Star Wars: The Force Awakens will bring the galaxy far, far away back to the multiplex this year, and J.J. Abrams' film isn't just going to kick off a sequel trilogy set in the main saga of the original and prequel trilogies. In between the core "episodes," Disney/Lucasfilm will be releasing standalone spinoff movies that tell stories from other corners of the universe.
The first of these projects, which will be directed by Gareth Edwards, is slated to hit theaters in December 2016, meaning that the director will be aiming to start principal photography soon. However, before he begins rolling cameras, he needs actors to stand in front of them. Very recently, we learned that some high profile actresses like Rooney Mara, Felicity Jones, and Tatiana Maslany were testing for the spinoff's female lead; and today, another big name joins those ranks.
If Rooney is in the running for a role, it appears that she'll have to deal with a sibling rivalry. That's because her sister Kate Mara has also tested for that part, according to Justin Kroll of Variety:
Twitter scoop following @Borys_Kit STAR WARS testing story from yesterday, hearing the fourth girl who tested is Rooney's sister, Kate Mara
— Justin Kroll (@krolljvar) January 21, 2015
Unfortunately, this is the only bit of new information we have regarding the female lead in Edwards' spinoff. There's still no word on the character the four actresses are hoping to play, but rumored plot details for the film can give us some vague ideas. Earlier reports indicated that the film would revolve around a team of bounty hunters tasked with stealing the Death Star plans for the Rebel Alliance, so it's quite possible that a young Princess Leia could make an appearance, as our own Sarah Moran theorized.
That said, it is worth pointing out that the rumored narrative was made public before the film's original writer Gary Whitta left the production after turning in a first draft. With Simon Kinberg expected to come in and pick up the screenwriting duties, it's certainly in the realm of possibility that the script could get retooled and become something else entirely. Since official details are extremely scarce, all we have is hearsay to go off of.
Regardless, Kate Mara, like her competition, would be a welcome addition to the Star Wars franchise. Not only was she nominated for an Emmy for her work on House of Cards, she's also no stranger to big-scale blockbuster genre films. This year, she will appear in both the Fantastic Four reboot and Ridley Scott's The Martian, meaning that she would be comfortable handling this kind of material should she come on board.
No matter who Edwards ends up choosing (or what his film ends up being about), fans can take solace in the fact that Disney isn't going to skimp out on talent just because they're working with spinoffs and not the main story. As illustrated by their hiring of directors whose stars are on the rise (Edwards and Josh Trank) - in addition to eying quality thespians to headline - it appears right now that these standalone adventures are going worthwhile additions to the classic series.
Time will tell, of course, but on paper, one has to be very pleased with the way Lucasfilm is handling their prized possession.
The first Star Wars spinoff will hit theaters December 16, 2016.
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