Break out the X-wing glasses and the ’77 Death Star (it’s a good year)!
Instead of waiting until Sunday to drop the much anticipated and speculated-on-news as to who will make up the cast of Episode VII, Lucasfilm paved the way for Star Wars week and instead published the announcement today. I don’t think it is much of a surprise (at least to those who have been keeping up with the news and articles since the movie was first announced) that the main cast of the Original Trilogy has returned: Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Leia Solo), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), and Kenny Baker (R2-D2).
Along with the old, we also have the new:
- John Boyega (Attack the Block): I am very happy to see him involved in the Star Wars franchise. I can’t wait to see how this actor spreads his wings in this space opera.
- Daisy Ridley: Ridley is a rather new actress with her first acting credit coming from 2013. Excluding Carrie Fisher, she is the single female in our Star Wars cast. I hate to say that a lot is riding on her because of that, but with only her holding up the female demographic, a lot is riding on her and the character she’s portraying.
- Adam Driver: His name had been tossed around as playing Dick Grayson in the upcoming Batman vs Superman movie. Driver has appeared in a fair amount of projects since 2009, though Girls is the television series for which he is best known, even if he was in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln two years ago.
- Oscar Isaac: Isaac is a Guatemalan born actor who has been in a variety of works. I personally am not familiar with him, but either way, I am excited to see him on board.
- Domhnall Gleeson: Gleeson played Bill Weasley in the final instalments of the Harry Potter series. If this was the Original Trilogy you could be pretty sure that he would be playing an Imperial Officer. As it stands, I am excited to see what this British actor will be bringing to the table.
- Max Von Sydow: Von Sydow is a well-known actor who has been in numerous movies, primarily portraying villains and antagonistic characters. Along with Gleeson, if there are any of them left for Episode VII, I would guess that he also may be an Imperial Officer. Whoever he is, I’m sure that he will not disappoint.
- Andy Serkis: Now, this is a name among the cast that is very surprising to me, even if he has been appearing in many films in recent years. Considering that he is an actor that is possibly best known due to acting in a mo-cap suit, it’ll be interesting to see if he will once again don the green wear as he once did for The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and Planet of the Apes, or if we will be seeing his actual face on screen. With so many aliens in the Star Wars galaxy, it really could go either way.
Personally, it’s great to finally know the cast. I am very happy that not all of these actors have star power to their name. Some are new or newer, and I feel that is keeping in with the spirit of Star Wars.
I (and I know many others) had wished to see more of a female presence in this cast. Excluding the original cast, we have one female out of six new characters. I had been hoping for there to be two new female faces to a series that is starved for female representation.
Judging by the cast we’ve seen today, it also appears as if the rumors for Obi-Wan Kenobi’s descendant didn’t pan out. I can honestly say that I am disappointed, not just for the fact that we have lost a female character, but a woman of colour at that. My only hope is that she may be a character in Episode VIII or IX, but I would have loved to have seen her from the start.
Another thing the cast list has given us, is a distinct lack of Billy Dee Williams. It’s not that I wish to have the whole OT cast come back for this movie. Honestly, I would have been just has fine to have none of them appear at all, with the possible exception of R2-D2 and C-3PO, but now that we have it completely confirmed that Ford, Fisher and Hamill will be returning, I have to wonder why Billy Dee Williams couldn’t be in the mix.
I know he had a hip replacement and that can slow someone down, but I’m not expecting Harrison Ford, who’s only six years younger than Mr. Williams, to be dashing around and being an action star.
Anyway, despite my hope of representation for people of colour and gender ending in disappointment, the announcement of the cast has me legitimately excited. Ever since the movie was first announced, I have not had very strong feelings about it one way or the other. So far ahead into the future and on top of the fact that the announcement came right on the heels of the cancellation of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the news at the time left me fairly apathetic to this new trilogy.
Having a cast acts as an anchor–something grounding–which makes this movie feel real.
This also brings up the question as to what tidbits Lucasfilm will release on Sunday, if they’ve given us this big news today. Perhaps they’ll share the subtitle to Episode VII? Something related to Rebels or to the games that are so far merely unnamed projects with writers attached? Who knows? Though, I for one am excited to find out.
May the Force be with you.