Star Wars Episode VIII shortlist

How do you feel about seeing Tatiana Maslany from Orphan Black in a Star Wars movie? She’s been rumored for a role in the past (in Rogue One, which ultimately went to Felicity Jones), and now she’s one of three names on a shortlist of young women who are reportedly in contention for a primary role in Star Wars Episode VIII.

Note that potential very vague spoilers for the new films follow along with the full Star Wars Episode VIII shortlist is below.

Update: This list may only feature two people now, as Olivia Cooke has reportedly been cast in Ready Player One. (Story on that forthcoming.) While it might not be totally impossible for her to do both Episode VIII and Ready Player One, chances are she would really only be able to do one or the other. Original story follows.

The Wrap has the list, which features Maslany, Gina Rodriguez of Jane the Virgin, and Olivia Cooke of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Reportedly, these three are the top choices for a role but that there are a few other people yet to test.

We don’t know anything about the role, and I’d be happy to see any of these three women in a Star Wars film. From a distance I kind of hope Maslany is the best choice. She’s proven anything she has to prove via Orphan Black, while Gina Rodriguez still has a lot to explore in Jane the Virgin. Cooke is the wild card for me, as I haven’t yet seen Me and Earl or her work on Bates Motel. Incidentally, this report says Cooke is also in the running for a major role in Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One.

One of the most interesting aspects of the news is that this trio, and potentially a few more choices, will do a chemistry test with The Force Awakens star John Boyega later in September. That is already giving rise to curiosity about not just what this role might be, but about the role Daisy Ridley’s character Rey plays in the new set of films.

Rey has been assumed by some to be a love interest for Boyega’s character Finn. That could still be true; this new character could have any number of different relationship possibilities with existing characters. She could be a friend, comrade, enemy, love interest, rival, or even, if some rumors are correct, the daughter of another major character.

Perhaps this chemistry test is just working with an actor that is known to the production, and the only indication to take from this chemistry test is that the character will have something to do with Boyega’s guy Finn.

Rian Johnson is directing Star Wars: Episode VIII from his own script. Benicio del Toro will play a villain in the film; whatever characters survive The Force Awakens (most of them, we’d expect) should also make an appearance. Ram Bergman is producing with Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy. The film is expected to shoot early in 2016. Star Wars: Episode VIII has a release date of May 26, 2017.

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