It was announced earlier this month that two new actresses would be added to the cast of the upcoming Star Wars Episode VII: the Oscar-winning Lupita Nyong'o and Game of Thrones' Gwendoline Christie. While their roles haven't been revealed, the Internet collectively rejoiced at the addition to more females to the male-dominated cast.
As it stands, there are fifteen announced cast members for Episode VII (three of them being original trilogy stars Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill). Lupita and Gwendoline join Daisy Ridley as the three new females. While we can only speculate on their importance (there's a wide rumor that Nyong'o will play a mixed-race granddaughter of Obi-Wan Kenobi), many are hoping that they won't be mere side characters, simply cast as wives or girlfriends or daughters. Christie, who already portrays a warrior on Game of Thrones, would most likely feel more at home wielding a lightsaber than a saucepan.
— Forbes (@Forbes) June 4, 2014
"It counts for something that this new Star Wars trilogy may well have three times as many female characters of note as the first two trilogies did," Scott Mendelson writes for Forbes. "When you have a film with more than one female character, then the defining character trait of each respective female character doesn’t have to be that she is female."
Mendelson stresses how important this diversity can be. More females in the cast means that there's more likelihood for a female heroine, or even a female villain. "The new Star Wars film could possibly be not explicitly male-centric in its narrative," Mendelson speculates, which is noteworthy. When most cinema is still dominated by men, and females are either foils to the plot or used like chess pieces, it's enough to know that that will most likely not be the case in the new Star Wars.
"It matters when girls who love Star Wars have more than one female character to potentially latch onto," Mendelson says. "It’s not a game-changer per-se, but it’s a good start."
People were knocking new "Star Wars" for lack of women, J.J. Abrams casts Lupita Nyong'o and Brienne of Tarth, drops mic.
— Marlow Stern (@MarlowNYC) June 2, 2014
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