A few weeks ago, we got the official cast list for J.J. Abrams’ wildly anticipated franchise update Star Wars: Episode VII, with some extremely talented actors and actresses in the mix, but soon after that we received word that the film wasn’t yet done with its casting. A key female role needed to be filled. Immediately, fans pointed to 12 Years a Slave actress Lupita Nyong’o, who had been rumored for the film for months. Now, we’ve learned that Nyong’o, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her breakout turn in the Steve McQueen-directed slavery drama, has indeed joined the cast, alongside Game of Thrones actress Gwendoline Christie.
Coming directly from StarWars.com, this casting news was paired with a statement from Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, who said:
“I could not be more excited about Lupita and Gwendoline joining the cast of Episode VII. It’s thrilling to see this extraordinarily talented ensemble taking shape.”
Kennedy has reason to be excited. Both Nyong’o and Christie are tremendously talented actresses who are just beginning to be recognized for their talents. In addition to Star Wars: Episode VII, Nyong’o will appear in Jon Favreau’s version of The Jungle Book and has been courted for the fighting drama Southpaw. For her part, in addition to appearing as warrior woman Brienne of Tarth on Game of Thrones, Christie has been cast as Commander Lyme in the two-part finale to The Hunger Games franchise, titled Mockingjay. The first half of that film hits theaters later this year.
No word yet on the roles that the two actresses are playing, though I certainly hope that both have secured large roles, given their obvious talents. The pair join previously announced actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker in Star Wars: Episode VII, which will open in theaters on December 18th, 2015.