Sunday 4 May 2014

Laugh it up, Fuzzball! #2 - Thoughts on the Episode VII Cast

It's May the Fourth - how could I not write something about Star Wars?

Okay, so as you may or may not have heard, JJ Abrams and Lucasfilm last week announced who will be appearing in Star Wars: Episode VII. The reveal was a pretty big deal for fans such as myself, so I figured May the Fourth, a.k.a Star Wars Day would be great time to sit back and give my thoughts on the cast, both new and old. Cue ramblings!

Due to start filming soonish, Episode VII hits cinemas in December 2015. Last week, news hit the interwebs that a whole host of returning favourites and new faces will make up the (pretty sizeable) ensemble cast. So, the big question is, who did they announce? And where does that lead the new film?

The Original Cast

Well, first off, let's talk about who is returning to a galaxy far far away. It shouldn't come as much of a surprise, but last week's reveal has now confirmed that the original trio of Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) and Harrison Ford (Han Solo) will be appearing the Episode VII. Also reappearing will be Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Anthony Daniels (Threepio) and Kenny Baker (Artoo).

My initial thoughts were both positive and negative; like I said last year, I can see why bringing back the original cast is a great idea. The only thing is, it needs to not dominate the narrative. We've already had Luke, Han and Leia's story - let them be a part of the narrative without taking a role that sidelines others. This is the start of a new chapter, and a new era. For what it's worth, I'm glad the original trio have decided to return - I just hope it is handled properly.

New Faces

From left to right; Boyega, Ridley, Driver and Isaac.
This was the big news of course; who would be the young cast joining the series alongside the original one?

Well, as you probably know by now, the cast looks something like this; John Boyega (Attack the Block), Adam Driver (Lincoln), Oscar Issac (Inside Llewyn Davis), Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings), Domhnall Gleeson (About Time), Daisy Ridley (The Inbetweeners Movie 2) and Max von Sydow (The Exorcist, Robin Hood).

Aside from Serkis, von Sydow and possibly Issac, a lot of these actors are still little known personalities. Gleeson took the lead in Richard Curtis' wonderful Brit rom-com About Time last year, whilst John Boyega was the breakout star of Attack the Block. Adam Driver is making a name for himself on HBO series Girls, as well as roles in Tracks and Frances Ha.

The name that stood out to me at first was Andy Serkis - his amazing mo-cap work in The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit and Rise of the Planet of the Apes has made the method what it is; surely, without Serkis, mo-cap would not be as big (or recognised) as it is today. His work on Star Wars will no doubt continue in that vein, with the extensive galaxy offering endless opportunity for all sorts of aliens and creatures for Serkis to inhabit.

Next up was Gleeson; a fairly small name outside of the UK I suspect, Gleeson is best known for his work in Harry Potter (as Bill Weasley), Dredd and the previously mentioned About Time. I feel as though his character has an Obi-Wanish vibe about it, what with the vivid red hair and all.

Lead actor in Inside Llewyn Davis,
Oscar Issac has been cast
in JJ Abrams' new Star Wars film
Whilst I have yet to see Inside Llewyn Davis, the mention of Oscar Issac made my ears prick up - he's been gaining some recognition of late, with a list of nominations as long as his arm for the Coen brothers' film. I'm interested to see what role he'll be cast in, as he can play both a pretty mean baddie (Robin Hood, Sucker Punch) or a hero. The same can be said of Adam Driver, who I'm going to stick my neck on the line and say is a baddie. He just...looks like one...or is that just me?

Max von Sydow is an interesting addition as he has a huge filmography behind him, and is a respected actor across many genres. Like Driver, I can't imagine the role of Sith Lord being too far out of his grasp - or is that just too easy?

Lastly, the two newbie's, Boyega and Ridley. With only four credits to his name, Boyega is something of a rookie to big time Hollywood films, something which Star Wars is definitely going to be. Again, I haven't seen Attack the Block (I'm told it's good), so I have nothing to go on here other than the hype. I'd love to see the kid in a lead role though - alongside Driver (who has even less credits to her name), these two could rocket into the A-list.

On the whole, there is really nothing I can fault this cast on - without seeing anything from the film other than the image at the top of this post, we can't possibly know if Episode VII is going to be another Phantom Menace or Empire Strikes Back. Remember, Episode I had a cast including Sam Jackson, Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor and it still managed to be pretty crap.

From what we have right now, I think Star Wars Episode VII is shaping up pretty well; with an amazing director, what will hopefully be a winning script and now an exciting cast, the latest instalment in the movie franchise to end all movie franchises has potential by the bucketload. Surely history can't repeat itself right? Well, this May the Fourth, this Star Wars fan has reason to beleive things are looking up for our heroes in galaxy far, far away.

Thanks for reading everyone - I'm thinking of making 'Laugh it up Fuzzball' a regular feature on everything Star Wars from here on out - if you enjoyed reading this column and have any thoughts on the cast for Episode VII, be sure to let me know in the comments section below! 


  1. Nice breakdown here. Don't really have too much thoughts myself as far as the casting goes just yet, though I'll echo your opinion that I hope the original cast don't take up too much screen time this go around. :)

    1. Yeah, based on casting alone it's really hard to tell where the film is going to go - there are still some really interesting picks though, lots of up and comers. Thanks for commenting Chris! :)



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