With Star Wars: The Force Awakens hitting theaters in just a few short days, many are already looking ahead to Star Wars: Episode VIII, which is slated to hit theaters on May 26, 2017. Very little has been confirmed by Disney and LucasFilm thus far, but a report surfaced in October that Gugu Mbatha-Raw is one of the top contenders for two female lead roles. Other contenders such as Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin) and Olivia Cooke (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) were said to be on the short list, but we haven't gotten any confirmation about the casting since then. Today, a new report from The Wrap claims that Gugu Mbatha-Raw is "expected" to join the cast of Star Wars: Episode VIII, although that may not be the case.
Variety's Justin Kroll responded to The Wrap's Jeff Sneider on Twitter, revealing that he heard the actress hasn't joined the cast, information he reportedly came across yesterday. It isn't known if the other actresses, Tatiana Maslany, Gina Rodriguez and Olivia Cooke remain in the running, or why Gugu Mbatha-Raw is no longer in contention. Production started on Star Wars: Episode VIII in September, as evidenced by set photos from the Ireland featuring director Rian Johnson.
Shortly before those set photos arrived, though, Benicio Del Toro seemingly confirmed his role in Star Wars 8, claiming that production doesn't begin until March. Mark Hamill recently confirmed that his iconic Luke Skywalker character will be back for Star Wars: Episode VIII. The Luke Skywalker shoot on Skellig Island in Ireland was not part of principal photography, but production took place there this fall because the production was only allowed to shoot on the island in the month of September. Principal photography will begin in earnest next year.
Producer recently confirmed that Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: Episode VIII and Star Wars: Episode IX will focus Skywalker family saga that connects to the first six movies. There are rumors that new characters such as Finn (John Boyega) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) could be connected to the Skywalker linneage, since their surnames have not yet been revealed, but hopefully we'll find out more about their heritage very soon.
Rian Johnson is directing Star Wars: Episode VIII from his own script, which, as of now, is essentially the only confirmed detail we have regarding this highly-anticipated adventure, along with the May 26, 2017 release date. Which of these aforementioned actresses do you think should be the female leads in Star Wars: Episode VIII? Chime in with your thoughts, and stay tuned for more on this upcoming sequel.