Since the birth of CGI, there are some characters that have become as indelible as any other flesh-and-blood on-screen figure. Names like Gollum, Aslan, and Neytiri take us from the fires of Mordor to Narnia to the lush moonscapes of Pandora with a single mention. What we tend to forget is that many of these CGI'd presences aren't simply made up of binary codes and body-less voices: they're the product of an actual actor working in concert with teams of visual effects specialists, much of the time tirelessly and with gargantuan amounts of effort.
As we all probably agree, the latest addition to this pantheon of memorable characters is Maz Kanata, the Force-sensitive, 1,000-year-old female smuggler played by Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o in 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And just like her co-star Andy Serkis did as Gollum in the Lord of The Rings trilogy, fans can now see the process Nyong'o and the production team undertook to bring the pint-sized Maz to the silver screen — all thanks to a video clip.
Created by Industrial Light and Magic, the same VFX and animation company responsible for every effect from Raiders of the Lost Ark to E.T. to Jurassic Park, the video shows us a sensor-equipped Nyong'o with commentary from the ILM production team — and it's truly a marvel to behold. (It should also be mentioned that ILM was created in 1975 by none other than George Lucas, so we're guessing they're pretty much superexperts when it comes to a galaxy far, far away.)
Nyong'o posted the video clip to her Twitter account on March 21. The given reason? Nothing in particular, it seems: the accompanying tweet simply said "Happy #MazMonday! @StarWars #TheForceAwakens."
Well ... not entirely. According to CinemaBlend, the clip is part of a behind-the-scenes featurette included in the Star Wars: The Force Awakens DVD (or Blu-ray, if that's your thing), which will be released on April 5 for purchase and April 1 for digital purchase. Still, it's a promotion we can get behind.
Watch Nyong'o transform into Maz Kanata in the video clip below.
— Lupita Nyong'o (@Lupita_Nyongo) March 21, 2016