There wasn’t a ton of Star Wars news out of the Disney earnings call today, but Bob Iger did confirm that not only they start filming in May, but that Episode VII will start about 30 years after Return of the Jedi. It will feature “a trio of new leads” and “several familiar faces.” For now, R2-D2 remains the only confirmed cast member.
And here it is from StarWars.com.
Hasbro design director has been to the Episode VII set. Steve Evans made a few tweets from Pinewood, met J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy and Lawrence Kasdan, plus “someone in the bathroom” we’ll “know soon enough”
Latino Review is reporting that Lupita Nyong’o, fresh off an Oscar win for 12 Years a Slave, is “extremely close to signing” on to Episode VII. (And, honestly, when folks were first teasing the Judi Dench rumor as someone on the awards circuit, my first thought was ‘Lupita!’)
The part “doesn’t seem to be tied into the family lines” from the previous films and may be a Sith. We had heard in previous rumors that one of the female roles might be for a villain.
There’s no doubt that Nyong’o is talented, and she’d be a lucky addition to any cast. But, per usual, it’s only a rumor.
UPDATE: I had just barely posted this when The Hollywood Reporter came out backing it (more or less.) This rumor just got a lot more legit…
Four Episode VII contenders, per Variety: Ed Speleers, John Boyega, Jesse Plemons, and Matthew James Thomas
Variety today reports that Ed Speleers (Downton Abbey, Eragon) John Boyega (Attack the Block,) and theater actors Matthew James Thomas and Ray Fisher are in contention for a lead role in Episode VII. The earlier rumored Jesse Plemons was sort of confirmed to be up for something by J.J. Abrams. UPDATE: Apparently Abrams visited the Downton set last year. As a fan, or on a scouting mission?
Ray Fisher played Muhammad Ali in the play ‘Fetch Clay, Make Man’ at the New York Theater Workshop last year.
Variety says the character is a Jedi apprentice, and they go on to say:
Sources also indicate the reason for the delay has to do whether execs and creatives want someone of a different ethnicity from the previous Caucasian leads. Abrams has said on numerous occasions that he wants to have a diversified cast, which is why actors like David Oyewolo and Michael B. Jordan tested early on.
…Yay? Of course fans have already jumped on this character being a possible (biracial? adopted?) Skywalker, which would probably warrant more discussion than an unrelated apprentice.
While it’s nice to have some names, it’s hard to really get excited about any of these folks yet. (Particularly Speleers, the only one I’ve actually seen act, because… Eragon. I said back then that he looked like “the unnatural offspring of Hayden Christenson and Mark Hamill.” Not exactly the ‘I called it’ that I’m hoping for.) I admit I’m hoping that Episode VII will have a female lead – and it’s been a while since we’ve heard anything on that front from the trades. Sigh.
Variety is reporting that Girls’ Adam Driver is “close to signing on” to play Episode VII’s villian. He’s their “top choice to play the main villain.” Driver’s name first came up for Episode VII from the Hollywood Reporter earlier this year, along with Michael Fassbender and Hugo Weaving. Today, they also have a source saying Driver is nearing a deal.
Driver has never been someone I’d expect to come up, which is a good thing. And, nothing against Fassbender and Weaving, but he’s a fairly fresh face who’s not attached to any other genre franchises. If this turns out to be the case – and as trades, both Variety and the Hollywood Reporter are as trustworthy as you can expect when it comes to rumors – I think this may be a good sign for the rest of the non-alumni casting.
It’s still a rumor, however, until Lucasfilm says so!
UPDATE #1: Lena Dunham, the executive producer/writer/star of Girls, who would almost certainly have to know if scheduling issues were a factor as Variety claims, tweeted…
Of course, she ‘retracted’ a few minutes later, but there you go:
UPDATE #2: Entertainment Weekly also has “sources close to the actor” who say “he is indeed close to being confirmed” for a Star Wars role.
MarketSaw is far from the top tier in rumormongering, but we haven’t heard much else lately… For the most part, this is all well-worn ground and things we’ve seen in multiple rumors before. Even what’s not direct regurgitation here is still pretty familiar:
Ultimately it’s about twins, and which will take a path towards darkness and which will follow in their fathers footsteps, or at least that is what it used to be, that may come later as I think changes are being undertaken to bring the original cast into the forefront of the story leading to ramifications that lead up to the next generation of Skywalkers.”
As for casting. they’re saying that in addition to all-but-certain returnees (Hamill, Fisher, Ford, Daniels) and not-that surprising alumni (Billy Dee Williams, Warwick “Davies,” erm Davis?) they’re repeating the Ian McDiarmid rumor from August. They’re also claiming that the much-rumored Benedict Cumberbatch and Gary Oldman were up for the same part… But they are “both involved.”
And it apparently took two Indiana Jones movies to get Ford on Episode VII now.
These are, again, pretty sketchy even for random rumors, so don’t take anything too much to heart.
Here’s a quick drive-by for the evening: Bleeding Cool says they’ve heard that Episode VII’s female lead has been cast, and she’ll be “the big news” regarding casting, “though folk might not realise it until after they see the film.” This is tacked on in their item about Jack Reynor, though, so take it as you will.
Whatever the case, as Making Star Wars points out, things do have to be motion fairly soon if they’re going to start shooting in May. It’s a good bet the whos are already picked or close to it: The only thing really in question is when they’re going to (or can) share the news with us.
And here’s another from Den of Geek this morning, which at the very least seems/feels slightly more probable than the last one. They report that there’s been a clampdown on the Pinewood prop shop, but that the modelmakers are working on a Millennium Falcon (as frequently reported and possibly proved) and lightsaber hilts. The modelmakers also supposedly have seven-year contracts covering the new trilogy and three spin-offs.
They’re also reporting that the planning office has a listing for an Indiana Jones 5, which wouldn’t be all that surprising giving Disney and Paramount’s announcement regarding the franchise in December.
At AICN, buried under Harry Knowles’ thoughts on last week’s concept art, he claims to have heard that Irish actor Jack Reynor has a role in Episode VII. Reynor will be seen in Transformers: Age of Extinction, but we’ll try not to hold that against him if this turns out to be true: Actors gotta eat.
Taking a weirder turn is Den of Geek‘s report that the role of Princess Leia may be open, which seems odd. Is Carrie Fisher really not returning, is it a red herring, or did someone mishear something along the line? I know which one gets my vote…
Toy Fair. Jedi Temple Archives reports (a bit hyperbolically) that Lucasfilm has told Hasbro that the Expanded Universe is off limits, save for a few figures that were already in the pipeline.
I think this makes sense. We’ve never gotten all that much EU from Hasbro to begin with, and at this point any EU figure is going to be pounced on by fans as some sort of “proof” for Episode VII. They’re cutting back on prequel-era figures as well, to focus on the OT – with a heavy focus on Return of the Jedi as we approach the new films – and Rebels.
Rebels. Is Brent Spiner voicing a character? This tweet from Gallifrey One, a con held in Los Angeles this weekend, leads us to believe so… The actor, who played Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation, has worked with Rebels’ Greg Weisman before – they were on a Young Justice panel at the con. (He voiced The Joker on the show.) He was also one of several TNG actors who did voices on Weisman’s Gargoyles. And we’ve had Trek crossover before: George Takei voiced General Lok Durd on The Clone Wars.
Episode VII. Tom Hiddleston and Alex Pettyfer talk their Star Wars chances. (Both unlikely, if for very different reasons) while an Irish unknown, Daryl McCormack, talks about getting far on in the audition process.