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The next chapter of the Star Wars saga is underway and that means that all of the characters that you loved from Star Wars: The Force Awakens are back at work filming. They’re not alone, however, as two new actors have been announced as joining the cast for Episode 8, and a third has been officially confirmed. The newest big name added to the cast is two-time Academy Award nominee Laura Dern. Get excited, people!
Lest you think this is simply the newest rumor, this news comes directly from the official Star Wars website, so it’s the real deal. Laura Dern’s name is listed right alongside Benicio Del Toro, who we’ve known was on board for quite some time, as well as newcomer Kelly Marie Tran who will also be joining the cast. No details are given regarding their roles, of course, but it would appear that these are the three largest new parts in the series, as they’re the only names specifically called out.
While the word broke several months ago that Benicio Del Toro was in talks for a role in the new film, the news that Laura Dern is joining the cast seems to have come out of left field. While many movie fans will know the actress best for her role as Dr. Ellie Satler in two out of the first three Jurassic Park films, the fact is that she tends to stay away from the big budget movies more often than not. She’s much better known for the types of roles that get you nominated for Oscars, as happened to her twice for her leading role in Rambling Rose as well as her part in 2014’s Wild.
Very little is known about the young Kelly Marie Tran. Her current filmography lists a collection of TV appearances and small films that you likely haven’t seen. This may be a good sign, as it reminds us quite a bit of what Daisy Ridley’s career looked like at the time of her casting for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The last movie did a fantastic job bringing several young actors that were not household names out of the shadows. Odds are that Episode 8 will do the same thing here.
Kelly Marie Tran is likely playing one of the two new female roles that we have heard about before. While we don’t know too much about them, we have heard that the role may be significantly smaller than originally planned. The script for the film recently went through a final rewrite in order to increase the size of the roles of Rey, Finn, and Poe, due to their unexpected popularity. Apparently, these two new roles were being cut to some extent in order to compensate. This rewrite is part of the reason the film’s release has been pushed back by six months.