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Only a day after reports swirled that Rami Malek was in talks to challenge James Bond as the main baddie in Bond 25, the talk is turning to another Oscar winner to round out the 007 roster: Lupita Nyong’o, Star Wars’ very own Maz Kanata.
Deadline reports that the Bond 25 team is pursuing Nyong’o to star in an undisclosed role — meaning we don’t yet know if director Cary Fukunaga has his sights on the Oscar winner (Best Supporting Actress for 12 Years a Slave) as a villain, a conventional "Bond girl," or an M16 ally.
The same report adds that Malek appears to indeed be in the final stages of joining the cast, after news circulated earlier this week that the film had targeted the Bohemian Rhapsody Oscar winner as its main villain.
In addition to her turn as Nakia in Marvel’s Black Panther, Nyong’o has also lent her voice and motion capture to both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, and is reportedly set to reprise her role as Maz Kanata to help close out the Skywalker saga when the still-untitled Episode IX premieres this December.
Production on Bond 25 is set to begin this spring, so it makes sense that the big casting pieces surrounding Daniel Craig’s fifth and final Bond appearance are beginning to fall into place. While there’s no early word on which of the open parts Nyong’o could play, earlier reports suggest there are at least two substantial female roles: one that introduces a new female M16 agent, and the other a James Bond ally who hails from points beyond the SIS.
Nyong’o would join a Bond cast that already includes Craig, Lea Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, and Naomie Harris, all returning to step back into their previous roles. Fukunaga and Scott Z. Burns have reportedly finished an early draft of the movie’s script.
Bond 25 is set to shake (but definitely not stir) into theaters on April 8, 2020. In the meantime, watch out for Nyong'o in Jordan Peele's Us, which creeps onto the big screen on March 22.