Is Maz Kanata In 'The Phantom Menance'? The Alien HAS Been Around For A While...

Even before your favorite new Star Wars film (that is, after the original trilogy, but waaaaaay before the prequels) Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens hit theaters in December, there was a huge swirl of mystery surrounding Lupita Nyong'o's character Maz Kanata. I mean, you bring an Oscar-winning actress onto the biggest franchise of all time and interests are understandably going to be piqued. Even post-film, though, we haven't gotten so many answers so much as we've gotten more questions. And the most recent question on my mind is, well, has Maz Kanata been in the Star Wars universe for longer than we think?

Conspiracy time! So one thing we definitively know about Maz is that she's over 1000 years old... which is a lot of time to get around the galaxy. You get the sense that she knows everything about everyone, and she has an ominous tie to the Skywalker clan, Luke in particular (she had his lightsaber and all). But being all old and mysterious, it isn't crazy to think maybe that tie extends several generations. During a Phantom Menace rewatch, one fan spotted something interesting hiding out in Anakin Skywalker's room. Is that... wait a minute, is that a Maz Kanata statue hidden among Annie's stuff?

I mean, you have to squint really hard, but it isn't impossible. That statue seems to have the deep indents of her goggles, and the long neck, big head look is consistent with the concept art for the alien. Perhaps Maz Kanata was always supposed to be a part of the bigger picture of Star Wars.

Probably not, and that's probably just an incidental, similarly shaped statue. But hey, wouldn't it be fun to imagine how Maz Kanata became such a superstar well-known throughout the galaxy far, far, away? For example...

Maz Kanata Notoriety As A Space Pirate Precedes Her

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When Maz shows up in Force Awaken she's pretty much a tough-but-laid back cantina owner. Not a lot of action coming from her. Maybe her younger years (like her crazy 800s) were filled with pillaging different planets and kicking a lot of ass. Think of the weird CGI Yoda from the prequels: she could definitely have a crazy past.

Maz Kanata Is Basically The Miss Cleo Of This Particular Star System

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She clearly has great insights into the crazy cast of characters (same eyes, different people, it's something she can spot from a mile away). Maybe before her cantina days she made money by reading people's futures over the phone. There were commercials everywhere urging you to call 1-800-KANATA7.

Maz Kanata Had A Tumultuous Relationship With Yoda A Few Hundred Years Back

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Hey, J.J. Abrams thinks that they probably crossed paths at some point. Maybe it was such a scandalous affair that the Council really had to tighten up those Jedi-can't-fall-in-love rules once it all fell apart. Think Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, but in space.

Maz Kanata Had A Business Back In Tatooine That Fell Under

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This would draw this back to Anakin, at least. What can I say? The economy as bad and the planet just wasn't ready for an artisanal cheese shop at the time.

Or Maz Kanata Had A Short Career As A Famous Pod Racer

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This would also draw this back to Anakin... perhaps that statue is actually a commemorative bobble head in disguise. But eh, I'd rather leave pod racing dead and buried with the prequels.

Maz Kanata Was A Model In A Life Drawing Class

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Few people know this, but before he became a Sith Lord, Anakin Skywalker wanted to be an artist. Totally.

Maz Kanata Statues Were The Go-To Toy Christmas Of Whatever-Year-That-Was

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All I know is about the timeline of Star Wars is that it's "a long time ago." In any case, maybe it's irrelevant how Maz is famous, what's important is that her likeness was in demand when Anakin was a kid, Tickle-Me-Elmo style.

These are only a few theories, though, and truth be told... we're more likely to get some solid information (and an infinitely cooler backstory) once the next Star Wars film roles around.

Images: Walt Disney Pictures (1); Giphy (7)