reason to be with them. I suspect that if she is in Episode VIII Finn will be the main character under her influence. I suspect Maz is also how our new female role will come into play, She will have our new female lead as a protege. Finn and possibly Poe(with the rewrites) will go to Maz for help with tracking something down, information most likely(no McGuffins this time). I don’t believe Maz’s role will be much larger than it was in TFA, she will once again act as a facilitator more than mentor to our main characters. She will provide them with a person or location and insist they bring her protege along with them, this protege will be how Maz influences the story. The other way she could be part of the next movie is answering questions we were left with after TFA. For instance the story of how she found the Skywalker lightsaber and how she knew Han. I suspect that these will be answered in companion books but I could see them being worked into the next movies.
The final question is will we actually see Maz use the Force? There was a deleted scene in TFA where Maz used the Force however since it was cut the movie left us questions as to whether or not Maz can actually use the force, unless her knowing Han Solo was in her bar was part of her feeling him in the force. Fortunately the Visual Dictionary tells us she is Force-sensitive with powers but has kept them hidden. So what does that mean for the movies? I believe that Maz will only use the Force on screen in an overt way if, as we think, Finn is Force-sensitive. This would lead me to believe that the new Female lead that if she is Maz’s protege is also force sensitive. So how much we see of Maz and her abilities will depend on Finn and his abilities. If he is Force-sensitive Maz will help him and her protege on their journey through the Force, perhaps, they will become Jedi or close to what Maz herself is. If he isn’t she will only be a facilitator to the introduction of a new character and moving the Finn/Poe plot along.
Apart from all this, there are opportunities to connect Maz to Rogue One and The Han Solo Anthology film (Hanthology). We’ll see what they come up with.