J.J. Abrams Explains A Deleted Scene From 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'

J.J. Abrams' films are so breathlessly paced sometimes you get the sense more than a few scenes were left on the cutting room floor. When his stories jump from A to C — which isn't always a problem — you can feel a piece missing. There are a few instances in which this happens in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but not in the case of this deleted scene.

After the jump, Abrams explains a Star Wars: The Force Awakens deleted scene.

In the trailer for the box-office hit, we see Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong'o) hand Luke Skywalker's lightsaber to General Leia (Carrie Fisher). In the film, we see Maz give Finn (John Boyega) the lightsaber, after Rey (Daisy Ridley) refuses. Abrams explained the deleted scene involving Maz and Leia to Entertainment Weekly:

That was a scene actually filmed, but we took out. At one point, Maz used to continue along with the characters back to the Resistance base, but we realized that she really had nothing to do there of value, except to have her sitting around... Lupita did film scenes on set for that sequence, but it felt like going right just to go left, and it was unnecessary. So we ended up leaving those things out. Sometimes you discover that things you would have cut off a limb to shoot on the day are absolutely inconsequential, and in fact less impactful than if you were to remove it... As much as you try to kick the tires and write and shoot only what is necessary — no one wants to waste anyone's time — when you're in the editing room you realize, for instance, that introducing the character there actually diminishes their power. Or, giving that information actually distracts you from what you should be concentrating on. Or, having that moment happen concurrent with that moment actually gets in the way of both — things like that.

The question remains: how did Maz even get her hands on the lightsaber? In Peter's gigantic "25 Questions Left Unanswered" post, he shared a reason that was possibly cut from an earlier iteration of the script:

The report claims that Rey didn't originally find the lightsaber by wandering through the castle's basement, but instead that after the First Order began their attack, "Maz ushers the heroes inside the castle and down a staircase" and begins to tell them who Luke Skywalker was and why he is important. "They enter an underground chamber. Maz has them all hold hands." According to that unconfirmed report, the vision included the following extra bits

At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter how Maz got the lightsaber. She probably sees all walks of life enter her place of business that could've brought it by. Plus, Maz is the kind of alien Skywalker would trust, too. This is one of those instances of Abrams jumping from A to B that really works. There's really no need for two minutes of exposition explaining how she got the lightsaber.