“Star Wars” logo courtesy Lucasfilm
Tuesday Lucasfilm and Disney announced what Star Wars fans were waiting for… the main cast for the next episode in the Star Wars franchise: “Star Wars: Episode VII”… 5 days before international Star Wars Day (May 4th… ’may fourth be with you’).
WHAT WE KNOW:
Episode 7 is the current working title for the movie, which is supposed to be set 30-35 years after the end of “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” (1983)(Episode 6). It is planned to be the first of three new Star Wars movies… following the children of Luke, Han, and Leia and the next generation of heroes in the Star Wars universe.
The production is being led by Director J.J. Abrams, who ironically brought us the last two Star Trek movies. The script was written by Abrams and “Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back” (1980) screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan. Filming is set to begin in May, but there are rumors that some filming has already started and is supposed to take place in England’s Pinewood Studios and in rumored locations in the Middle East. Star Wars creator George Lucas will act as creative consultant. Academy Award-winning composer John Williams will be back to compose the music for the film.
Disney plans for the movie to hit theaters December 18, 2015… 32 years after “Jedi” blew up the box office. Episode 8 is scheduled for 2017 while Episode 9 is scheduled for 2019. There are also planned spinoff films to release between the main movies, but the character focus of those movies has not yet been announced.
“Star Wars Episode VII” script read courtesy Lucasfilm
The main cast is a mix of new comers: John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow. The only role we know is that Driver (“Girls”) was cast as “the villain”. We do not yet know the name of the character or his affiliation to the force… or the old Empire, Rebellion, etc. The rest of the new-to-Star Wars cast includes some familiar faces: veteran actor Max von Sydow (“Minority Report”, “The Exorcist”), Andy Serkis (“Lord of the Rings” and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”), Oscar Isaac (“Inside Llewyn Davis”), Domhnall Gleeson (“About Time”, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1&2″) and John Boyega (“Attack the Block”). Ridley is a newcomer, just starting her acting career last year in the U.K.
And the returning cast: Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), and Kenny Baker (R2-D2). Notably absent is Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian).
SOME RUMORS AND FACTS ABOUT THE CAST:
The returning cast members range in age from 57-79 years old: Harrison Ford (71) is rumored to play a “gigantic” part in this movie as Han Solo. Carrie Fisher (57) reprises her role as Leia (likely dropping the ‘Princess’ title). Mark Hamill (62) returns as Luke Skywalker, the only known surviving Jedi of the bunch at the end of Episode 6 so he’ll likely mentor the young Jedi in this movie. Peter Mayhew (69) returns as the 7’2″ Chewbacca and best friend of Solo. Anthony Daniels (68) is back as the protocol droid C-3PO, he and Kenny Baker (79) as R2-D2 are the only actors in the credits of all 6 of the Star Wars movies made so far!
John Boyega courtesy IMD
John Boyega is rumored to play a young Jedi (in the script read photo above he is sitting next to Oscar Isaac on the left side of the photo approximately 10 o’clock)
He is 22-years old
Boyega is a British actor born in London
Best known for ”Attack the Block” (2011) and “My Murder” (2012)
Upcoming movie: “Imperial Dreams” (2014) – ironic title, I know!
