The original Star Wars trilogy was pretty damn light when it came to female characters, with the most prominent being Princess Leia, Jabba's slave girl Oola, and the rebellion leader Mon Mothma. The new generation of films - starting with Daisy Ridley's key role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens - looks to completely change that record, however, and apparently that includes the upcoming spin-off movie that will be directed by Gareth Edwards. There's a key role for an actress to play in the movie and apparently three big candidates for the part are Rooney Mara, Felicity Jones and Tatiana Maslany.

This news has come our way from The Hollywood Reporter, though, as you might imagine, there aren't many other details about the project currently available. We've previously heard rumors that the movie could follow the adventures of a young Han Solo, or perhaps be about the theft of the original Death Star plans, but nothing has been confirmed, and we don't know exactly what kind of role the lead female character may have. But let's take a closer look at the candidates, shall we?

Rooney Mara

Most of us really first got to know Rooney Mara when she played the small role of Mark Zuckerberg's ex-girlfriend in David Fincher's The Social Network, but it was her follow-up work with the director that really got people's attention. Starring as Lisbeth Salander in Fincher's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo remake earned her an Academy Award nomination and immediately got the message across that she is one of the most talented young actresses in Hollywood. According to THR, she'll be testing for the Star Wars role later this week.

Felicity Jones

Speaking of Oscar nominations, Felicity Jones is actually in this year's Academy Awards race thanks to her performance opposite the also-nominated Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything. She does already have some blockbuster experience on her resume, playing the mysterious Felicia in Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - but it's also worth noting that she may have a conflict that will prevent her from being in Gareth Edwards' Star Wars spin-off. She is already attached to star in Ron Howard's upcoming Dan Brown adaptation Inferno, and because that's scheduled to film in the spring and summer there may be a scheduling issue.

Tatiana Maslany

Finally we have Tatiana Maslany, who hasn't gotten the Academy's attention just yet, but has gotten a Golden Globe nomination for her work on Orphan Black. The Canadian actress has spent a great deal of her career on television, but does have a few noteworthy film credits, including David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises and Michael Sucsy's The Vow and George A. Romero's Diary of the Dead.

Apparently the search for a star for the first Star Wars spin-off movie actually began last month in the U.K., but the search has now come to the United States, and Rooney Mara, Felicity Jones and Tatiana Maslany are three of many actresses who are being looked at. We should be hearing a lot more about the project in the coming weeks and months, so be sure to stay tuned.

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