When Disney and Lucasfilm finally made an official announcement about the cast of J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII, though it was a big list of names, most of us assumed there would be more coming down the pipe. One of the primary issues many people had with the cast is that it was almost exclusively dudes. Well, with one new announcement, the production has addressed both of those points. News dropped this morning that 12 Years A Slave’s Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o and Game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie have both been added to the ever expanding Episode VII party.
The pair joinsfellow newcomers Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow, John Boyega, and Daisy Ridley—the only new female cast member—as well as returning franchise vets Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), and Kenny Baker (R2-D2).
Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm and Episode VII producer says, “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.”
Aside from the returning characters, there is no word on what roles any of the new actors could play, and that includes both Nyong’o and Christie. Given the amount of secrecy that surrounds the production, we probably won’t hear anything for quite some time, if ever. It’s entirely possible we won’t know much before we actually sit down in a theater and the lights go down. Nyong’o was one of the names that was often mentioned as a possibility, and reportedly met with Abrams earlier in the process. And the fact that both of the latest additions are women lends credence to earlier reports that the production was still looking to cast another significant female role.
Nyong’o took home the Best Supporting Actress Oscar at the Academy Awards back in March, which isn’t a bad haul for your first movie role. Not to mention that her acceptance speech was phenomenal.
Christie is best known for her role as resident sword-wielding badass Brienne of Tarth on HBO’s fantasy hit Game of Thrones. She’s also scheduled to appear in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 2 when that film drops next year.
Abrams teamed up with Lawrence Kasdan to write the script, and the production began rolling last month in Abu Dhabi before it moves to London’s Pinewood Studios. Star Wars: Episode VII is set to hit theaters everywhere December 18, 2015.