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Star Wars: Episode VIII Just Cast One Of Its Female Leads

A couple of days ago, Gugu Mbatha Raw was one of several names on the short list for a prime lead in Star Wars Episode VIII. Oh what a difference those days made, as we've now been told that this rising female star is about to travel to a galaxy far, far away.

Collider reported a supposed exclusive that named Mbatha Raw as a lead in Rian Johnson's upcoming Star Wars sequel. Best known for her role in Belle, her latest conquest is, naturally, as mysterious as any potential plot for Star Wars Episode VIII. Still, her casting is excellent news for the storied franchise. The initial news item hedged its bets by disclaiming that the casting has not been announced by Disney officially, but it comes from source Collider is "confident" in reporting.

With extremely few details to go on, the casting of Gugu Mbatha Raw is still very much shrouded in the anonymity that any piece of Star Wars news is required to take on. That said, there are plenty of directions that Mbatha Raw could be pulled when it comes to the continuing story of the Star Wars saga. She could be a new Jedi apprentice, a kick assed X-Wing Pilot, or even an Imperial bad-ass alongside Gwendoline Christie's Captain Phasma. The world of Star Wars is her oyster, and her inclusion is part of a greater trend in the universe that J.J. Abrams will kick off this December with Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

That greater trend is that of the Star Wars universe being populated by actors from a wide variety of races and genders. Already, the base cast of Star Wars: The Force Awakens has John Boyega and Daisy Ridley in the leads, with Oscar Issac and Lupita N'yongo adding some additional flavor to the mix. On top of that, Benicio Del Toro has already been cast as a villain in Star Wars Episode VIII, and with Gugu Mbatha Raw's more than likely addition, it's clear that Star Wars is looking to keep the franchise's current path of truly delivering something for everybody in tact. Interestingly enough, Mbatha Raw was interviewed by her possible future co-star, Oscar Issac, and we've got the video for you below.

As soon as we have any new details about Gugu Mbatha Raw's role in Star Wars Episode VIII, we'll break them just as fast as we can. In the meantime, you can see her co-star with Will Smith in the NFL drama, Concussion, which opens on Christmas Day. Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in theaters mere days prior to that film, on December 18th.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.