Lupita Nyong'o Was Slow to Realize 'Star Wars' Phenomenon: "When I Got Cast, My Brother Cried"

The actress shares on 'The Daily Show' that she grew up watching 'Star Wars' during public holidays in Kenya but was unaware of just how popular the sci-fi fantasy franchise was until she heard it referenced on 'Whose Line Is It Anyway?'
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Lupita Nyong'o

Ahead of the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Lupita Nyong'o stoped by The Daily Show to chat with host Trevor Noah about the latest installment in the sci-fi franchise.

At the top of the interview, Noah commented, "The trailer doesn't give anything away, which I enjoy." He continued with a joke: "They don't let you tell us anything. [So] why are we here?" Nyong'o laughed and answered, "I don't know… but it seems to work every time."

Noah elaborated on the difficulty of interviewing someone when you can't ask them anything specific, explaining that normally he can dive into story or character details. He referred to the Star Wars film as a "lock and key" project. "But there is one question maybe you can answer," he said. "What's baby Yoda like? Is he in the movie?" Nyong'o answered, "I know almost as much as you do. They give you just what you need to know, so I'm curious as well."

Realizing he wasn't going to get any details, Noah moved on and acknowledged how special it must be for Nyong'o to be part of such a major franchise. "Is that something you thought of when you were growing up?" he asked his guest. Nyong'o responded, "It never occurred to me." She said that she watched the movies in Kenya, especially during public holidays — it was the public holiday movie — though she didn't know it was such a cultural phenomenon.

The actress recalled watching Whose Line Is It Anyway? in which the questions were about Darth Vader and Star Wars. At that point, she realized, "Wow, everyone is all about Star Wars."

When she got cast in the film, her brother cried. "That's when I was like, OK," said Nyong'o, noting that there was a "big splash" about her being involved. She soon came to understand that Star Wars was a mainstay in popular culture.

In reference to Nyong'o's character, Maz Kanata, the late night host said she may have gotten the best deal by being largely unrecognizable in the film — since Star Wars fans can be intense. "A lot of people might not know that you're in the movie," he said, to which Nyong'o responded, "The real buffs know that I'm in the movie."

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be released in theaters Dec. 20.

Watch the whole clip below.