Lupita Nyong’o & Gwendoline Christie have been cast in ‘Star Wars Ep. VII’


Lupita Nyong’o and Gwendoline Christie have been cast in the new Star Wars. And I have some qualms. First… I guess congratulations are in order because I think most of us were really hoping that Lupita would get some job, any job, for the love of God. Also, congrats to Gwendoline who is one of my favorite people on Game of Thrones and she just seems like she’s a badass person in real life as well.

As for my qualms… JJ Abrams announced the cast in April. Like, we were led to believe that the April announcement included the major players, and like so many JJ Abrams-related projects, it was heavy on the sausage and light on the whole “interesting female characters” thing. “Insiders” even went so far as to outright deny Lupita had gotten a part. So… are Lupita and Gwendoline afterthoughts? Are they reactionary casting choices because JJ was criticized for going do heavily on white male characters?

This just in from the Star Wars front: Episode VII has cast 12 Years a Slave Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o and Game of Thrones‘ Gwendoline Christie. Though we don’t know who they play, it’s news that should be greeted with a joyful Ewok dance by many fans, especially those who were critical that the earlier casting announcement was distressingly light on women.

Nyong’o, 31, a graduate of Yale’s drama school, made her breakthrough in 12 Years a Slave last year as Patsy, the fearsomely powerful but agonizingly trapped field slave who forges a sisterly bond with the main character, the kidnapped free man Solomon Northup.

Christie is another compelling piece of casting, with the Star Wars galaxy plucking one of the fan-favorites from the Game of Thrones universe. The 6-foot-3 British actress, who will be 35 this year, is a literally towering presence as the unlikely female knight Brienne of Tarth — a formidable foe to any of the realm’s male warriors.

Her performance on the HBO series has won over even die-hard devotees of the George R.R. Martin books who were initially reluctant. (Brienne is described in relatively ugly terms in the books, and the knock against Christie was that she was “too beautiful.” The actress gave a fun reaction to EW’s James Hibberd about that: “All my life, all I’ve ever wanted is for people to say — first of all — I’m pretty. But ‘too pretty’? Is amazing,” she said.)

Christie is also cast in another powerhouse franchise, co-starring in the upcoming The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 film as Commander Lyme, taking over the role from actress Lily Rabe, who plays the role of the District 13 leader (and past Hunger Games victor) in Part 1.

[From Entertainment Weekly]

It’s one my greatest pleasures that Hollywood is figuring out what to do with an actress like Gwendoline. For real. I hope she plays a character in some kind of space age armor, because she looks fierce as hell in armor. As for Lupita… God knows. Please let it be an important character. Please let her be a kick-ass, take-charge kind of character. Or at the very least, let her be the villain.



Photos courtesy of WENN.

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79 Responses to “Lupita Nyong’o & Gwendoline Christie have been cast in ‘Star Wars Ep. VII’”

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  1. Latisse says:

    So happy for her! She definitely deserves it!

  2. mkyarwood says:

    BRIENNE for President! I’m so excited about this, but mostly because that’s, like, 200% more women than usual for a Star Wars flick.

    • lana86 says:

      haha!! yeah!!

    • QQ says:

      THIS …more minorities too (cause we can have a zillion different alients but brown people and women? No! Line drawn in the sand!) just for that I might have to sit down and watch this hours long thing i didn’t find fun or cool or funny the first 6 other movies

      • Audrey says:

        My daughter has a Star Wars ABC book and the J is for Jedi page has a picture of Samuel L 🙂

  3. pru says:

    Ok, now maybe I’ll see it.

  4. LadyMTL says:

    I’m happy for them – Brienne of Tarth for-evah! LOL – but a part of me does think that this was “reaction casting”, for lack of a better word. JJ Abrams probably got sick of the backlash and decided to cast two women in (hopefully not) token roles so we’d stop pointing out how sausage-heavy the whole thing was.

    I hope I’m wrong and that they both have great parts but…yeah. Not buying that this wasn’t planned at the last minute.

  5. Sixer says:

    Good for them, I guess. I say I guess because I have absolutely no interest in Star Wars or love for JJ Abrams work so it won’t make any difference to me. Happy if it makes a difference to them, though.

    I gotsta say, though, Kaiser, my first thought was, “Oh, they got moaned at so they’ve written in half a dozen lines for a couple of extra female parts then. How annoying.”

