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Lucasfilm has announced not one, but two new women are joining the cast of Episode VII: Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) and Game of Thrones’ Gwendoline Christie!
“I could not be more excited about Lupita and Gwendoline joining the cast of Episode VII,” says Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy in a statement. “It’s thrilling to see this extraordinarily talented ensemble taking shape.”
Nyong’o has been rumored for a while now, but Christie is a complete surprise… And yes, this is a welcome announcement for those of us who were hoping to see more diversity in the cast!
Now that I have a moment to process this, I don’t think our objections had anything to do with today’s castings – remember the Nyong’o rumor dates back to March, long before any of the cast was formally announced, and I don’t doubt that negations with Christie predate the announcement as well. We can’t know why they weren’t done in time to be included with the rest of the cast, and I don’t think any of us have the resources to speculate. (Although it will be interesting to see if the trades dig anything up.)
But I do still think it’s important that we spoke up in April, and that it was so measured. (Yes, it was measured. Trust me. If you’ve never seen a real fangirl flame war, count yourself as blessed.) Yes, they made it known quite quickly that there was at least one more female role to cast, but as Meredith Woerner said on io9 today regarding the original announcement:
That was the cast. We’re not apologists and we’re not fortune tellers. There simply weren’t enough women in the first ever picture of the official cast. It was our gut reaction to the photograph that Abrams and company meticulously decided would be their first ever announcement of their cast. There isn’t a running blog of each cast member as they were cast, this was it. I stand by that story then and I stand by it now. I’m super glad more women were cast in this movie. Great. Good. But at the time, that image was troubling.
And keep in mind – we still have no idea who/what Nyong’o and Christie are playing, and we won’t for some time. (Or Daisy Ridley for that matter, though she’s the certainly the easiest to guess.) We don’t know if they’re major roles, and there are a LOT of people in this movie – they can’t all be leads.
I don’t regret my reaction on April 29, and I certainly don’t regret being one of dozens, one of hundreds, who had it. I don’t regret sitting up and saying “We expect better,” and nor should any of us.
We expect better. And thank you, Lucasfilm, J.J. Abrams, for not letting it end there. That excitement that folks were missing for the first announcement? I saw it today. And I’m glad we could finally join in.
In Star Wars, a boy can grow up to be a knight or a wizard, but if you’re a girl, you have one good role model- one good, sexy role model- but you better be born a princess or good at space hooking, cuz those are your options [x]
To be fair, the second trilogy used those roles and opened them slightly to “henchman/bodyguard, but you will die in the first act” and “Jedi, but you will get no lines/also die.”
And then I guess there was that one Kaminoan lady.
picture meme → top 6 favorite bamf ladies from the Star Wars EU
There are so many reasons why I’ve loved Star Wars since the time I could first understand a plot. Mandalorians and their culture is a huge one - so is the sheer amount of artistic inspiration that went into the entire EU, the various nuances of the games and books and oh, we could be here all night.
But another crucially important part is the sheer variety in fantastically crafted morally-ambiguous ladies that populate the EU cast.
That meant a hell of a lot to me as a child.
I appreciated Leia, don’t get me wrong; but I’ve always been seriously attracted to the uncompromising bastards like Fett and Tarkin and Dengar; and usually that type of character is soley in the area of the boys. At most, we’ll get a token ‘vamp stripper seductress’ in fandoms, which is kinda insulting to us ladies to put it mildly. It’s almost saying we have no choice to be either a goody-two-shoes type of girl, or be a cardboard caricature of a bad guy with no in between, you know? Some depth would be nice, even if it’s jerkass-depth.
Enter these fabulous gals.
I had the Aurra Sing doll when I was oh, seven. Mum was a bit freaked out about the antenna she has in her head, but I was absolutely enthralled with her story. Here was a bounty hunter who had a seriously in-depth backstory, was amazing with her rifle, and who racked up a ton of Jedi kills, all by herself oh yes. Managed to make her name in the galaxy (for good or bad), and despite horrible circumstances to boot.
It’s that independence that I value in all of them. Most of them have done admittedly nasty things, but then again, aren’t we all human? Good is a point of view, as they say.
So - here’s a round of thanks to all of the writers and creative minds who made these characters. Let’s hope that more art directors and creators get the hint that this is exactly the way to go to create genuinely kickass ladies with an eye for the credits.
It’s May the 1st, and you know what that means. Yes, that Free Comic Book Day is in three days. But that’s not what I – Okay, yes, that Iron Man 3 comes out at midnight tomorrow, but that’s not what I’m – YES. Yes, that Saturday is May the Fourth, as in May the Force be with you! It’s Star Wars Day! And it’s also the day that Jeffrey Brown‘s Vader’s Little Princess, a 100% Leia themed sequel to his first book of Star Wars cartoons Vader and Son becomes available in book stores. But if you have a shipping address in the U.S. and a Twitter account, you’ve got a chance to get a copy of your very own courtesy The Mary Sue and Chronicle Books, starting right now through all of May the Fourth, Star Wars Day itself.