Lainey’s all over Oscar Isaac, which means I get to be all over everyone else (phrasing). Star Wars Episode VII has announced its cast—the official, no bullsh*t cast—which means that they win the internet today. And it’s an interesting group. Really, very genuinely interesting and promising. I’ve been trying not to get my hopes up re: Episode VII because the prequels pretty much crushed my will to live when it comes to Star Wars, but this cast…
It’s a good mix of old and new. Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are back. Peter Mayhew will return as Chewbacca, as well as Anthony Daniels as C-3PO and Kenny Baker as R2-D2. And then the newbies—besides Isaac there’s Adam Driver (which we knew), Attack the Block’s John Boyega (very exciting—he made a big impression with that movie), Domnhall Gleeson (been good in everything I’ve seen him in), Andy Serkis (mo-cap aside, he’s a decent actor), Max von Sydow (who has always sounded like Star Wars villain to me) and relative newcomer, British actress Daisy Ridley.
Of course, this being JJ Abrams, there must be SECRETY SECRETS. And so far, everything else about this production is under wraps. A new rumor suggests that Han Solo will have a lot to do, but there are no real details available beyond finally having the official cast. It’s not even that easy to make assumptions. I could see Gleeson or Isaac going the “snarky anti-hero” route a la Han’s role in the original trilogy, and Ridley looks very much in the Carrie Fisher/Natalie Portman vein so maybe she’s Han and Leia’s daughter? Could we see Han and Leia’s fabled twins in Episode VII? I hope so, but Abrams declared intent to stick to the canon established by the movies and the Solo twins are from Star Wars novels. But…she looks like Leia. Bring on Jaina Solo!
And what is Andy Serkis doing? Presumably they’ve hired him for some bullsh*t mo-cap waste of time and money, but he really can act without all the bells and whistles. Is it too much to hope that Abrams avoids the pitfalls George Lucas never could and doesn’t feature a CG character? We’ve reached a point with SFX where it’s increasingly beautiful and refreshing to watch well-realized practical effects in place of CGI monstrosities. Abrams hit a good mix of the practical and CG in Super 8—please let him do the same here.
But, no. I am not getting my hopes up. It’s a good looking cast with a lot of talent and even though the idea of Old Han Solo scares me, there’s much to be mined by going 30 years into Star Wars’ future and seeing what happened to Luke, Leia and Han. I’m just not putting too much stock in the possibilities. Not yet. Maybe not ever. Because the last time I got excited about new Star Wars, they talked about f*cking sand. NEVER FORGET.