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:


    • Intro Outro says:

      I’ll be very disappointed if this is true, but not at all surprised =(

      Still, very happy for Gwen Christie in particular, I love her and I hope this will give her additional exposure. I do not care about Hunger Games in the slightest and will not watch its next instalment, but I will definitely watch Star Wars (even though I have serious reservations about JJ Abrams after Star Trek).

      • SpookySpooks says:

        I would really like to see Gwen in a very sensual role or something like that. Something completely different than Brienne.
        I won’t watch the Hunger Games either so I’m really happy to se her in something else.
        I hope Lupita is a badass villain.

      • fany says:

        I will see the hunger games i support film with female lead

      • Amelia says:

        Ooh, is Gwen in the Hunger Games?
        Didn’t know that.
        I never bothered going to see Catching Fire, but I might just take a peek at Mockingjay now . . .

      • mom2two says:

        Gwendoline has a small part in Mockingjay part 2.

      • M.A.F. says:

        I will see the Hunger Games since I’ve read the books but I have a feeling Christine’s character will be just some background, throw away character that has two lines.

  6. Tanguerita says:

    Might be in a minority here, but i find it so difficult to work up any kind of excitement for an “new” installment of “Star Wars”. Who cares at this point? It has the same degree of relevance as “”The fast and the furious, Part 100”, no matter how many decent actors they hire. It’s “Star Wars”, it’s been over for twenty years.

    • Jenns says:

      I get that if you are not interested in the series that this is no big deal, but as a fan of Star Wars, I can’t wait. I loved this story as a kid and still love it 25 years later.

    • eliza says:

      There is a HUGE fan base for Star Wars and it’s subsequent sequels. The saga still interests many people young, old and in between.

      • Grant says:

        The most recent Fast and the Furious raked in almost a billion dollars in worldwide box office receipts so I’d say it’s still pretty relevant. And the Star Wars fandom is far from over. There is a whole expanded universe of comics, novels, TV shows, video games, etc. that have sprung into existence (and been quite successful) in the years since the original three/prequels were released in theaters. So it’s kind of humorous that Tanguerita thinks the series is over…

  7. Abbott says:

    Gwendoline has got to be rolling in Scrooge McDuck-type piles of coins. GoT, Hunger Games, and now Star Wars? Get.It.Gurl.

    • Mia4S says:

      Sadly…no she wouldn’t be. Neither will Lupita for Star Wars. These type of projects have a “you need us more than we need you” type of attitude with the idea that we raise your profile and you can make money elsewhere. Don’t get me wrong, she’s not poor, LOL! It’s just interesting the perception versus reality.

      • Grant says:

        I don’t know. Lupita is an Oscar winner who was a media darling and a red carpet favorite. She’s going to bring a whole new element of respect from industry insiders and the general public to this project.

      • Lexie says:

        One of the benefits of being an Oscar winner is your pay grade substantially increases. So even if Lupita’s role is small, she’ll definitely be paid well for it.

  8. Dani2 says:

    Very happy for Lupita 🙂

    • kri says:

      I’m glad that two talented women were added to the cast. I still think H’wood needs to be shaken up, and it’s the women who need to do it. I want that ceiling busted out. Too many old men making the same decisions over and over again.

  9. fynn says:

    i don’t like this move. She should have gotten some starring role in a great directors movie, like Scorsese or Fincher or Allen maybe with smaller budget, but not another supporting role. This will send her to supporting roles in big budget commercial movies forever. She still has to prove her range, because her acting in 12 years slave was ok, not superb. She won the Oscar because HW needed to show diversity and she was styled to become the new red carpet’s darling, she can wear couture and she’s beautiful. But still hasn’t proved nothing as an actress. Don’t get me wrong, I love Lupita and I hope she gets a better agent and better roles.

    • Lucy2 says:

      I disagree. I think this is a HUGE franchise, one that probably most actors in Hollywood would be thrilled to be a part of.
      It takes a lot to get the kind of starring roles you are talking about, and when there’s big money involved in those films the studios will want someone with a proven box office record. I do hope she gets to that point but I don’t think she is there quite yet.
      I actually think she is wise to take supporting roles in high profile films, rather than have all of the pressure and expectations of a big starring role right off the bat. I think it’s a pretty smart way to begin building a lengthy career.

