‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ Cast Announced: Get to Know the Stars
When Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith premiered, many thought it would be the end of the Star Wars film franchise. However, after Disney bought up the franchise and announced that more movies would be coming out, with the first slated for December 2015, all that was left to wonder was how the films would be approached and who would be in them.
Though it’s still mostly unclear what the plot of the films will be, how complete the destruction of the Empire will be, and who the films will follow, it has been revealed who will be playing some of the main characters. Though the line-up is far from complete, it does include some big names from previous installments in the franchise, as well as some new names who are sure to take key spots in the films. So, here they are:
That’s right, Harrison Ford will be back in at least Episode VII, and with any luck maybe the other two as well. After having gone on to be one of the most successful actors to come out of the original trilogy, Ford’s acting chops aren’t going to be a major concern going into the future Star Wars films. He hasn’t strayed too far from the adventure genre with the Indiana Jones franchise and the more recent Cowboys & Aliens film. And he’s even refamiliarized himself with an important military role in space as Colonel Graff in last year’s Ender’s Game.
It’s difficult to guess at what Ford’s role will entail apart from just being Han Solo. Because the film takes place thirty years after the end of the original trilogy, almost anything could be happening. While some Star Wars storylines involve finishing off remnant forces after the defeat of the empire, that may not be the approach the filmmakers take. While we last saw him as a general for the Rebel Alliance, the defeat of the empire would suggest the end of the Rebels as well.
How could Star Wars continue on past the original trilogy without the only known Jedi left alive in the known universe? The answer: it probably couldn’t. And it won’t have to, because it’s clear now that Mark Hamill will be back as Luke Skywalker. Though Hamill’s career after the original trilogy may not have been as visible as Ford’s, it was definitely audible. Hamill has done voice acting for numerous cartoons, computer animated features, and video games. One of his most renowned voice roles has been as The Joker in various Batman cartoons and video games.
With thirty years past, we can expect to see Hamill as an older Skylerwalker likely continuing to perfect his Jedi mastery while training new learners in the ways of the force. Occasional offshoots of the series in either video games, books, or comics have shown Luke running a Jedi academy, and that seems like a likely direction for the future films to go, at least as a starting point.
Fisher has had a dwindling presence in Hollywood since the completion of the original trilogy. Though she’s appeared in many shows and movies since the Return of the Jedi premiered in 1983, she hasn’t had any roles that could be considered as prominent or in as big of a feature. Curiously enough, both she and Hamill appeared in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, the raunchy comedy by Kevin Smith, whose admiration of the Star Wars franchise is apparent in many of his works.
Assuming all went well with their romance after the fall of the empire, we can expect to see Fisher back as Leia happily married to Han Solo. As was hinted at in Return of the Jedi, she might even have a bit of the force flowing through her that Luke may have taught her to use by this point in time. It’s also possible her and Han’s three children — Jaina, Jacen, and Anakin — will make an appearance, unless they get written out of canon.
Mayhew has not been as active as some of his fellow stars from the original trilogy, and that is perhaps because his on-set character did nothing to make him recognizable off set. If you didn’t know or hadn’t guessed, Mayhew played the lumbering wookie Chewbacca in the original trilogy as well as Revenge of the Sith, and it’s now confirmed that he’ll be back in the wookie costume for Episode VII.
Through the original trilogy, we never learned a whole lot about Chewbacca other than that he didn’t like imperials, and he really cared about his compatriots (remember the way he wailed when he found a disassembled C-3PO?). In Revenge of the Sith it was clear that he had once held a position of military significance on a wookie planet, but later become a smuggler with Han Solo. It’s hard to say what he’ll be now in the post-empire universe, especially if Han is no longer a smuggler.
Continuing the round-up of returning cast, Daniels will be back as the shiny, golden protocol droid, C-3PO. Daniels has kept pretty busy since his role in the original trilogy. Interestingly enough, a significant portion of what he’s kept busy with has been Star Wars-related. He has been voicing C-3PO left and right for years, so it’s no wonder he’ll be reprising the role in the upcoming film. And odds are he’ll be getting into more trouble with his little friend, R2-D2.
