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The force will be upon us once again as “Star Wars Episode VII” heads back to the big screen in December 2015.  J.J. Abrams (who resurrected the “Star Trek” franchise) has jumped ship to helm Hollywood’s most iconic sci-fi franchise, when “Star Wars” creator George Lucas opted not to return.

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“Star Wars” original cast members Harrison Ford (Hans Solo), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) have kept mum on whether they will reprise their roles.  Abrams is also keeping the plot details of “Episode VII” under wraps, but confirmed that the script is completed.  

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Also unconfirmed is who Abrams has cast in his latest space saga.  While Gary Oldman and Zac Efron have admitted to “being in talks,” curiously enough, no actors, black, Asian, or Latino seem to be in the running.  With so many actors of color making their mark in Hollywood today, the casting directors have their pick of talent to populate the Star Wars fictional galaxy.

We’ve rounded up 10 actors and actresses who are more than qualified to carry on the “Star Wars” legacy:

Ken Watanabe 

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One of the few Asian actors to crossover into the Hollywood mainstream, the Oscar nominated actor has an impressive resume that includes blockbusters like “Batman Begins,” “The Last Samurai” and “Inception.”

Michelle Rodriguez


Since her debut in the 2000 indie flick”Girlfight,” Rodriguez has set screens on fire with her total badassery.  Couldn’t you see her doing some major damage as an evil Sith Lord?

Rinko Kikuchi


Kikuchi was the first Japanese actress to be nominated for an Academy Award in over 50 years in the 2006 film “Babel.” Besides being a talented dramatic actress, this Asian beauty is more than capable of delivering the smackdown as witnessed in a thrilling stick fight (opposite Charlie Hunnam)  in “Pacific Rim.”

Michael B. Jordan


Handsome and charming, Jordan has steadily risen up the ranks of Hollywood’s leading men.  Jordan would be a perfect pick as Lando Calrissian’s (Billy Dee Williams) son.

Lupita Nyong’o


With her breakout role in “12 Years A Slave,” all eyes are on this Oscar nominated, classically trained thespian.  Nyongo’s beauty, poise and grace would make her an ideal warrior Queen.

Saif Ali Khan 


One of Bollywood’s most popular heartthrobs, Khan brings an edgy sexiness to the big screen, leaving female fans breathless for more.

Archie Panjabi


Millions of fans tune in to “The Good Wife” to get their fix of Panjabi as the mysterious Kalinda Sharma.  A no-nonsense legal investigator,  Kalinda can just as easily dig up all your dirty secrets as she is taking out your kneecaps with a baseball bat.

Rodrigo Santoro

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This half Italian, half Brazilian import made waves as the sinister Xerxes in the 2007 epic blockbuster “300.”  Santoro has gone on to melt hearts in the romantic comedy “Love Actually” and  playing Cuban revolutionary Raul Castro in “Che.”

Danai Gurira


If you’re a fan of “The Walking Dead” casting Gurira is pretty much a no-brainer.  Gurira’s Michonne is a fierce Afro-samurai warrior goddess who wields her katana sword with absolute authority.  Switch out that katana for a light saber and you have the makings of the fiercest Jedi or Sith the “Star Wars” franchise will ever possess.

Derek Luke 


When an acting icon like Denzel Washington handpicks you for his directing debut (“Antoine Fisher”), Hollywood should pay better attention. Last year, Luke reminded us why he’s one of the best in a powerful guest arc on “The Americans” as a former Black Panther turned KGB informant.


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10 Actors/Actresses Of Color We’d Love To See In “Star Wars Episode VII”  was originally published on