Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong'o) might have had a short appearance in Star Wars: The Last Jedi but it seems like the thousand year old Force-sensitive humanoid was actually supposed to join the Resistance right after the battle on Takodana in The Force Awakens.
A piece of concept art in The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi shows fans standing along with C-3PO, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaacs), Finn (John Boyega ), and a bed-ridden General Organa (Carrie Fisher) in the Resistance Cruiser.
The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams previously admitted that he and his team had shot a scene where Maz delivered Anakin's old lightsaber straight away to Leia, however, the scene was changed so that the character gave it to Rey (Daisy Ridley) and then to Finn after the Jakku orphan refuses the weapon.
"That was a scene actually filmed, but we took out," Abrams said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. "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."
Star Wars: The Last Jedi was made while The Force Awakens being completed, so it doesn't come as a surprise that Rian Johnson and his team would conceptualize a version of the sequel trilogy installment where Maz would fight alongside the Resistance.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is currently screening in cinemas.