Though Baker wasn’t pictured with the other actors during the script read-through, that was probably just because R2-D2 tends not to have much in the way of lines. However, the trash-can droid was pictured in a box behind Harrison Ford. Outside of the Star Wars franchise, Baker has not held very significant roles in big films, but as R2-D2, he has played one of the most consistent characters of the franchise. We can expect plenty more R2-D2 and C-3PO antics in the future.
Perhaps one of the most interesting and exciting additions to the Episode VII cast is Andy Serkis. Though Serkis has been in plenty of projects, his claim to fame is definitely in a sinister role in another fantastic trilogy, Lord of the Rings. In that trilogy he played Gollum, the vicious little hobbit that was overcome by the ring, decaying into madness and a grotesque form. Considering Serkis’s talent for creating computer-generated characters through motion capture, it seems likely that he’ll be responsible for a memorable new character in the Star Wars franchise.
Among some of the biggest rumors about Episode VII’s casting was the Adam Driver would be playing the lead villain in the film. Though Driver’s career hasn’t shown him to be much of a villainous character, with his best-known role likely in the comedy series Girls, that doesn’t mean he won’t be able to fit the part. He is a background in the U.S. Marines to lend him a hand in creating an intimidating character, and he has a lot more experience on screen and plenty more lines of dialogue behind his back compared to Ray Park, who managed to create a pretty intimidating villain with Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace.
Ridley is a bit of a curiosity compared to some of the other actors lined up for the film. She has very few credits to her name, and even fewer for the silver screen. Because her background is limited, it’s hard to guess at what role she might fill in the upcoming film. She is on the young side, so a potential slot for her may be as one of the children of Han and Leia, who could become the franchise’s new lead characters.
Dublin-born Domhnall Gleeson has a nice background of film roles, including the heroic role of Bill Weasley in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 & Part 2. He’s also had a less brave role as a cowering and tortured techie in 2012′s Dredd. Both films should have helped prepare him for the sci-fi universe of Star Wars. Though he’s also among the young crowd, his fair complexion and orange hair might rule him out as being another potential child of the Solo family — though that’s nothing a little make-up couldn’t change.
This won’t be the first time Oscar Isaac appears alongside Adam Driver. He played Llewyn Davis in the film Inside Llewyn Davis, which included Driver. He also has a solid set of silver screen roles behind him. In 2010′s Robin Hood, he played the King John, who wasn’t known for being a nice guy. And in 2011′s Sucker Punch he plays the sadistic warden of a mental health facility, as well as the equally sadistic owner of a half-club half-brothel venue. Though his more recent role in Inside Llewyn Davis doesn’t suggest that he’ll be a villain, his acting career makes it a distinct possibility.
If experience fighting vicious aliens were a pre-requisite for being cast in Episode VII, John Boyega would have have that box checked. In 2011′s Attack the Block, Boyega played Moses, a young trouble maker who had to straighten out and brave up to face a horde of aliens that were attack his turf. He’ll prove even more experience as a hard young man who straightened out in this year’s Imperial Dreams. His silver screen background suggests he could go either way, either as a character a bit more like Han Solo, or as one who has stayed bad.
Max von Sydow
Though not among the young cast members, Max von Sydow will also be appearing as a new member of the Episode VII line up. Of the new cast members, he has one of most extensive backgrounds in film. He played Father Merrin in The Exorcist, and has seen his share of sci-fi adventure as the evil Emperor Ming in Flash Gordon, also appearing in Dune. He also appeared alongside Oscar Isaac in Robin Hood. Though he could play a nice old man, he could just as easily play a villain.
As this current line-up of cast members is still quite small, and mostly filled with familiar names, it’s very likely that more members will be joining the list, and could give further hints at what roles everyone will be filling. Keep an eye out, and may the force be with you.
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