By: Dominic Jones
Star Wars: The Force Awakens introduced us to many memorable new characters, including the 1000 year old space pirate Maz Kanata. Abrams spoke with his hometown newspaper, The Palisadian Post, recently and revealed that he partially based Maz on his High School English teacher Rose Gilbert. Abrams said,
"Yes, the character of Maz was originally based on the great Rose Gilbert. We really wanted the story to feel authentic, despite being a wild fantasy. I mentioned Rose in an early story meeting as a sort of timeless, wise figure that I'd actually known in my life."
Unfortunately, Ms. Gilbert never got to see the homage Abrams paid to her on screen as she passed away in late 2013. Abrams told The Palisadian Post,
"While we experimented with many looks and styles before settling on the character's final design, Rose was always at the center of the inspiration of Maz. Rick and I had hoped to contact Rose and show her what we were doing, but she sadly passed away while we were in the prep of the film."
The character of Maz was codenamed Rose during production.
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