This report is still somewhat in the exploratory phase. But its more nailed down than the ambiguity we had before which was just a bunch of assumptions.
After a conversation with our friends at Star Wars Underworld, I think we might know the parameters of Lupita Nyong’o’s role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. They have confirmed a codename that opens up the puzzle a bit.
Yesterday we ran our report about Pirate’s Cove. In it, there is a room designated as “Rose’s Room.” Our friends at Star Wars Underworld have confirmed for us that Lupita Nyong’o’s character is codenamed Rose. HL&S at the Jedi Council Forums points out a trend in code names. Pirate’s Cove is where the pirate’s in Disney’s Peter Pan live. Fawn, a code name for “Kira” or Daisy Ridley’s character is alluding to Disney’s Bambi. Rose? Probably alludes to Briar Rose from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, daughter of Leah (you can’t make this stuff up!). It almost makes Rose seem like she should be Leia’s daughter.
So what is significant? Well, Rose’s room at the Pirate’s Cove required a separate set off the”Pirate’s Cove” because of the set design. The set for Rose’s room required the room “to be raised for puppetry requirements.” It appears as if they need a channel in the floor for the puppeteer to move freely around, much like they did with Yoda’s house in The Empire Strikes Back.
Star Wars Underworld reported a while back that Lupita Nyong’o was playing a motion capture character:
Our sources from the project also have suggested that actress Lupita Nyong’o will be doing motion capture work for the film.
What’s interesting is the female puppet has a lot of of concepts art suggesting she’s important, and there are details regarding body articulation. However, the face is not articulated at all. It’s basically a puppet and you can put your hand up into the head to make its head move and its body has the standard work you imagine for a clothed creature. For some time we have heard the alien sidekick character would be a physical puppet with motion captured facial features. So it appears this little alien race is what Lupita is playing in the film.
The ambiguity? There are two aliens. One is old and one is young. Both characters generally appear gender neutral in most of the concept art. The old character appears wise. One early iteration had the character crafting a crystal for (I presume) a lightsaber. The younger version appears to be related to that character and is younger and inquisitive. Just a wild guess, but it appears one is Lupita Nyong’o and one is Andy Serkis.
In early iterations of the film, Boyega and Ridely’s characters enter into a cavern or catacomb. They meet a little alien creature, standing about waist high. That creature then takes the heroes to its elder (the one crafting crystals in just one concept). After that meeting, the little creature is with the heroes until the end of the film.
The mystery at this point pertains to who Lupita Nyong’o is playing, the old one or the young one? Would the old one be at “Pirate’s Cove?” That makes me want to say she plays the young one. But looking at the personality of the young one in the concept pieces, I can see Andy Serkis playing that character as well.
The young character has a small turtle-like face. Imagine a Koopa Troopa from Super Mario Brothers if it was not cartoony and had tiny eyes that just like slits. The young one wears a hat, loose robes, has attitude and slings a gun over its back often. The old one always has a cane, often a blue kimono, with a long skinny neck. In the colored version, the skin is greyish blue. The characters eyes are very far apart. The head shape is like a turtle and E.T. put together. The species does not appear to have teeth. In a few different concept pieces this character has four arms, but I believe the character only has two as it seemed the exception rather than the rule.