Wednesday, April 30, 2014
The first bit of news came down last week when it was announced that the existing “Expanded Universe,” consisting of novels, comics, video games, and anything else that wasn’t part of the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy, or the Clone Wars cartoon series, would be undergoing a reboot. Those previous installments will still be available under the new “Legends” banner, while new stories going forward will be part of the “official” timeline being created. The first novel to be part of this new timeline will be A New Dawn, written by John Jackson Miller, author of Kenobi, now part of the Legends timeline. A New Dawn will be published on September 2 and will lead into the new animated series Star Wars Rebels, which will air this fall on the Disney Channel and Disney XD.
That news, big as it was for longtime fans, paled in comparison to what came out yesterday, which is the main cast list for the first installment of the new trilogy of films, which is scheduled to open in theaters worldwide on December 18, 2015. First, to no one’s surprise but everyone’s delight, the primary cast from the original trilogy is returning to reprise their familiar roles. This includes Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Harrison Ford as Han Solo, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, and Kenny Baker as R2-D2. This seems to leave out Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian; but, as he didn’t show up until the second film of the original trilogy, perhaps that’s the case this time around as well.
Along with these familiar faces, a number of newcomers were announced as part of the cast as well. The biggest name is veteran Max von Sydow, the legendary Swedish actor whose career dates back to 1949 and who has appeared in such legendary films as The Seventh Seal and The Exorcist, to name just two. He will be joined by Andy Serkis, the motion-capture expert responsible for Gollum and King Kong. The rest are relative newcomers: Adam Driver from Girls, John Boyega from Attack the Block, Oscar Isaac from Inside Llewyn Davis, Domhnall Gleeson from About Time, and unknown actress Daisy Ridley, with just a handful of bit parts to her name, including one episode in the second season of Mr. Selfridge.
And this may not be the end of Star Wars casting news for Episode VII. Rumor has it that director J.J. Abrams is looking to fill one more female part. One name that has been mentioned in connection with that part is another unknown: British actress Maisie Richardson-Sellers. Another name getting a lot of buzz is Lupita Nyong’o, this year’s Academy Award winner for Best Actress for her role in 12 Years a Slave.
Whether or not those last two names play out, time will tell. The others, though, have now been officially confirmed, and legions of Star Wars fans will want to check out the work of all these actors new to the universe. Make sure you have these titles on your shelves, and SmartBrowse each actor’s name on our website for more.