    • Chinoiserie says:

      You said that she has not proved herself as an actress yet but said she should get a lead role in a Scorsese, Allen or Filcher film? I do understand what you are saying but it bit of a contradiction. It is not that easy to get great leading roles for anybody and in the end she won a supporting actress Oscar and has a very thin filmography. I do not think a very high profile supporting role is snot something beneath her. Roles in blockbusters like Star Wars and the voice-over Jungle Book role give her visibility and relevancy. Many people who win Oscars just fade away especially the supporting winners. Oscar win (or nomination) helps you a great deal to always get some work somewhere but it does not mean instant starring roles in quality films. She should be doing so supporting roles in quality films and get the Americanah film made and she should be fine.

    • Patty Cake says:

      FYNN, Lupita can’t get what she’s not offered. Star Wars is a great move that will keep her relevant. She just came off a very emotional movie now she gets to play in a fun, light- hearted one. Good choice.

      • Grant says:

        I think this will do more than keep Lupita relevant. It’s going to give Lupita the opportunity to take on a role that will make her iconic for years to come, especially if she’s going to be a Sith Lady.

    • Lexie says:

      Anyone offered a speaking role in a Star Wars film jumps at the chance to take it. Why? Residuals. A Star Wars movie is basically guaranteed to play at least once every couple of months on TV for the next 20 years. Every time it airs, the speaking role actors will get residuals.

      Lupita’s being smart – she’s capitalizing on her Oscar win (meaning she’ll be well-paid for even the smallest role because that is a SAG rule), she’ll become a recognizable face to millions who don’t know her from 12 Years A Slave, AND she’ll get some cushion income for the next few decades from this film.

      I’d have jumped through all the hoops in the world to get a part, and I’m sure she did just that.

  10. Lucy2 says:

    I think there is way too much riding on these next three movies for these to have reactionary to the first round of casting announced. My guess is that word got out before things were finalized and in an effort to keep things secret, they denied it until everything was in place.

  11. Esti says:

    I’m inclined to think this isn’t “reaction casting” purely because JJ Abrams has been criticized about his female characters for years, and had never listened to the criticism before. So optimistically, maybe he actually wants these two for real?

    I don’t have any interest in Star Wars and won’t watch this movie, but I’m happy for both these actresses. The Lupita thing is a bigger deal because the industry really was failing hard in the aftermath of her Oscar, but I’m personally more excited for Gwendoline who is absolutely phenomenal on GoT and who I really worried Hollywood wouldn’t know what to do with outside that role.

    • Algernon says:

      Actually, I’m reconsidering that Hollywood “failed” her after the Oscars because of this announcement. There was a rumor right after the Oscars she was going to be in Star Wars. Since that panned out, now it looks like JJ and Star Wars beat everyone else to Lupita’s door and booked her first thing. The kind of prep that goes into movies like this, she would be tied up with it for a couple months before she starts production, which means all this time, she’s been training/preparing for Star Wars, not sitting on her ass, waiting for the phone to ring.

    • Kenny Boy says:

      It’s possible that this was reactionary and this is a good, meaty part, at the same time. Perhaps these aren’t big roles in the first installment of the next trilogy, but they will grow more important as the story goes on. It’s unlikely that all of these scripts are totally written. It’s totally possible that Abrams asked the writers to shift the story so that there were more and better parts for women. That’s often as simple as just deciding to cast a woman in a role and making minor changes, especially in sci-fi, so maybe that’s what they did.

  12. Mia4S says:

    Cautious optimism is best. As I said yesterday the last three Star Wars had Keira Knightly, Rose Byrne, Terrence Stamp (General Zod), and Jimmy Smitts in them…and they were nothing parts.

    My guess is the core cast for the trilogy is the one that was announced. These are supporting roles, possibly just for the first film, not all three. Still, it ups their name recognition which is not for nothing.

    • LadySlippers says:


    • Mom2two says:

      I have a funny feeling if you expect to see a whole lot of Lupita and Gwendoline, you are going to be disappointed. They are supporting roles at best and given this is the Star Wars realm, might not even be recognizable. And the main cast, the stars of the show, were the ones announced in April. Star Wars had been filming and given that Gwendoline has a small part in Hunger Games, will have to do work fo GoT starting in July, makes me think these are supporting roles at best.
      I should add, it is possible for their parts to be significant in later films of the new trilogy.

    • Grant says:

      Yeah but Keira Knightly wasn’t nearly as big a star back then as she is now, we all knew Jimmy Smits was going to have a bit part, and I don’t think Terrence Stamp or Rose Byrne have the name recognition or physical recognizability that Lupita has. Honestly, I can’t even picture who Terrence Stamp is right now. They certainly weren’t in the same position as Lupita: a red carpet favorite, media darling fresh off an Oscar win.

