'star wars' might have cast its first asian female lead

John Boyega, who himself ignited a conversation about Hollywood diversity, just let slip a very exciting detail about 'Star Wars: Episode VIII.'

by Hannah Ongley
|
04 April 2016, 7:28pm

@john_boyega

Not much is known about Episode VIII, J. J. Abrams' followup to Star Wars: The Force Awakens that's already in the works. Even less is known about actress Kelly Marie Tran, who earlier this year was confirmed to have been cast in the most epic space opera of all time. Until now, Tran's previous biggest acting credit has been an education guide to periods for CollegeHumor. But if her new co-star John Boyega is correct, it's going to be well worth keeping an eye on any further developments.

At a UK Gala Screening of Secrets Of Star Wars: The Force Awakens last week, Boyega accidentally let slip a secret that wasn't covered in the documentary: that Tran had been cast as Episode VIII's "new lead." As What Culture notes, this would make her the franchise's first Asian female lead actress. Star Wars has quickly set a benchmark for Hollywood diversity, with Boyega himself being thrust into the center of a heated debate thanks to racists who found it easier to believe in Wookiees than black Stormtroopers. Lupita Nyong'o also had a role in The Force Awakens, while Daisy Ridley's Rey scored a slam dunk for gender equality. J.J. Abrams has a knack for plucking talented actors out of semi-obscurity: Boyega's previous best-known role was in South London sci-fi Attack the Block. Ridley had only appeared on little-known television shows.

One thing is for sure: if Tran has been cast as the new lead, she definitely has the comedic cojones for dealing with any backlash from ill-informed Twitter trolls. Last year she voluntarily sat on a mixed-race council as the token "Full Asian."

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Text Hannah Ongley
Image via Instagram

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