This Ain’t Your Grandpa’s Star Wars, Lupita Nyong’o Added To Cast

by on June 2, 2014


It was announced today that Lupita Nyong’o (Twelve Years As a Slave) and Gwendoline Christie (Game Of Thrones) have been added to the cast of Star Wars VII. No specifics have been released regarding their roles, but that information will probably be next to leak. An extensive cast list that includes Star Wars veterans and newbies alike was released just a few months ago. So far it looks like Black actor John Boyega may be the lead character in Star Wars VII. Other cast members include:

  • Harrison Ford
  • Carrie Fisher
  • Mark Hamill
  • Oscar Isaac
  • Adam Driver,
  • Andy Serkis (Gollum from Lord of The Rings)
  • Domhnall Gleeson
  •  Max von Sydow
  •  Daisy Ridley
  • Anthony Daniels
  • Peter Mayhew
  • Kenny Baker

So the next bit of news we get concerning the Star Wars sequel will probably not be another cast announcement. Hopefully it will contain juicy plot and character details.

Today’s cast announcements were a shock reveal considering how many people thought Lupita Nyong’os career potential was limited. When Nyong’o won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in Twelve Years As A Slave, critics, doubters, and pessimists gave their congratulations, but asked whether N’yongo was a one hit wonder. To be honest, people of this mind set outright stated that there was just no place for Lupita Nyong’o in Hollywood. At best she would be typecast as a downtrodden woman in racially driven, soul depleting roles. But she could never, would never, be a true Hollywood starlet. Because Hollywood isn’t capable of embracing a woman with skin darker than a brown lunch bag. But is that changing?

In April it was announced that John Boyega had been cast in Star Wars VII. It has been strongly indicated that Boyega will play the lead character, or at least a very central character. The introduction of Boyega, an unknown young Black actor, into a franchise like Star Wars was a big shock. No one would have criticized producers for not adding more Black cast members to the roster. At least not too harshly. But Hollywood has taken it a step further casting Lupita as well. Could Hollywood truly be becoming colorblind? Now I’m not asking whether Hollywood is becoming altruistic. But it is becoming clearer and clearer that diversity is profitable and provides good PR for films. If colorblind casting can be correlated with better profits, why wouldn’t Hollywood embrace the change?

Whatever the reason for casting in this film, its a pleasant surprise. It would have been inconceivable even 10 years ago to imagine Lupita Nyong’o and John Boyega sharing the big screen on equal footing with Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher in Star Wars.

With the cast that’s been announced so far, two things can happen. Star Wars VII will wind up one of those films so crowded with major characters that there’s no time to explore any particular story line in depth. Or it can wind up a perfectly woven web of diversity, intrigue, and action. Either way, this ain’t your Grandpa’s Star Wars. What are you expecting in episode VII?



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  • Amicus

    Why do you say Hollywood maybe becoming color blind casting in this case, why not give the credit to J.J. Abrams who has many times over proven to be a friend of the black actors community.
    The black community needs to appreciate their friends, so they will be driven to be even more supportive, and J.J. Abrams has proven to be one.
    I wince when JJ’s TV shows fail because it usually have a large compliment of black actors cast in a color blind way.

    • Amicus

      Sorry, typo..I meant to say “a large complement”.

    • AnyaAtBlallywood

      Now that I think about it J.J. does seem to use Black characters a little more and better than is typical. Have you seen the fall 2014 prime time line-up? It seems like a lot of new shows are featuring Black characters prominently. I think there’s a greater change or at least experiment going on.