On April 29, 2014, word of the new “Star Wars Episode 7” cast sent fans scrambling to learn more about the new cast members. The film will be directed by JJ Abrams and co-written by George Lucas, Michael Arndt and Abrams. The original characters of Luke, Leia and Han Solo will return, but the story will also follow the exploits of their children. Here’s what we know so far about the film.
Star Wars actors return
The storyline in Episode 7 takes place thirty years after the Battle of Endor where Episode 6 ended. The characters of Luke, Leia and Han Solo will be played by the actors who originated them: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford. Also returning are Anthony Daniels as C3PO, Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca and Kenny Baker as R2D2. John Williams will return to create the musical score for the film.
Director Abrams brings a wealth of experience to the project. His previous films include “Star Trek Into Darkness” and “Super 8.” According to some reports, filming has already begun in England.
In an April 30, 2014, article for the New York Daily News, “’Star Wars: Episode VII’: Meet John Boyega and the rest of the new additions to the cast,” Ethan Sacks introduced the newer members of the cast.
The new cast members will be played by:
- John Boyega, who starred in “Attack the Block”
- Domhnall Gleeson, who is most recognized as Ron Weasley’s older brother in the “Harry Potter” movies
- Daisy Ridley, who is yet unknown to U.S. audiences is rumored to be playing the daughter of Han and Leia
- Adam Driver, most recently known for his role in the HBO series “Girls”
- Oscar Isaac, whose previous roles include “Body of Lies” and “Sucker Punch”
Also slated for a role in the film is veteran actor Max von Sydow who has often played villains in movies such as Minority Report, Rush Hour 3 and most famously as Ming the Merciless in “Flash Gordon.” Will he once again bring evil and villainy to the screen?
Star Wars Expanded Universe
Die-hard Star Wars fans filled the long wait between films by reading the body of literature that became known as the Expanded Universe. Novels such as Timothy Zahn’s trilogy, which began with the bestseller “Heir to the Empire” evolved new characters and story lines.
Will any of these characters find their way into Episode 7? Doubtful. In an April 25, 2014, post for Mashable.com, “Star Wars Rewrites History: Books, Comics No Longer Official,” Chris Taylor broke the news about the fate of the Expanded Universe.
“Lucasfilm has announced that all of the books and comics that filled the empty space in the Skywalker story after Return of the Jedi in 1983, hundreds of titles collectively known as the Expanded Universe, will no longer play any part in the official Star Wars canon — and they won’t stand as precursors to the upcoming movies,” Taylor reported.
This is bound to be a disappointment to the many fans who invested themselves in the variety of characters that included woman warrior Jedi Mara Jade and Imperial villains like Grand Admiral Thrawn.
Why would Disney, who now owns LucasFilms, decide to ignore such popular lore in its continuing trilogy?
In an April 29, 2014, post for Koaku.com, “Star Wars Lore Is Changing–Here’s What That Means,” Phil Owen explained the relationship between the Expanded Universe and the film series.
According to Owen, the many spin-off novels in the Expanded Universe often had few ties to each other as far as timeline and continuity were concerned.
“Even after LucasFilm took firm control over the direction of the Expanded Universe in the late ’90s, they kept the old stuff as canon and so retcon after retcon continued. With this statement, they give themselves the right to disregard things from the past instead of adapting them, and with new movies on the way the post-Jedi continuity was far too dense to navigate,” Owen stated.
Despite the loss of the Expanded Universe, fans will no doubt wait breathlessly for the film’s debut in December 2015. Until then, may the force be with you.
Who’s your favorite Star Wars character from the books or from the films? Tell us in the comments.