Star Wars Day Pop-Ed: The Episode VII Cast

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With the OFFICIAL, yes, OFFICIAL casting announcement of Star Wars: Episode VII, due out December 18th, 2015, shit just got real. Not that I thought this movie wasn’t happening or anything, but to see the cast actually sit down to do a table read of Star Wars: Episode VII, it got us one massive step closer to this film becoming a reality. I can’t even begin to comprehend what this movie is going to be. I know many are making ignorant assumptions that this person is Leia’s daughter, and this guy could be Luke’s son, yadda, yadda, yadda. Before we get into the casting, I want to make one thing very clear about this film. When you read future articles about Star Wars: Episode VII, please remember the following statement:

THE EXPANDED UNIVERSE WILL HAVE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THESE MOVIES. GET OVER IT. GET OVER IT. GET OVER IT. THIS STORY WILL BE COMPLETELY UNKNOWN MATERIAL, WITH COMPLETELY ORIGINAL CHARACTERS. STOP MAKING ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT THE CAST BEING FROM THE EXPANDED UNIVERSE. MAX VON SYDOW IS NOT GRAND ADMIRAL THRAWN. DAISY RIDLEY IS NOT JAINA SOLO. STOP!

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Okay, now that we have that out of our system, onto the cast. All in all, I’m over the moon about this news. I love that it’s unknowns, and not yet famous up and comers. That’s how it should be. Add that to J.J. Abrams’ superb casting history, and we can all agree something special is in the works. But enough dancing, let’s break it down – our core cast for Star Wars: Episode VII:

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Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker

Yes, we knew these guys would all be back since this whole shebang got announced, but to see them sitting there together, it’s a sigh of relief. I want these new Star Wars films to shift the focus onto new characters, but I think we need one more movie with the big three as the center piece. If they just had cameos, or weren’t in it at all, this whole thing would just feel like a reboot. We need a strong connective tissue that let’s us know we are continuing the story from when we last saw these guys in Return of the Jedi. Do I think they’ll all die in Episode VII? Probably. Although, Luke Skywalker is the wild card, in that he can always return as a force ghost. No matter what happens, if I may steal a hockey term for a moment, I am beyond thrilled “the original six” will be back for one last ride into the sunset of Tatooine.

Sorry, Billy Dee…

The one notable name absent from this list was of course Admiral Ackbar. No, no, it’s Lando Calrissian. While he could definitely still be announced later on, Billy Dee Williams as Lando probably isn’t popping up in Episode VII. I like Lando fine and all, but if the story doesn’t call for him to be in it, then so be it. Plus, I feel like Billy Dee Williams would let slip some major plot point on a talk show or something, which would send J.J. Abrams into a kinipshit.

The Unknowns

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John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Domhnall Gleeson

No, I haven’t seen Attack the Block, and I never will. Leave me alone. I know it’s a movie that won’t be up my alley, but people seemed to love Boyega. I have no clue who he is, but if it’s a name that gets people excited, I can live with that. Domhnall Gleeson has popped up here and there in a few roles, including in Dredd, and as the oldest Weasley brother in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. His biggest role was in last year’s About Time, and I’ve read nothing but praise for the guy. That’s a movie I probably will check out. The other name here that truly personifies the term “unknown” is Daisy Ridley. If you look at her IMDB, it’s a ghost town. This makes me happy, because it shows J.J. Abrams and company really dug deep, and left no stone unturned in searching for the perfect cast. Even though I just ranted and raved about making assumptions to who these people are playing, I do believe Ridley will end up being the offspring of Leia. All I’m saying is her name won’t be Jaina Solo, and she’ll have absolutely nothing in common with that character, other than having the same mom, and maybe the same dad. Again, we don’t know anything – stop making obnoxious assumptions.

The One I’m Weary About

Adam Driver

We already knew Driver was officially casted a while ago as an unknown villain, and we even wrote about it in a previous Casting Couch. While Driver had a nice role in Inside Llewyn Davis, we haven’t seen much. I admit that my hesitation on Driver being included is solely because of his association with the TV show Girls, and I admit that’s being incredibly unfair. While I haven’t watched too much Girls, I’ve seen bits and pieces, and he’s just not very good in that particular show. Again though, it’s J.J. Abrams, and I’m sure he sees something I don’t, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

P.S. No, I haven’t seen Frances Ha.

The Names That Made Me Cheer

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Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Max von Sydow

Now that’s what I’m talking about. Those are some names. These guys will fit Star Wars like a glove, and all for different reasons. Isaac was fantastic as the lead in Inside Llewyn Davis, and in any other year, he would have been nominated for an Oscar. I’ve liked this guy since 2011 when he was in Drive, a DVD I sleep with every night. This guy is pure talent.

My mouth dropped when I saw Andy Serkis’ name. With all the 985 different rumors going on, how was this guy never mentioned? Don’t we all feel like idiots though? Serkis and Star Wars go together like Uncle Jesse and Elvis. I’m sure he’ll be doing his MoCap thing, but you never know. He could be a human character. If he is donning the MoCap though, I’m pretty sure it won’t be Jar Jar’s twin brother Lar Lar Binks, who I’m sure George Lucas is pushing for.

Aside from the original cast, the name that got me the most excited, even more so than Serkis, was Max von Sydow. That’s just outstanding casting. Max von Sydow is going to be in a Star Wars movie. This guy has done everything from Pelle the Conqueror to The Adventures of Bob & Doug McKenzie: Strange Brew.Sydow screams “Sith Lord,” but again, don’t make assumptions. Maybe the Sith aren’t even in this movie. WE DON’T KNOW ANYTHING. Whoever he’s playing though, his involvement with all these other great actors is good enough for me.

“This will be a day long remembered.”

It’s an exciting time to be a Star Wars fan. With the cast now firmly in place, the movie becomes more and more tangible everyday. There’s a script, and the actors have read it. As I mentioned at the top, please be careful when reading the rumors and opinions on this film. Forget who you think certain actors are going to be, forget what you think Luke’s role will be, and don’t get attached to any ideas or theories you might have. Also, don’t freak out if the next eight months go by, and we have literally no Star Wars news at all. I’m not saying we can’t speculate and have fun discussions, but for once, as a film community, let’s just be patient, and see what these guys have in store. We’ll know all the answers on December 18th, 2015. We don’t need a plot synopsis and all the character names today. There’s a long, long, time to go.

Daniel Cohen is the hard-boiled Film Editor for the Pop Break. Besides reviews, Daniel writes box office predictions, Gotham reviews and Oscar coverage. He can also be found on the Breakcast. If Daniel was sprayed by Scarecrow's fear toxin, it would be watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a non-stop loop.

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