Lucasfilm announced today that two more ladies will be part of the new trilogy: Academy Award-winning Lupita Nyong'o and Gwendoline Christie, who plays Brienne of Tarth on Game of Thrones.
This is exactly the sort of announcement I was hoping to hear. Adding a woman of color to the cast, as well as an actress known for playing a character whose looks aren't exactly conventional, brings the sort of diversity I and other fans have been calling for. As Club Jade says it's not clear cut whether fan voices contributed to this casting. Nyong'o has been rumored to be part of the cast for a long time.
But I'm thankful to Lucasfilm, Disney, and J. J. Abrams for widening their cast, and look forward to seeing where these actresses go from here in the world of Star Wars.