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Lupita Nyong'o Joins 'Star Wars: Episode VII'

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Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o has joined the cast of "Star Wars: Episode VII."

Nyong'o had long been rumored for a part in the J.J. Abrams film, but she was left off the initial "Star Wars" cast roster when it was revealed by Lucasfilm and Disney in April.

In addition to Nyong'o, "Game of Thrones" star Gwendoline Christie was added to the new film in an unspecified role.

"I could not be more excited about Lupita and Gwendoline joining the cast of 'Episode VII,'" Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement. "It's thrilling to see this extraordinarily talented ensemble taking shape."

The two actresses join John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow and original trilogy stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher in the "Star Wars" sequel.

After Disney and Lucasfilm announced the lineup of "Star Wars" actors on April 30, much was made of the fact that only two actresses -- Ridley and Fisher -- were included.

"[T]here’s nothing in the world of 'Star Wars' that explicitly says that women don't have as much agency as men, or that there isn't a vast array of skin colors within the humanoid population zigzagging across space," wrote VanityFair.com critic Richard Lawson about the "Star Wars" cast. "So why so stringently follow the terrible rules of our own culture, where minorities and women are systematically marginalized in favor of white male hero after white male hero? 'Star Wars' is pure fantasy, and yet a lot of this initial casting seems to follow our dullest and most frustrating terrestrial tendencies."

It's expected that Nyong'o will play a lead role in "Episode VII," possibly alongside Boyega and Ridley, a newcomer. According to Entertainment Weekly, Ford also has a significant role to play in the "Star Wars" sequel.

Nyong'o won an Oscar this year for her role in "12 Years A Slave." Before being cast in "Star Wars: Episode VII," she was attached to a voice role in Jon Favreau's "Jungle Book." That film, like "Star Wars," will be released by Disney.

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