He is 5’7″
Daisy Ridley courtesy IMDB
Daisy Ridley is rumored to play either a descendant of Obi-Wan Kenobi or Han Solo and Princess Leia’s daughter, Jaina Solo from the Expanded Universe books, however Disney and Lucasfilm recently announced that much of the expanded universe would be dissolved like Palpatine did to the Imperial Senate “the last remnants of the old republic” were “swept away”
(click on the script read photo above to make it bigger – she is sitting between Harrison Ford (Han) and Carrie Fischer (Leia) about 2 o’clock – either a picture is worth a thousand words, or this is an incredible coincidence)
Her actual age is not currently public info, but Ridley’s rep based in London’s official website says the actress’ ‘playing age’ is 16 to 20
She only started acting last year, beginning with guest roles on British TV shows like “Youngers” and “Mr Selfridge” and acting in short films. Her first movie role will be in “Inbetweeners 2″ (August 6 in the UK and Ireland)
Ridley is 5’7″
Adam Driver courtesy IMDB
Adam Driver was announced in February as the main villain of the movie, while we don’t have a name, the one thing we were told is that the character is said to be in the vein of iconic “Star Wars” villain Darth Vader
He is a 30-year old American actor
Since 2012, Driver has portrayed Adam Sackler on the HBO series ‘Girls’, but he has also appeared in several recent movies: “Inside Llewyn Davis” (2013) and “Frances Ha Frances Ha” (2012)
He is 6’3″
(in the script read photo above he is sitting about 11 o’clock looking to his right at Boyega and Isaac)
Oscar Isaac courtesy IMDB
Oscar Isaac is playing an unknown character at this point
He is an 35-year old American actor and singer born in Guatemala, who was raised in Miami, Florida
Last year he received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for his role in “Inside Llewyn Davis” (2013)
Isaac is also known for “Drive” (2011), “Robin Hood” (2010)
He is 5’9″
(in the script read photo above he is sitting about 9 o’clock between Boyega and Serkis, who is wearing glasses and reading the script)
Andy Serkis courtesy IMDB
Andy Serkis is playing an unknown character at this point, but we also don’t know if he’ll be in a suit, acting via motion capture, or showing his face in the movie
He is a 50-year old English film actor, director and author born in London
Serkis is a performance capture veteran best known for playing Gollum in “The Lord of the Rings” movies (2001-2003) and “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” (2012), he also played Caesar in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (2011) through newer motion capture technology
He also appeared on camera in movies such as “Inkheart” (2008), “The Prestige” (2006), “13 Going on 30″ (2004)
He is 5′ 8″
(in the script read photo above he is sitting about 9 o’clock wearing glasses and reading the script, Mark Hamill and Anthony Daniels are to his right)
Domnhall Gleeson courtesy IMDB
Domhnall Gleeson is playing an unknown character at this point
He is a 30-year old an Irish actor, director, and writer from Dublin, Ireland
He is the son of actor Brendan Gleeson
Best known for his roles in “About Time” (2013), “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2″ (2011), “True Grit” (2010), and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1″ (2010)
Gleeson is 6′ 1″
(in the script read photo above he is sitting about 6 o’clock sitting in his own chair with his back to us to the right of Anthony Daniels in the plaid shirt)
Max von Sydow courtesy IMDB
Max von Sydow is playing an unknown character at this point, and he’ll bring some veteran acting credibility to the film just like Alec Guinness and Peter Cushing brought to “Star Wars: A New Hope” (1977)
He is an 85-year old Swedish actor
He has 2 Oscar nominations: Actor in a Leading Role – “Pelle erobreren” (1987) and Actor in a Supporting Role – “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” (2011)
von Sydow has more than 100 acting credits, including: “The Exorcist” (1973), “Minority Report” (2002), ”Shutter Island” (2010), “Robin Hood” (2010), “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” (2011), plus he’s no stranger to Sci-Fi and big budget films: “Flash Gordon” (1980), “Conan the Barbarian” (1982), and “Dune” (1984).
(von Sydow is not pictured in the script read photo above)
There are rumors and anticipation that another big announcement regarding the movie will take place on May 4th, of course known to fans worldwide as Star Wars day… maybe the title? Character names? Additional cast? (Ian McDiarmid and Ewan McGregor are rumored for cameos) More filming locations? We’ll have to wait to see!
The Official Announcement:
STAR WARS: EPISODE VII CAST ANNOUNCED
The Star Wars team is thrilled to announce the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII.
Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in the new film.
Director J.J. Abrams says, “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.”
Photo gallery of the casting announcement: http://interactives.woodtv.com/photomojo/gallery/12018/1/
I met Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) in 2008:
Aaron with Peter Mayhew in Grand Rapids at Celebration! North 12-6-08
And Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) in 2010:
Aaron and Anthony Daniels on the set of eightWest at WOODTV Studios in Grand Rapids 7-13-10
And I got to interview him on eightWest that day (click link to watch)!
So what did you think? Please post a comment! (more…)