Star Wars Episode VII: Return of a Jedi
As the opening credits roll and the horns sound, children and adults alike, of past and present generations, are transported to a galaxy far, far away. The Star Wars franchise, like the light of a radiant star amidst the night sky, never seems to fade regardless of it’s presence on the Big Screen. The original Star Wars Trilogy spawned brief television shows and a trilogy of prequels. The Star Wars Prequels birthed the fairly long running and (acclaimed) Star Wars: The Clone Wars series. Hundreds, maybe even thousands of novels based in and around the universe clutter library shelves. Even comic books and video games have been on the scene since the creation of this fantasy universe. And now, after three decades of waiting, fans the world over can discover what happened after Han, Luke, and Leia after the party on the forest moon of Endor.
Star Wars: Episode VII is set to come out December 18, 2015 and though most information surrounding the film is more closely guarded than Jabba the Hutt’s palace, a few details are beginning to emerge. First and foremost, this is a “new” Star Wars tale, as in not tying into the books and other post Return of the Jedi lore. Prior to Disney’s acquisition of the license, the books and other fiction released were considered to be canon, or officially recognized stories, in the fictitious universe; no longer, as Disney and Abrams have their own story to tell for the official series.
This week was huge for Episode VII as a few details and a premiere casting list were released, allowing for slight peak into the world awaiting moviegoers at the end of next year. Get ready for those smuggler smirks and awkward brother/sister moments as Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford reprise their roles as Luke, Leia, and Han. Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker also return as C-3PO, Chewbacca, and R2-D2. This is rather exciting for fans but begs the question: aren’t they a bit old now? Fear not, savvy stormtroopers! This week it was also announced that the film will be taking place approximately thirty years after Return of the Jedi. Will the aged actors be able to conjure up those characters of old? Here’s hoping!
New faces were abound from the casting room from unknowns to legends, with no titles attached. Adam Driver, known from the HBO series Girls and the movie Lincoln” has been cast as a possible villain. Will he be a new Sith? An officer from the broken Empire? An off-world slaver with a taste for contraband? Only time will tell.
The motion capture superstar, Andy Serkis, was named and applauded. Serkis is most greatly known for his role as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films, but also played characters such as King Kong in Peter Jackson’s remake and Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Recently he was brought into The Avengers 2: Age of Ultron to help with the CG character of the Hulk. He has proven himself as a voice actor beyond Gollum in The Adventures of Tin Tin and as a live actor in numerous films and television episodes. The Star Wars universe could not ask for a better motion-capture artist, but this begs the question: Who, or WHAT, will he be?
Actor Domhall Gleeson who played in two Harry Potter films as Bill Weasly, True Grit, and Dredd.
A fairly new face is that of John Boyega. Sound familiar? Probably not. He is best known for his role in the recent film Attack the Block a British sci-fi/horror/comedy. (It is a different sort of movie, but he most definitely displays his acting prowess as the main anit-protagonist.) Boyega was also recently announced in the new Jack Bauer 24 series. His role is, you guessed it, unannounced.
So I’ve saved the best two for last. One complete newcomer and one film legend in every respect for the word. The first is a young lady named Daisy Ridley. This will be Miss Ridley’s first blockbuster and true debut. She has had a minor television role and a part in a currently unreleased horror film named Scrawl. The interesting feature Ridley seems so possess is a face similar to actress Natalie Portman, who played Padme Amidala, Princess Leia Organa’s mother. Why this is important is in much of the already established post- Episode VI lore, Han and Leia had two very important jedi twins, a boy and a girl. Could Daisy Ridley be playing a Skywalker/Solo offspring? I would venture to guess Skywalker in the least.
Lastly is the screen great Max von Sydow. Perhaps you recognize the name, perhaps you do not. If not, his face is one that is almost instantly recognizable, with over have a century career in the film industry and over one hundred and fifty accreditations in film, television, and video games. Just a fewhas played in are Robin Hood, The Tudors, Skyrim, Dune, Conan the Barbarian, The Seventh Seal, The Exorcist, Shutter Island, Minority Report, and many many more. Oftentimes Sydow is seen portraying a villain, but can play the heroic wiseman or sage archetype as well. It will be interesting to discover whether he will be Emperor Palpatine’s replacement or a character less dark and sinister.
To round out this mostly cast related information extravaganza, Disney and Lucasfilm launched a new line of interactive story books for iOS devices. The first book is Episode I: The Phantom Menace, which is to be followed by each of the succeeding movies in preparation for Episode VII’s release. Each app will supposedly have a featured game attached, Pod Racing being the obviously choice for their first attempt, with daily races attached. The app is currently Apple only without any information concerning the possibility of later devices.