  13. lower-case deb says:

    me and my friends were talking about this, we hope that LN won’t be a token character slathered in CGI and bodypaint. then we asked: is it better to have a WOC bitpart makeuped into unrecognizable, or no WOC whatsoever?

    • Monksolo says:

      Maybe she’ll play Jar-Jar’s mother? If Lucas is still involved it could happen!

  14. fany says:

    She is a way too good for this. I hope she doesnt get a supporting role

  15. The Original Mia says:

    I don’t think this is reactionary casting. If the rumor about the plot is right and I won’t be revealing it here, then announcing these too soon would give it away. As it is, most people are putting 2 & 2 together. They won’t be able to keep a lid on it for too much longer. If it is what’s being whispered around geek sites, the ladies are going to kick butt. I’m stoked!

  16. AG-UK says:

    Good for them both love Gwendoline but I am not a big Star Wars fan my husband can take our son they lost me years ago.

  17. SpookySpooks says:

    I find it hard to believe that she has it harder than Barkhad Abdi who got cast in two movies already. She’s conventionally pretty, and Hollywood values beauty above all else.
    She surely got offered a lot of roles, she must be waiting for something big, a big director or a lead role. I’m not sure that’s that wise.
    Was there such concern about Jennifer Hudson or Mo’nique when they won their Oscars?

    • SpookySpooks says:

      No, not stereotypical roles,but I don’t think she should be aiming for LEAD roles just yet. Hopefully one day, but not yet.
      What are stereotypical roles for black women? I’m genuinely asking, because I really don’t know.
      How is she not conventionally beautiful? Full lips? Check. Small nose? Check. Big eyes? Check. Great skin? Check. I still think beauty comes first. Even before talent.

      That is why I’m asking for Hudson and Mo’nique. I don’tremeber such a concern for them when they won.

    • SpookySpooks says:

      She won an Oscar for supporting actress. Supporting roles are not lesser roles. Lawrence, as overrated as she is, won for best actress.
      I’m not from America so maybe I don’t have the same view, but to me she is conventionally beautiful.

    • Tania says:

      She definitely has it harder. With the exception of maybe Viola Davis can you name a female who is on the level of Denzel, a Morgan, a Jamie fox, L Jackson etc. Black actors are given opportunities. Hollywood is sexist, hello. Barkadi has almost 4 roles now.

    • @SpookySpooks
      It’s not just her skin color or her gender either–her hair. When’s the last time you saw a high profile black actress whose hair was in its natural state–and by its natural state, I mean, an afro?? Or anything that doesn’t have a perm, weave, extensions, or a wig?

    • SpookySpooks says:

      I can’t really remember, but why is her haircut important?
      And Barkhad doesn’t look like Denzel or Jamie Foxx.
      I really hope they both make it.
      Who do you think has a better chance at stardom, Lupita or Gwendoline? Gwen’s height is a major obstacle, at least in Hollywood.

  18. Adrien says:


  19. Kali says:

    As a lady who is lucky to resemble a brunette Brienne on a good day, I really hope Gwendoline is playing an actual woman in the movie. I really hope she’s not going to be hidden by mo-cap or seven hours/layers of makeup and costume.

  20. Alexis says:

    People need to chill out re Lupita’s career. It’s almost like no role is good enough for her. She’s also put herself in a position to create an awesome role for herself (Americanah). She’s not a symbol, or a one person crusade for the rights of dark-skinned women in Hollywood, she’s an actor making the best decisions she can to build the career she wants. And I think she’s doing a heck of a job waiting for interesting work that keeps her around. These days, for women especially, that involves a big franchise. She’s well on her way to not ending up with a career like Frieda Pinto’s.

  21. Chinoiserie says:

    Then again Gabourey Sidibe and Quvanzhane Wallis seem to find work. I do not think that Lupita is completely unable to find work but she is carefully picking her roles as she should.

  22. Patty Cake says:

    Not a fan of the franchise but will see it to support Lupita. There must be variation with acting otherwise, she’ll always be type cast. People kept saying she needs to get a job, but you can only get what you’re offered.amd it is well known that black folks don’t get a lot of offers. I’m excited for her. She just finished a very emotional role and now she’s doing a light- hearted one. Way to variate Lupita! good job!

  23. pixie-stix says:

    Great to hear both have roles; I like the first three Star Wars, then the franchise lost me, but all the best to them. The photo of Gwen in a white dress w/black sash is a knock-out.

