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Friday, September 4, 2015

Star Wars: Episode VIII Shortlist Revealed

Though Star Wars: The Force Awakens has barely begun its promotional campaign, we've got a few other sequels and spinoffs to be excited about. Rogue One, a prequel centered on a squad of Rebel fighters that teams up to steal the Death Star plans, is set to be released in December 2016, and it started filming in early August. And after that comes Star Wars: Episode VIII, a sequel to The Force Awakens, coming May 26, 2017.

Casting for Episode VIII has begun, and the shortlist for the female lead has been reported by The Wrap. I'm going to review each of the three actresses, including their previous roles and accomplishments. 

Gina Rodriguez 
This 31-year-old Puerto Rican actress has starred as the titular character in the CW comedy/drama "Jane the Virgin" since last fall, a role which one her a Golden Globe. So she can act, and it would be great for a Latina actress to join the Star Wars universe, but there's one big problem: she's mostly known as a comedic actress, and it's hard to imagine her in a dramatic, action-heavy role. Furthermore, if the new cast of this movie is anything like that of The Force Awakens, it'll rely heavily on up-and-coming dramatic actors, not stars of telenovela-parodying TV shows. 

Tatiana Maslany 
This 29-year-old Canadian actress is the star of the popular sci-fi thriller series "Orphan Black", where she plays a diverse group of clones. The role obviously requires a great acting range, and Maslany has been rewarded for her performance with Golden Globe and Emmy nominations. Unlike Rodriguez, she's already established herself as an excellent dramatic actress, and she has a huge fanbase in the sci-fi world. 
Tatiana Maslany's various "Orphan Black" clones, via playbuzz
Olivia Cooke
At 21, Cooke is the outlier of the trio, being much younger than Rodriguez and Maslany, and less famous, too. She co-stars in "Bates Motel", and in this summer's critically acclaimed comedy Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, as the titular dying girl. She's virtually unknown to most, which puts her on the same level as The Force Awakens stars Daisy Ridley and John Boyega.  

A 10-year age gap amongst candidates for specific role isn't that unusual, but it seems a bit odd when the actresses are this young; Rodriguez and Maslany appropriately look like women in their late 20s or very early 30s, but Cooke looks like she could be straight out of college or high school. The Wrap article implied that they were all auditioning for the same role, so the screenwriters must have written a character with a flexible age. 

Star Wars: Episode VIII will star Oscar-winning actor Benicio del Toro as the primary villain. Which actress do you hope will get the part? Tell me in the comments, and may the force be with you all. 

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