Out of all the old and new characters and creatures we have seen in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," one sticks out as a person who is being built up to have a far-reaching influence over the course of the continuing saga, despite her diminutive size.
While many are dismissing Maz as a Yoda-copycat who can be thrown away easily in the bigger picture of world around her, many also note that the wisdom and secrets in this ancient space pirate-turned bar-owner can reveal may still prove important as the story unfolds.
Needless to say, spoilers ahead for those who have not yet seen (seriously?) "The Force Awakens."
Real Life Maz
Director J.J. Abrams revealed that instead of drawing inspiration for the character of Maz from a previously established "Star Wars" creature, he instead used a very personal influence to guide him for this wise, old figure - Rose Gilbert, his high school English teacher.
In fact, Miss Gilbert was also a teacher to Rick Carter, the production designer of the film. And though Abrams wanted to show his teacher this character to show her how much she made an impact on him, sadly, she passed away before filming was completed on Dec. 16, 2013. Both he and Carter attended her funeral. She was 95 years old.
According to Abrams, he wanted Maz's character to "feel authentic, despite being a wild fantasy" and he brought up the idea of using his very own teacher during early meetings about the story to inject the element of timelessness into the wise figure that they needed.
Maz and Han Chewie
Han Solo, upon bringing Finn and Rey to Takodana, the planet where Maz has set up a bar/cantina/watering hole in an old castle, that she is an important figure whom he has ran into in the past.
"I like that Wookie." Maz says when she does not see her "boyfriend" with the ragtag group who just entered her establishment.
Clearly, she has some history with Han and Chewbacca - perhaps has even gone on some smuggling adventures with them! -- This may hint at a possibility of seeing more of her in the reported Han Solo spin-off movie.
The Mystery Of Maz
Somehow, Maz was able to obtain the blue light saber that belonged to Anakin Skywalker - the one that Obi Wan Kenobi bequeathed to Luke Skywalker when they first met on Tattooine in "A New Hope" and was lost by Luke when Vader cut off his fighting hand in "The Empire Strikes Back." She hastily explained that the story of how she came into possession of the weapon is one for another time and it will certainly be quite interesting to hear.
Although she had tried to give Rey the lightsaber which she felt was calling to the young woman who was only to begin to awaken to her Force powers, Rey refused and ran away. She was still able to achieve her goal, however, by giving it to Finn instead and even encouraged him to use it in combat - which he did against Kylo Ren, when he failed and became badly injured in his duel with him.
Rey finally picked up the light saber using her powers and it was clear she was a formidable match against the fallen Ben Solo turned apprentice to the Dark side. Could Maz have somehow known that Rey would be the only one who could possibly go head-to-head against the new enemy they faced?
Previous drafts of the film also had Maz traveling back on the Millennium Falcon with the group to the Resistance Base. However this was cut from the final version of the movie since Abrams felt she did not contribute much further to the plot afterwards.
She might not have had a bigger role to play in this movie after the attack on her castle, but what she did while she was on-screen had a big impact on the characters nonetheless.
The Eyes Have It
Although she is not a Jedi herself, and also is described as someone who does not have any particular special relationship with the Force, her years have made her sensitive to those around her who are Force-powerful and she has witnessed the rise and fall of many in the galaxy who have used the Force - both light and dark - to achieve their means.
While she may not by a retired, old sage, like Yoda was, she also speaks in cryptic clues - just enough to get the characters to wake up to the potential and responsibility they have within themselves.
"I have lived long enough to see the same eyes in different people. I see your eyes. I know your eyes," she says in the first time we hear her speak in a voice-over narration in one of the trailers.
Abrams said himself, Maz's eyes were an important part of her character from the beginning and her old-lady-esque spectacles were an important piece in her design as well.
But don't be fooled, this old lady can also lay down some hard, hitting, direct advice, as she did for Han Solo about not running away from Leia any longer.
Maz In Episode VIII And Beyond
Fans most definitely want to know exactly how this ex-space pirate got her hands on the light saber that Luke had lost. She also seems to have some answers for Rey who desperately wants to know who her family is and why she was abandoned in Jakku.
It was Maz who told Rey that deep inside even she knew that her family was never coming back for her. Could she have seen this just by looking into Rey's eyes, or was she able to come across this knowledge some other way?
Although Maz's role in "The Force Awakens" was mostly to move the story forward for other characters, this orange old lady must have a few stories of her own. We already know she's got a bit of spunk in her. And she must think quite highly of herself as well as evidenced by a giant statue of herself proudly standing outside of her castle before it was destroyed by the First Order.
Whatever her secrets are only time, and the continuing saga that is "Star Wars," will tell.