maz kanata visual effects

I remember the good ol’ days when Rian Johnson would post an image almost every day on his Tumblr, but now that the filmmaker is working on Star Wars Episode VIII we definitely have seen less of his personal photography. He has posted a couple photos from the set of Episode VIII, though, including a shot of cinematographer Steve Yedlin on the Millennium Falcon set after concluding the first week of filming. Now Johnson’s latest shows the return of Lupita Nyong’o‘s Maz Kanata. See the photo and learn more about the possible Maz Kanata Episode 8 return, after the jump.

http://rcjohnso.tumblr.com/post/142244762595

The photo appears to show a performance capture stage, one which is used to help a performer see a more rudimentary version of their CG character in real time. This kind of stage, sometimes referred to as a Volume, is usually to used to capture data for the film, but also to fine-tune the performance before acting on the real set opposite the live-action actors.

Now we should warn you, we don’t know that this image isn’t from the set of J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We know that Johnson visited the set of Episode 7 and with the Blu-ray release of the movie this week, he could be posting an old photo from the making of that film.

That said, I believe this to be a new image from the making of Johnson’s sequel. If so, this means that Lupita Nyong’o’s character Maz Kanata does survive the vicious First Order attack on her castle and will appear in the next movie. Nyong’o is supposed to be in the film, as she was listed in the official press release announcing the beginning of filming of Episode 8.

Mark Hamill also posted this cute photo of himself hanging out with Nyong’o (and getting photo-bombed by Oscar Isaac) on what is probably the set of Episode 8.

Remember, Maz Kanata’s character originally was shown to survive the First Order attack, and in a deleted scene which ended up in one of the trailers, was the one to deliver Skywalker’s lightsaber to General Leia Organa.

There was also another deleted scene featuring Maz, Finn and Han Solo trying to escape Stormtroopers in a hallway under Maz’s castle. A chopped up version of this deleted scene appears exclusively in the online special features (but not in the Blu-ray release). The original scene had Finn and Han trying to kill time as Maz tried to use the Force to bring the ceiling down on the group of Stormtroopers. The fun exchange between Han and Finn is in the publicly released deleted scene, but the part where Maz uses her Force powers was removed. It’s possible that it was removed because they didn’t want to canonize Maz having Force abilities, especially if the character is returning for future installments of the story, like Episode 8.

It makes sense to bring back Maz Kanata for Episode 8 as she could be the perfect way to relay information about the backstory of the Knights of Ren (it seems important right?), and maybe we could even learn how she came across the infamous Skywalker lightsaber.

Star Wars Episode 8 opens December 14, 2017.

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