Collider tonight reports that Gugu Mbatha-Raw is joining the cast of Episode VIII. A previous rumor says that she was up for one of two roles alongside Gina Rodriguez and Tatiana Maslany.
Mbatha-Raw is best known for her lead roles in Belle and Beyond the Lights. Sci-fi fans may also remember her from a supporting role in Jupiter Ascending or even as Martha Jones’ sister Tish on Doctor Who.
Whether the second VII role is still in play – or ever was – is unknown. However, a report from earlier today has Maslany in negotiations for the Boston Marathon bombing drama Stronger, which will likely take her out of the running for for Star Wars. (Deja vu much?)
Jason at Making Star Wars discusses Rey’s staff. There are some spoilers in the piece, but since there is no way this is the case anyway, let’s put this out: It’s not Darth Plagueis’ staff. It was never going to be Darth Plagueis’ staff. I don’t know where this speculation originated, and I don’t really care, but save it for your fanfics.
→ Scott Mendelson at Forbes considers possible ratings for The Force Awakens.
→ At Yahoo, Domhnall Gleeson talks about how Harry Potter prepped him for Star Wars, and reveals that the ‘Starkiller Base’ slip up… Wasn’t actually a slip.
Da7e at Latino Review claims that the Episode VIII role that Tatiana Maslany and Gina Rodriguez were rumored for is actually two “substantial” roles that “share the same shortlist.” He also adds a new name: Gugu Mbatha-Raw of Beyond the Lights and Belle. She’s already paid a few space opera dues with a supporting role in Jupiter Ascending.
Olivia Cooke (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) was also up for the role (roles?) at the time of the initial report, but she’s reportedly in negotiations to play the female lead in Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, which likely takes her out of the running for Star Wars.
Filming for Episode VIII that was scheduled to begin on the Irish island of Skelllig Michael has been canceled for the day, the Irish Times reports. High winds and bad weather are making the seas too rough to ferry crew out to the island.
Some crew – including director Rian Johnson – and equipment has already been sighted in the area this weekend.
We’ve been hearing for quite a while now that a return to Ireland’s Skellig Michael was in the cards for very soon now, and now Lucasfilm themselves have confirmed (to Entertainment Weekly) that Star Wars will be shooting on the island this month for Rian Johnson’s Episode VIII.
J.J. Abrams and at least two actors filmed for threedays on Skellig Michael in July 2014.
EW also reports that some reshoots for The Force Awakens have already occurred, including some around the time of D23.
Benicio del Toro continues to be less than secretive about his status regarding Episode VIII. He told a Spanish radio station (transcribed and translated by a Star Wars 7 News reader) that he’s “like the villain” and that he believes they begin shooting in March.
→ A new image banner, has been spotted – it’s made up of two fairly familiar pieces, though: The First Order images we saw on Empire and the First Order assembled. (via)
→ An analyst estimates that The Force Awakens “could generate $5 billion in consumer merchandise sales in its first year of release,” per The Hollywood Reporter. In $150 increments, I expect.
→ Speaking of merchandise, there have been a handful of reviews of the Cover Girl line poping up. Today’s is from Tracy and Amanda at Making Star Wars, and another of a couple of the lipsticks from Love for Lacquer.
We heard she was up for the Rogue One role that eventually went to Felicity Jones, but Star Wars isn’t ready to give up on Orphan Black’sTatiana Maslany, it seems. The Wrap reports that she’s on the shortlist for the new female lead in Rian Johnson’s Episode VIII, alongside Golden Globe winner Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin) and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl’sOlivia Cooke. They’ll supposedly be among the actresses who’ll chemistry read with John Boyega later this month.
Aside from the The Force Awakens stars expected to return (including Boyega and Daisy Ridley, who’s signed for at least three films) the only name we’ve heard connected with the second film is Benicio del Toro, who’s reportedly in talks to play a villain.