PEOPLE – Gwendoline Christie is returning to the big screen for next Star Wars installment.
“I will be in the next Star Wars movie. I think that’s an exclusive, actually,” the actress told PEOPLE Deputy Editor JD Heyman on Saturday’s red carpet preshow for the 2016 SAG Awards.
It’s exciting news, especially considering Christie was super amped about the role of Captain Phasma in the latest film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
“I was very overexcited. I made no secret of the fact that I really campaigned for the part for a long time,” said Christie, 37. “And then I was delighted when J.J. Abrams wanted to have me in the film and then wanted to cast me in this role that had originally been designed for a man.”
The actress continued, reveling over the “incredible” costume and that fact that she would have the rare opportunity to play a female stormtrooper – a role she hopes will bring more diverse jobs to other women in Hollywood.
“I thought the costume was incredibly striking. I also just liked this notion of a female stormtrooper,” Christie said. “I felt it encouraged diversity and it was doing something new and it was an interesting bit of casting for women, and I hope that in something that was such a mainstream success it would breed more of those kind of opportunities for other women.”
Earlier this month, the 6-ft., 3-in. Game of Thrones star told PEOPLE that she also liked that, while her Star Wars costume was amazing, she loved that it was armor.
“I was struck by how incredible it looked, but also I liked that it was stormtrooper armor,” Christie said at the time. “It hadn’t been sexualized or feminized in any way. I thought, ‘That is interesting. That’s very modern.'”
The 22nd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards are being presented live from Los Angeles on TNT and TBS.
COMICBOOK – Citing the success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens as a record-setting December debut, Walt Disney Studios announced today that Star Wars: Episode VIII, the direct sequel to the film and second part of a planned trilogy, will release on December 15, 2017.
That is a changed date, originally scheduled for May 26, 2017, which would have put Star Wars back to its traditional late May release schedule. The movie will instead now be the third December release in a row for the franchise, with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, a film that takes place just prior to the original first film in the series, due out December 2016. It appears this may be Disney’s ongoing plan now – after proving they can have a well-over billion dollar release in the traditionally light month of December, putting Star Wars there on a more permanent basis could prove lucrative to them.
May will continue to be home to an annual Marvel Studios release, with Captain America: Civil War, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, and Avengers: Infinity War scheduled for the next three May first weekends. Disney also announced that they’re moving Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales from its July 2017 release into the May 26, 2017 slot they have just opened.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens now holds forty box office records, including the largest domestic, global, December, and Holiday debuts of all time. The film has the highest domestic gross ever, currently at $861 million after five weekends, and an international gross of over $1 billion for a current worldwide cume of $1.887 billion.
VULTURE – Given that The Force Awakens brought in approximately eleventy bajillion dollars over the last month, it’s no surprise that at least four other theatrical films are in the works, and they’re being made at a breakneck pace. We’ll be inundated with Star Wars hype through at least the end of the decade, alternating between the ongoing saga that began with The Force Awakens and side-stories that give heretofore unknown details about some of the universe’s more well-known characters and events. Here’s everything we know so far.
- • Rian Johnson (Brick, Looper) will write and direct the film.
- • Kennedy has also hinted that Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma will have an expanded role, saying, “She’s an important character, a baddie in the best sense of the word.”
- • New names in the cast are Gugu Mbatha-Raw as an unannounced character and, as first reported last summer, Benicio Del Toro as the villain.
- • R2-D2 is being played by actor Jimmy Vee, replacing franchise mainstay Kenny Baker.
- • The casting sheet also says that production will take place in Iceland and London.
- • Sources said in September that the casting short list also included Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin), and Olivia Cooke (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl).
- • According to frequent J.J. Abrams collaborator Greg Grunberg, Abrams called the Episode VIII script, “‘so good’ that he wished he had written it.”
- • Daisy Ridley also liked the script a lot. She said, “It’s very good; very good,” and then expanded on that statement in interesting and specific ways (haha, just kidding).
- • That said, John Boyega gave up the tiniest descriptive tidbit, calling the Episode VIII script “much darker.”
- • Johnson has said that the crew has been screening other films to prepare, including the 1949 classic Twelve O’Clock High — famous in part for using actual World War II footage — as well as the 1960 Russian survival film Letter Never Sent.
- • Mark Hamill appeared at a local bar in England following a day of shooting Episode VIII. He appeared without the beard that he is seen sporting at the end of The Force Awakens.
- • The film comes out on May 26, 2017.