A shortlist of actresses for a female role in Star Wars: Episode VIII reportedly included Olivia Cooke, Tatiana Maslany, Gina Rodriguez, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, they were said to have tested alongside Force Awakens lead John Boyega for chemistry.
The Wrap says that Gugu (Black Mirror, Beyond The Lights, Concussion) might have come away as the victor, as she’s “expected” to take the role.
This isn’t odd since the rest of these ladies on the shortlist have seemingly looked elsewhere for projects. Olivia exited talks to join Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, Gina Rodriguez joined Alex Garland’s (Ex Machina) Annihilation opposite Natalie Portman, and Tatiana joined Jake Gyllenhaal in the Boston Marathon bombing drama Stronger. Considering these ladies have joined other high profiled projects, since Episode VIII is in production it’s unlikely they’ll be able to commit to two or more Star Wars films. Basically, everyone else has lined-up projects that would conflict with the lengthy production.
There’s one more thing that leads me to believe that she’s landed the gig.
Episode VIII writer-director Rian Johnson hosted a Q&A event for the film in November with Gugu and it’s writer-director Gina Price-Bythewood (someone that might be on Lucasfilm’s radar), he just happens to be a huge fan of the film and the actress. This at the very least gives the impression he’d be leaning towards this actress, as the others have seemingly taken themselves out of the running.
The only other new addition to the cast has been Benicio Del Toro (Guardians of The Galaxy, Sicario, The Usual Suspects).
SOURCE: THE WRAP