Earlier today we finally, after more than 18 months of speculation, rumor, hearsay, gossip, and rampant, baseless conjecture, found out about cast of J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII. I wonder if you could have placed a bet in Vegas? Or what the odds would have been? So we’ll have that to talk about from now until the film opens on December 18, 2015. We still don’t know anything about the roles the actors will play, except for the obvious ones—I’m assuming that Harrison Ford will in fact play Han Solo, but Abrams plays things, so close to the vest it’s entirely possible he won’t even admit to that. One thing you might have noticed about the casting announcement is that it is a total sausage party. But according to one report, Episode VII is still in the market for a potential female lead.
Of the seven new additions to the franchise—John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow—only one is a woman. In fact, even when you add these actors to the returning stars—Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker—only two of the cast members, Fisher and Ridley, lack a Y chromosome. It was starting to smell a lot like dude.
If you’ve spent much time online today, you probably noticed that quite a few people have taken issue with this fact. Does Star Wars not think it has any female fans who would like to see themselves represented on screen? Maybe not. But THR reports that there is still space for some additional estrogen in the cast. According to the article, Episode VII is on the lookout for another woman to join the cast. Aside from calling the role “substantial,” there is nothing else to tell.
Even though the previous six films have followed a pattern where one key woman is surrounded by a bunch of bros, we expected to see a larger female presence in Episode VII. There are a number of important female figures in The Clone Wars, and the upcoming animated series Rebels will feature multiple significant roles for women, and we thought the films to follow suit.
And not only that, the landslide of casting rumors that have popped up over since the new films were announced have included a number of prominent actresses. 12 Years A Slave star Lupita Nyong’o, The Host’s Saoirse Ronan, and newcomer Maisie Richardson-Sellers have all recently been the subject of speculation. There has been talk of an important young female role, and we’ll have to wonder if that is the part taken by Ridley, if that space is still available, or the part has been written out.
We’ll have to wait to see how all of this pans out, but even with this new addition to the cast, the gender balance is seriously out of whack. Lets just hope that Ridley and whatever actress they cast in this other role get to play something more substantial than just a tag along girlfriend. Though given Abrams’ history this is certainly a possibility. Then again, perhaps one of these women will turn out to be the protagonist of Episode VII and be the heroine moving into the new trilogy. We should try to have some hope. After all, we just finally found out our first concrete bit of news, let’s not shit all over it on the first day. This is a time to celebrate and be excited.