After much harrumphing that the new Star Wars film was in danger of not being Title IX compliant, the Force was somewhat balanced yesterday with the announcement that Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o and Game of Thrones actress Gwendoline Christie had been cast in J.J. Abrams’ space epic. That’s hardly gender parity — with Carrie Fisher and newcomer Daisy Ridley the only other females currently announced — but it’s certainly a substantial and necessary improvement for a traditionally boys-heavy franchise entering the post Hunger Games universe. Thus far, the only significant female Star Wars characters in six episodes have been a princess and a queen — but Abrams has a solid reputation for strong, well-drawn female characters, from Felicity to Alias to Fringe.
Speculation based on seating order at the recent Star Wars read-through and preconceptions about Han and Leia’s inevitable offspring hinted that Ridley will play their teenaged daughter and perhaps be the keystone to Episode VII‘s story. But what of Nyong’o and Christie? Who might they play? And does the fact that they were not part of the first round of casting announcements indicate that they’re background players and not essential personnel?
Based on the popular profile and pedigree of both actresses, it’s unlikely that either Nyong’o or Christie will be relegated to Lobot or Cantina-dancer status. And though Lucasfilm has announced that the Expanded Universe is no longer gospel — not that it ever technically was — the studio is not against plucking favorite characters and storylines from previous material. “While the universe that readers knew is changing, it is not being discarded,” Lucasfilm said back in April. “Creators of new Star Wars entertainment have full access to the rich content of the Expanded Universe.” With that in mind, here are three hopeful character possibilities for both actresses, based entirely on wishful thinking. READ FULL STORY