Star Wars 7: major female role still to be announced?

Maisie Richardson-Sellers, Lupita Nyong'o, Saoirse Ronan and Judi Dench all featured in the endless rumours - could they be about to join JJ Abrams' Episode VII?

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Star Wars 7: major female role still to be announced?
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Did you think all the Star Wars excitement had come and gone? Think again... 

The force is very much still with us according to reports which claim that JJ Abrams' casting announcement is far from complete. Several sources have confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that the director "has another substantial role to fill – and it's a female part."

Now, no further details are known – and it could all be a load of codswallop – but as plenty of the Star Wars casting rumours turned out to be true, we're going to give this one the benefit of the doubt for the time being. 

If the mystery missing role does turn out to be for a woman, there are plenty of actresses rumoured to have tested for parts who could still be in with a shot at joining the franchise. 

If we were to assume that Abrams is continuing his trend of casting young relative unknowns, then Oxford graduate Maisie Richardson-Sellers certainly features at the top of our list. The inexperienced actress was the subject of a rush of speculation earlier this month but was notably absent from yesterday's announcement.

Continuing in a similar vein, the aptly-named Ksenia Solo (known for Life Unexpected) was also mentioned for a role, as were Rachel Hurd-Wood (An American Haunting), Emmanuelle Chriqui (Entourage), Alexis Dziena (Entourage) and Taissa Farmiga (American Horror Story). All five would certainly fit the Abrams mould of young, less-familiar talent.

Then, on the other end of the fame spectrum, there's Lupita Nyong'o who "sources" reported had met with Abrams back in March before her best supporting actress win at the Academy Awards.

Young stars Saoirse Ronan and Chloe Moretz also found themselves at the centre of speculation, as did British veteran Judi Dench who, at one point, was rumoured to be playing Mon Mothma, Chandrila native and former leader of the rebellion.

Is this all smoke and no fire? Or with Star Wars Day, aka May the Fourth, fast approaching, could we be about to see one of these women join the cast?

Read the reactions of the Star Wars cast following yesterday's announcement

And meet the young British actors and actresses joining the franchise