“…a relic from the past may someday make a difference in the future.”
The world was first introduced to Maz Kanata in Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015. While not much is known about her we do know that she was born in 996 BBY and has lived on Takodana her whole life. Her screen time was short but impactful and was directly tied to a vital scene involving Rey and details about not only her past, but her future as well. We didn’t’ know it at the time however.
While on Takodana, Rey comes across one of Maz’s “curio boxes” in the depths of her castle. Rey is drawn to the box and it turns out it houses the lightsaber that belonged to Luke Skywalker and his father Anakin prior. Rey has a strong connection to that lightsaber as we later find out. As for Maz, we learn she is also Force sensitive and wise beyond her years. It appears she knows more that what she’s letting on.
In a blink and you’ll miss it moment, the lightsaber wasn’t he only thing in the box, in fact there were a few items in there. As it turns out, this was not just a regular hope chest or piece of antique furniture. It kept safe and hidden, sort of, some of Maz’s most cherished and important keepsakes from her many travels.
The box itself, which is made of Wroshyr Wood, is called a curio box and is very old as well. Wroshyr Wood is wood that has been whittled down from Wroshyr Trees which are the native trees of the planet Kashyyyk. The trees themselves are massive, very dense and can live up to 50,000 years. Wookiees would often use the wood from trees to make weapons and other devices.
Now, there is no record of Maz travelling to Kashyyyk and it is a fair distance from Takodana to Kashyyyk, but for someone labelled the “Queen Pirate” attaining things such as wood from the Wookiee planet should be no big deal. So, for her to gather the Wroshyr planks required to build or even just buy a curio box is something Maz could easily do, despite its rare nature.
As stated, as far as the contents are concerned, Maz stores her most important keepsakes and valuables in there. Interestingly, the box itself is never locked and that speaks to two things that are important to understand when looking at the character of Maz Kanata and view on how the universe is connected.
It’s clear she demands respect in her castle from visitors from all over the galaxy. Excerpts from the series Aftermath show that her reputation is well known to most and the rules are to be followed or else. So, the curio box is relatively safe from anyone looking to cause trouble, and that’s even it they knew of its existence which is unlikely. The second reason its unlocked is Maz’s belief in the Force and that she is herself Force sensitive. This strong connection has her believing that one day the Force will in turn give other Force sensitive people, the direction needed to find these relics, should their fate will it. This was on display of course in Star Wars: The Force Awakens when Rey was inexplicably drawn to the box and Luke’s lightsaber within.
As for the contents, we’ve already mentioned the lightsaber, but Luke’s old laser sword wasn’t the only thing of value inside this treasure chest. As for the Jedi weapon specifically, we don’t yet know how Maz came across it, but we do know that it was found on Bespin by a scavenger after it was “removed” from Luke Skywalker. Bespin and Takodana aren’t that far apart so, again, with Maz’s skills and contacts as a pirate, not to mention her Force ability, it’s not a big stretch to think she came across it.
So, let’s take a closer look at the three other objects that, thanks to the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary, we have somewhat of an idea of what they are.
Not much is known about Hyperspace Sextant’s, but we do know the one in Maz’s chest is roughly 4,000 years old. It’s only appearance other than The Force Awakens is in the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary” where it is simply mentioned.
A Sextant’s primary use is by definition, to measure the angle between an astronomical object and the horizon for the purposes of celestial navigation. So, a Hyperspace Sextant is a device usually imbedded into a helmet that was used in hyperspace travel for over 4,000 years. It can only be used by Force sensitive folk so everyone else would nowadays use a ship’s navigation computer instead.
Because its antiquated in nature, a navigation computer would be the preferred use, but should the computer lose power, this could be used in its place as long as the actual hyperdrive system was operational. And then as mentioned you’d have to be Force sensitive so it’s uses are limited, certainly in the current Star Wars timeline where there are few known Force sensitive people around. We know Maz doesn’t keep things in this box for sentimental reasons so perhaps a time will come when an old-school approach to hyperspace travel is required? Or perhaps a Force sensitive being from an unknown region who only uses the Force to travel could use such a device? The images the mind conjures up…
FUSSION CUTTER HEAD
An odd item in the box was the head of a fusion cutter. A fusion cutter simply put, is type of handheld cutting torch or tool found in most galactic toolkits. A fusion cutter head is, well, the head of that tool and emits plasma.
Princess Leia was seen using one during the Empire Strikes Back aboard the Millennium Falcon and most engineers and mechanics throughout the galaxy use one on a regular basis. R2-D2 also is shown using one several times throughout the original trilogy. So, what’s so special about this specific fusion cutter head when there are probably thousands around the galaxy?
Well, here’s a theory. Chewbacca the Wookiee was of course a skilled mechanic and pilot who commonly used a fusion cutter. Around the time of 19 BBY, Chewbacca was sold to a Trandoshan slaver named Ssoh after he had been betrayed by fellow Wookiee Tvrrdko. Tvrrdko was still harboring resentment towards Chewbacca who had killed his son in a Wookiee duel years earlier.
While transporting Chewbacca and other Wookiee slaves, Chewbacca was able to fashion a fusion cutter from old parts and the helped all the prisoners escape their shackles and cells. The freed, and irate, prisoners reclaimed the ship and Chewbacca tore all four of Ssoh’s limbs from his sockets.
We know from the Aftermath series of novels and The Force Awakens that Maz Kanata has a fondness to say the least for Chewbacca and even refers to him as her “boyfriend” at one point. Could it be that the fusion cutter head Maz has in amongst her most prized possessions is the same one Chewbacca used to free the Wookiee slaves all those years ago? And that by keeping it she knows it may bring them together again one day? Wouldn’t that be something…
DIATIUM POWER CORE
A Diatium Power Core was the primary power source for lightsabers and was in the bottom half of the hilt. As far as the one in Maz’s curio box is concerned we know nothing about it other than what it looks like.
It appears to be very old, likely Knights of the Old Republic, which would align it timeline wise with the other items in the box. We know that Diatium was an abundant mineral 4,000 years ago and that due to over mining it became a rare sight. If it is indeed part of a hilt from long ago, perhaps it’s owner was a Force wielder of some significance or one that Maz knew personally?
We know from canon materials that both Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader used Diatium hilts so it’s likely most Sith and Jedi of their time did as well. But again, this one looks like an antique and hasn’t been in use for many years, so it points to someone much before their time.
Maz had many Force sensitive friends, some of which included Jedi, so could she possibly be keeping one safe, waiting for the return of an old friend? Perhaps we’ll never know the story behind this one but it’s great conjuring up a little fan fiction and deciphering which great warrior from the past it belongs to.
This curio box is exactly the reason why you can’t take your eyes off the screen for one second when watching Star Wars. The amount of detail and thought that goes into every frame requires your undivided attention and respect.
It’s a wonderful thing to know that even the most seemingly arbitrary object can have 4,000 years of deep backstory to go along with it. If only we all had the gift of psychometry.
Till next time…MTFBWY.