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In case you were living under a rock the past day, and that rock doesn’t get Wi-fi, you’ll know that Disney/JJ Abrams announced the new cast for Star Wars Episode VII. While old returning favorites like Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew (Chewie), Anthony Daniels (Threepio) and Kenny Baker (R2) need no introduction, the rest of the cast may.
The young actors in particular are a collection of relative unknowns with only a few major roles to their names, if any. I thought it would be wise to go through the new additions to the cast, see what they’ve done, and even speculate about who they might play. That’s an increasingly difficult task, now that we know the movie is free from the constraints of the Extended Universe.
Here we go:
Isaac is 34, and has a number of roles to his name including ones in films like Robin Hood, Sucker Punch and Drive. Most notably, he was the star of the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis, easily his best part to date, and he showed he was capable of powerful performances and leading roles.
Who Will He Play? – Out of this list, it’s actually quite hard to deduce who is the “Skywalker” type lead. Isaac could be, as he has a fair bit of experience compared to some of the other young actors, and Llewyn Davis was a pretty big test case showing he can carry a film with fantastic acting. I’d say at the very least he’d be in the hero camp, rather than a Sith or Imperial, if I had to guess.
Boyega is British, and was the star of 2011’s rather fantastic Attack the Block, the alien invasion comedy where he led a group of street kids in a fight against interstellar invaders. He’s one of the most out of nowhere picks, but anyone who has seen Attack the Block knows he’s a good actor and something of a badass. Boyega also appears in this summer’s 24: Live Another Day miniseries set in London.
Who Will He Play? – Honestly, I’m pulling for Boyega to be the lead out of all these actors. It would just seem too…typical for him to be a sidekick, though I suppose if he’s a Han Solo level of supporting character in terms of character importance and screen time, that would probably be alright. I absolutely think he’ll be a hero, and I’d even guess Jedi. Just don’t make him related to Mace Windu or Lando, please.
Far and away the person I know the least about on this list, in a casting sheet full of big breaks for young actors, this might be the biggest. Ridley has done nothing I’ve seen, but I’ve been told she was good in Mr. Selfridge. She’s also British, like many others in the new cast, because we know that in space, everyone has British accents.
Who Will She Play? – My money’s on a child of Han and Leia, just from looking at her. I don’t know if they’ll still be doing the Solo twins from the EU, but with the recent announcements, I doubt it. If she’s Leia’s daughter, does that mean she’ll be a Jedi? And as the only girl cast (weak), I have to imagine she’s a love interest for someone here.
Gleeson is Irish, and yes, he’s an red-haired actor with an accent, meaning yes, he was a Weasley in the Harry Potter movies. Bill Weasley, the eldest, to be specific, who didn’t have all that much screen time. More recently, Gleeson was in the rather good time-traveling romantic dramedy, In Time, which was far better than I would have imagined, and he performed quite well in it. He’s also had small parts in True Grit and Dredd.
Who Will He Play? – Luke’s son? Looking at him, it’s not entirely outside the realm of possibility that could be the case, though he could be an entirely new character separate from the family trees of the original cast. I’d guess hero/Jedi for him, and there’s a chance he could even be the lead of the whole film himself.
This is one pick I still can’t quite wrap my head around. I only know what I’ve seen from Driver’s work on a few seasons of Girls, and a brief role opposite Oscar Isaac in Llewyn Davis. He’s certainly intense and good in those parts, but even as he’s been rumored to be attached to Star Wars for weeks now, it’s remained hard to picture him in this cast. Not to say he isn’t talented, it’s just that his roles I’ve seen have felt very far away from him landing a part like this. But I hope he does great.
Who Will He Play? – Running theory here is a Sith/Imperial. Perhaps a young Sith apprentice to hunt down most of the other cast seen here. He just doesn’t come across as the type who would land on the light side of the force, so I’m going to with “Darth Something” for him.
and Max von Sydow
These are the two elder statesmen of the new cast, and though I don’t think they need the same kind of introduction, I’m excited both are a part of the project, as both have long, storied film careers, particularly von Sydow who is still acting at 85(!) The idea is obviously that Serkis will be the physical body behind a CGI mo-cap alien, and Sydow will be an Imperial or Sith, and probably the arch bad guy of the entire film. Both are great additions to the cast.