Maz Kanata’s role in Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been revealed, hinting at connections she has to the galactic underworld. While characters like Rey, Luke Skywalker, and Kylo Ren have been extensively covered in promotional materials to date, Maz is someone fans haven’t heard much of in the months leading up to Episode VIII‘s premiere. From the beginning, it’s been known Lupita Nyong’o would reprise the wise, old alien in another mo-cap performance, but how she factored into the narrative was a mystery. Earlier this month, as part of EW‘s massive cover story, writer/director Rian Johnson said Maz had a smaller part when compared to The Force Awakens, but stopped short of sharing anything else.

Despite her small amounts of screen time, Maz is an important figure in the sequel trilogy, as she was the one in possession of Luke Skywalker’s old lightsaber before the weapon found its way to Rey. Many viewers were hoping Kanata’s appearance in The Last Jedi would address that question, and while it still may, we now know Maz fits into the plot involving Finn and Rose Tico’s secret mission for the Resistance.
Per Making Star Wars, one of their readers (identified as “GW”) participated in the Find the Force promotion as part of Force Friday festivities and learned more about Maz in Star Wars 8. You can read their description in the space below:

Maz apparently introduces the Resistance to DJ. She helps the Resistance by pointing them toward a ‘mysterious new ally.’ Maz has been forced to become more mobile and take more of a role in the criminal underworld.”

DJ is the identity of Benicio del Toro’s enigmatic codebreaker, who is a necessary element of Finn and Rose’s undercover assignment in The Last Jedi. Previous reports made it sound like DJ has his own agenda and is someone difficult to trust, but if he’s a friend of Maz’s, there might be a good streak to him. As for Maz, The Force Awakens left her fate rather ambiguous after the second act, so it’s nice to see she found her way off Takodana and is trying to keep a low profile while trying to help the Resistance. It isn’t surprising she has connections to the “criminal underworld,” given her close relationship with Han Solo and Chewbacca. With rumors suggesting she’ll show up in next year’s Han Solo, she seems to enjoy the company of pirates and scoundrels. Hopefully, this isn’t all we see of Maz in The Last Jedi, since the mystery of the lightsaber still needs to be solved.

As great as it will be to see Maz again, an argument can be made that Lucasfilm is wasting the character (and by extension, the Oscar-winning Nyong’o) in an arguably insignificant role that amounts to little more than a second act plot catalyst. However, in Episode VII Maz managed to leave an impression by giving sage pieces of advice to the young heroes, so the hope is she has some words of wisdom for her friends again in Star Wars 8. Finn still has doubts about staying with the Resistance, so maybe Maz can give him a nudge in the right direction.