In a twist of great news for Star Wars fans, Lupita Nyong'o has officially joined the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII . The 12 Years A Slave Oscar-winner joins the cast alongside Game Of Thrones' Gwendoline Christie. Given the major complaints surrounding the first round of casting announcements — not enough women, still too few people of color, and no Lupita Nyong'o — this news will no doubt cause many Star Wars fans to breathe a sigh of relief over the film's future. In fact, for many, it's the most exciting news this film's had yet.
This role marks Nyong'o's first major live-action part since her Oscar-winning turn in 12 Years A Slave. For Christie, it's a sign of a break-out: She's still most well-known for her role as Brienne of Tarth in HBO's Game Of Thrones, and she also has a part in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2 . Put those three roles together and she's primed to be the next big thing.
Other members of the Star Wars: Episode VII cast include Attack the Block 's John Boyega, Inside Llewyn Davis's Oscar Issac and Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow, Andy Serkis, and Star Wars vets Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill. The addition of Christie and Nyong'o comes following an outpouring of disappointment over the initial casting announcement's lack of diversity. Vanity Fair's Richard Lawson put it well at the time:
So, yet again, those who benefit from the status quo (let’s be honest, it’s largely white men arguing that there isn’t a problem) are given the advantage of being able to swat away anyone who objects as joyless complainers (or worse), all the while content, consciously or not, in the knowledge that they’ll get to see the movie they want anyway.
[...] Something about this particular franchise, the way that it has been so culturally permeating, here and around the world — and the fact that J.J. Abrams has previously, with Alias and Lost and the inherited diversity of the original Star Trek, told stories about lots of different kinds of people — made me hope that some old wrongs would be righted, or new strides made. But, it would appear not. Unless there are more major roles to be cast, J.J. Abrams and everyone else involved with Episode VII didn’t see fit to include more than two significant female characters, nor did they seem all that concerned with any other kind of diversity. And that’s a shame.
Now, it appears there were more major roles to be cast, and the Internet (surprise!) just may have spoken too soon. Nyong'o and Christie are both undoubtedly beloved actors, thanks to their as-of-yet most well-known performances, and they add to the previously severely lacking representation of females in Episode VII. It had long been rumored that Nyong'o would be joining the cast of Star Wars, but hopes were abandoned after the first casting announcement didn't include her. So is it any wonder Monday's news feels like a dream come true? Is this real life, or is this fantasy?
It's technically both, and it feels great.