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    Star Wars: Episode VII: Lupita Nyong'o and Gwendoline Christie Join Star-Studded Cast

    Lupita Nyong'o, Gwendoline Christie Ian Gavan/Getty Images, Tim Whitby/Getty Images

    It's official!

    After endless speculation, Lupita Nyong'o has joined the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII, the next installment of the famous sci-fi franchise. Additionally, Game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie, who will soon be seen on the silver screen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, has also been cast.

    "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."

    Nyong'o and Christie join an already impressive cast which includes original stars Harrison Ford, Carrie FisherMark HamillAnthony DanielsPeter Mayhew and Kenny Baker as well as newcomers John BoyegaDaisy Ridley, Adam DriverOscar IsaacAndy SerkisDomhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow.

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    The Kenyan beauty's casting comes on the heels of her Oscar win for her powerful performance in 12 Years a Slave. Following her impressive award season, both fans and industry experts have been wondering what role the 31-year-old actress would take on next.

    Meanwhile, production on the highly-anticipated film has already begun. According to The Hollywood Reporter, director J.J. Abrams and cast flew to Abu Dhabi in early May to begin filming.

    Bad Robot, the production company founded by Abrams, tweeted out a picture of a film slate last month to indicate that production has officially started on the flick. The photo was simply accompanied with the hashtag #dayone.

    Star Wars: Episode VII is scheduled to hit theaters on Dec. 18, 2015.

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