I sense a disturbance in the Force!
It was just yesterday that we finally learned the official fate of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, but it would appear that that news was just the precursor to last night’s big reveal. Seemingly oblivious to the fact it will be May the 4th aka Star Wars Day aka the perfect time to make any major Star Wars announcements in just 4 days, Lucasfilm has gone and unveiled (via Variety) the principal cast for director JJ Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII!
As was expected by just about everybody and his bantha, original trilogy stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker will be reprising their roles as Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C -3PO and R2-D2, respectively.
Joining them will be a new cast led by John Boyega (Attack the Block), newcomer Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver (Girls, Inside Llewyn Davis), Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis, Sucker Punch), Domhnall Gleeson (About Time, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and veteran actor Max Von Sydow (Flash Gordon, The Seventh Seal).
Some of the names on that list, like Boyega, who will be playing a young Jedi, and Adam Driver, who will be a Darth Vader-like villain, have been circling official status for ages now already and should come as no surprise. Isaac’s name also popped up earlier in the week, with conflicting reports as to whether he was in or not (clearly the former). However, Ridley, Serkis, Von Sydow and Gleeson came out of absolutely nowhere. This is especially true for Ridley, who up until now has merely had a few minor roles in a couple of British TV shows. Accordingly, she’s the only real enigma in this group, as I really cannot fault anything about the rest of this new cast. They are all very solid actors (Von Sydow being a true legend of the screened that was nominated for an Academy Award twice) and given the right material to work with, could knock this out of the park.
As to just which characters these actors will be playing during said knocking out, Lucasfilm have held that info back, meaning we’re going to have to rely on pure speculation and guesswork at this point. I would bet good money though that Ridley will be playing the Jedi daughter of Leia and Han, Jaina Solo (Gleeson may possibly be her twin brother, Jaicen, but the lack of resemblance is a spoiler for that theory though). Abrams and co have indicated in the past that they would like this new trilogy to have a young female lead, and seeing as how Ridley was the only young female cast member revealed, the casting math is pretty self explanatory.
It could very well be that Lucasfilm hasn’t quite forgotten about Star Wars Day and the character and plot info will be revealed then, but I would think that the upcoming Comic-Con would be a better platform for a reveal like that. Having the entire cast assembled on stage and introducing their characters one by one would certainly send the rabid fans into hyperspace. I should know, I’m one of them.
Until such time though, we’re just going to have to be content with our crazy fan theories and this statement from Abrams:
“We are so excited to finally share the cast of ‘Star Wars: Episode VII.’ It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again. We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud.”
Star Wars: Episode VII is scheduled for release on December 18, 2014.
PS: I just needed to add that if I have one criticism about the casting, it’s the lack of diversity. Star Wars’ massive universe means that any character can be any race or gender, and yet we only have one female and one British-Nigerian. There is supposedly another female role to be announced, rumoured to be the mixed-race granddaughter of Obi-Wan Kenobi, which should up the diversity scale a tad, but there’s still no denying that Lucasfilm dropped the ball on this one. I’m definitely not one to advocate casting made solely based on gender or race just to score those affirmative action points, but there are certainly just as talented actors out there who don’t happen to be white guys.
Last Updated: April 30, 2014