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Star Wars The Force Awakens: Lupita Nyong'o calls her role 'a blessing'

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Lupita Nyong’o’s last two years have been filled with career achievements most veteran actors would be jealous of. After winning an Oscar for her first feature film role, in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave, she became attached to one of the biggest franchises ever in Star Wars.

At last week’s Disney’s D23 Expo, the actress talked to EW and People about her involvement in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, in which she plays pirate Maz Kanata, a motion-capture character. “To be able to have that experience and the continuation of Han Solo, and Luke, and Leia’s journey is really a blessing, to be able to play a small part in that,” she said. 

Star Wars marks the start of Nyong’o’s three-film run with Disney. She’s also slated to star in the live-action remake of The Jungle Book as Raksha, the lupine maternal figure to Mowgli. “I really enjoy that process, playing a mother of this boy,” she said. “Just the love between a human and a wolf was something really cool to explore.”

The parental role is something the 32-year-old actress is doubling up on, as she’s slated to play the mother of a prodigal African chess player in Queen of Katwe, based on a true story and about Phiona Mutesi. “It’s a really magical — and real — story about a girl who had a dream to be a chess master,” Nyong’o said, “and through hard work and just complete commitment to it, she went against all odds and achieved that.”

Watch the clip with Nyong’o above.

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