At yesterday’s Television Critics Association press tour J.J. Abrams confirmed the Star Wars script is complete remarking “full steam ahead” and adding they are deep in pre-production. Over the weeks, some of the latest casting rumors could very well come to fruition.
The complete script is good news for an anticipated project that was rumored to be behind schedule. In October, reports said Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy and most of the creative team wanted to push the film a year behind to 2016, but Disney CEO Robert Iger would not budge in his goal to release Episode VII in 2015. J.J. Abrams reportedly agreed with the CEO.
Writing duties began by Michael Arndt who last wrote Toy Story 3, however, that script was turned over to Lawrence Kasdan, the scribe of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, who will be credited as co-writer with Abrams. Apparently, Arndt’s focus was on a new generation of heroes, while Abrams wanted to focus on Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Leia once again before handing over the torch to younger actors in the following two films.
So far there have been dozens of enticing casting rumors, but nothing confirmed. One of the earliest rumors had the ever popular Benedict Cumberbatch in talks to star in Episode VII. The thought of him as a menacing Sith wielding a red light sabre has fans and moviegoers salivating. Currently, Cumberbatch is not attached to any film opening that year and his relationship with Abrams through Star Trek: Into Darkness makes this rumor likely.
Michael Fassbender’s name has been thrown into the rumor mill also, however, this is highly unlikely. The German actor who, like Cumberbatch, has been in high demand as of late is set to star in the video game adaptation of the popular Assassin’s Creed which will be released on August 7, 2015. However, fret not as there are still the sequels for Fassbender to appear in!
One of the latest casting rumors associated with Star Wars is Jesse Plemons who played Todd in Breaking Bad. Abrams also confirmed yesterday at the conference in which he confirmed that the Star Wars script is complete that he and Plemons have been in talks. Plemons has yet to have that breakout role, his part in Breaking Bad being a relatively bit part, and Star Wars could be that film that catapults him into the stars.
Chitwetel Ejiofor, fresh off the buzz of his starring role in 12 Years A Slave, is also part of the latest casting rumors. The actor is no stranger to space opera sci-fi having starred as an antagonistic assassin in Joss Whedon’s 2005 cult film, Serenity. The actor has nothing set for 2015, so watch out for his name.
Character actor Hugo Weaving known as Elrond and Agent Smith from Lord of the Rings and Matrix respectively is also part of the latest casting rumors. The actor’s popularity among sci-fi, fantasy geeks would make him a welcome addition to the cast; Weaving is set to star in a smaller, dramatic film for 2015, but his relatively open schedule makes this rumor a high possibility for confirmation in the next few weeks.
Another young actor who confirmed auditioning for a role is Michael B. Jordan who has been getting plenty of buzz as of late for his powerful performance in last year’s Fruitvale Station. Jordan has also been in talks to star in Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four reboot set for a June 15, 2015 release date and as well as Will Smith character’s son in Independence Day 2 which is set for July 1, 2016.
In terms of women, rising, 20-year-old actress, Saoirse Ronan, who burst onto the scene as the bow and arrow wielding Hannah in the 2011 self-titled film, has been getting plenty of talk as being associated with Star Wars. Ronan is gorgeous, yet tough looking with a certain screen presence that would make her the perfect young Jedi and daughter of Luke Skywalker. This is one of the most likely of all the latest casting rumors as Ronan has passed on a major role as Scarlett Witch for 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. Any actor that declines such a major role is sure to have a bigger role in mind, and the only bigger film in 2015 than Avengers is Star Wars.
The first of a new trilogy, Star Wars Episode VII, which now has a complete script, will be released on Dec. 18, 2015. Expect the latest casting rumors to roll out as filming nears. Currently, the plan is to have a Star Wars film every year in the foreseeable future, including spin-off movies for characters such as a young Han Solo and the popular bounty hunter, Boba Fett.
By Kollin Lore