  24. SBJ says:

    It won’t make me go and see it. It’s a bad idea to milk the big fat cow that is Star Wars for 36 years, as bad as were episodes I, II and III

  25. Mandy says:

    LOOOOVVEE Gwendoline. We NEED more Gwendoline!

  26. starfan says:

    It’s gotten worse now. Hollywood has completely white washed the big screen. They would rather hire untalented, simple looking white actresses than ANY women of colour. Even by some of the comments here, it’s like people just want Lupita to fail or something. She is literally the only WOC out there in the big screen who might have a shot at A list & they still can’t stand it. So depressing.

  27. starfan says:

    Congrats to Lupita!
    It’s shocking how WOC are expected to take stereotypical roles & be happy about it. I am so glad Lupita is taking her time picking roles & not settling for a lesser career. I will definitely watch this movie to support her. I seriously cannot think of 1 WOC that is Alist. Having “non white” skin doesn’t make you an alien from another planet. The way Hollywood acts, it makes me think otherwise.

  28. Patty Cake says:

    I’m not familiar with Gwendoline. Only saw GOT a couple of times. I don’t recall her being in any of the episodes I saw, but I will make note to look out for her on HG. Love HG. love that it’s a story containing a female with such a kickass role. This story made me fall in love with JLaw as an actress .

  29. starfan says:

    There is no point playing a “stripper/maid/ganster’s slutty girlfriend” in a movie. These roles do nothing but perpetually keep the stereotypes alive. Not to mention, people asking Lupita to go to TV is ridiculous. She shouldn’t have to settle. TV is great but why should she have a lesser career than the Kate’s, the Kristen’s & the Jennifers??

    • Cecilia says:

      Yes, she should just shoot to the top regardless of talent (yet to be seen) or earned experience (yet to be seen.) Everybody’s got to start somewhere & work their way up.

  30. starfan says:

    “Cecilia says:
    Yes, she should just shoot to the top regardless of talent (yet to be seen) or earned experience (yet to be seen.) Everybody’s got to start somewhere & work their way up.”

    Why is it that the “we” is always POC? Oscar winning, Yale educated girl should have to “prove” herself. But I bet you have no problem that the blonde, blue eyed girls get not 1 but 3 franchise lead roles, Right? Try being a little less obvious next time.

    • Cecilia says:

      You sure do assume a lot. I say the same thing about any new-comer or one hit wonder. She has to prove herself, just like anybody else. Personally, I hope she makes it to the top. We shall see.

  31. NN says:

    So excited!!

  32. Damaris says:

    Having an Oscar means nothing if your body of work is nonexistent. Lupita still has to work her ass off to get those juicy, A1 roles. I really think she’ll hit it out of the park with Star Wars.

  33. Camille (The Original) says:

    Awesome news, congrats to them both!

  34. St says:

    Well I’m very happy for Gwendoline. Because obviously. We all adore Brienne.

    Congrats to Lupita too I guess. I’m happy she got job. But as you said – it’s like whole gossip industry was begging to give Lupita any job. Because she is like Oscar winner. And industry were like: “Fine. We’ll cast her in some small role in Star Wars. Are you happy?”

    To me it looks like Lupita could play some foreign alien princess or queen.

  35. Aly says:

    Gwendoline Christie HELL YES!! She and Oscar Isaac are the only reason I’ll check out the new Star Wars. Lupita catches my interest, but as with JLaw, I find her a bit overrated. Good actress and very pretty woman, but I don’t feel a “spark” when I watch her.

    Glad to see the cast POC with her and a Isaac, I just hope there was a bit more diversity than 12 white ppl and a black woman and a Latino. But I guess two minorities in a cast is already pushing it for Hollywood…

  36. Kimberly says:

    I’ve really grown fond of Gwendoline after seeing her in GOTs.
    And well I obviously still love Lupita. 😀

    I really hope both women will be given major roles with great scripts.

  37. Dez says:

    “Even by some of the comments here, it’s like people just want Lupita to fail or something.”

    @starfan, I was thinking the exact same thing – and giving some serious side eye – reading some of the begrudging views on here.

    So happy to hear that Lupita optioned the film rights to Americanah. What a fantastic book that is!

    One thing I’ll be looking forward to with interest, is how the lives of successful Nigerians who’ve made it overseas before returning to start new lives and businesses in their mother country, is portrayed on the big screen. That was one of the things I really enjoyed in the book, and something that is completely ignored by White mainstream media.