Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Star Wars: Episode VII Casting Call: Connecting the Dots


First reported by the website Bleeding Cool and subsequently independently confirmed by TheForce.Net and Big Shiny Robot, we have our first information regarding casting for Star Wars: Episode VII.

According to Bleeding Cool the characters listed below will be "lead characters" though they stress the casting call may not be in order of importance, i.e. the first character listed may not be the "star" of the film.
"Late-teen female, independent, good sense of humour, fit.
Young twenty-something male, witty and smart, fit but not traditionally good looking.
A late twentysomething male, fit, handsome and confident.
Seventy-something male, with strong opinions and tough demeanour. Also doesn’ t need to be particularly fit.
A second young female, also late teens, tough, smart and fit.
Forty something male, fit, military type.
Thirtysomething male, intellectual. Apparently doesn’t need to be fit."
So we have a physical description for seven characters to be featured prominently in Episode VII, both TFN and Big Shiny Robot were able to get on the record comments from Lucasfilm sources confirming the authenticity of the Death Star plans..err casting call.

Lets take these character descriptions and have some fun.

Some things that immediately pop-out to me:

1) No Twins:

Sorry Expanded Universe fans, but looks like we won't be seeing Jacen and Jaina. If they were going the twin route it would be surprising for one to be a leading character and one not to be.

2) A New Big Three or Four?

We have two teenage females and two twenty-something males.  This generational grouping would seem to be the core for the films.  Will there be three central characters or four this time?

3) Heroes or Villains?

In addition to the youngsters we have a male in his seventies, a male in his forties and a male in his thirties.  Will these characters be mentors or obstacles for our heroes to overcome?

4) Romance and too many Skywalkers:

While it's not clear if JJ Abrams actually said Episode VII would feature a central love story (see Club Jade), if there is a love story that features prominently in the film(s) then it could affect the characters and screen time of the characters.  It is possible that we could see offspring of both Luke and a mystery partner and also of Han and Leia.  However to expect Skywalker and Solo children to be the new big three would for obvious and icky reasons limit the screen time that could be either devoted to a love story or two the Big Three's next generation.

5) Unknown Actors and Actresses:

Personal preference but I hope we see relatively unknown or completely unknown actors and actresses in the leading roles in Episode VII.

6) Love Triangle:

It strikes me that teen female #1 will be the central character and pursued by the two twenty-something males. It could be a set up a bit like Harry Potter, with the two boys potentially both competing for Hermoine Granger, but perhaps teen female #2 is there to be Ginny Weasley for one of those guys.

Breaking Down the Character Profiles:

(1) Late-teen female, independent, good sense of humour, fit.

Young, independent, sense of humor and fit. Sounds like the female lead to me.

A Tenel Ka type
(2) Young twenty-something male, witty and smart, fit but not traditionally good looking.

The character that all the nerds can identify with.  Not the most likely guy to (help) save the day and get the girl but I expect we see something along those lines. Is it too much to ask for this to be Wedge Antilles Jr.?



(3) A late twentysomething male, fit, handsome and confident.

Right out of central casting, the "Senior Quarterback" type.  This is the guy you expect the lead to pick.  This is also the character who's "perfect" exterior hides a deep flaw that makes for an intersting or conflicted character.

A Zekk type?
(4) Seventy-something male, with strong opinions and tough demeanour. Also doesn’ t need to be particularly fit.

Now this is interesting.  The most obvious thing to think is that this is a Galactic Civil War veteran.  What is his current occupation.  I lay the odds at 70% Rogue (Smuggler), 20% Military Leader (General), 5% Jedi Master and 5% Politician.

A Booster Terrik type

(5) A second young female, also late teens, tough, smart and fit.

Not much to go on with this description. Though it does seem to be clearly subordinate to the description of the first female.  One interesting possibility is that this could be a villain.  We haven't really seen a young antagonist in the Star Wars films (not counting Anakin in Episode III of course).

(6) Forty something male, fit, military type.

Most likely scenario is that this is the lead Imperial Naval Officer and nominal villain in the film.  Could be a New Republic military officer but I'd wager this is a villain.

Admiral Piett
(7) Thirtysomething male, intellectual. Apparently doesn’t need to be fit.

To me this says Daniel Jackson type. Could be a slicer (Star Wars equivalent of a computer hacker) or some type of scientist or teacher.


Plausible Plots:

Now this is really throwing darts at the board based on the scant information that we have.  But lets work off of a couple assumptions.  1) Assume that Han, Luke and Leia will be in the new trilogy but will be in a supporting or mentoring role.  2) Assume that in Lucas/Arndt's vision of the post-Return of the Jedi era, that the Jedi Order did not propagate as quickly as it's Expanded Universe version of events.

I think that sets up three main scenarios that the story could spring from and where we will meet our new big three or four.

1) Jedi Academy:

Probably the least likely in my mind, but based on the Expanded Universe and the success of this type of story in the past we could see something like this. The youngsters in school story has been seen with different age groups and different settings but two good examples are the Harry Potter series and the recent X-Men: First Class.

Luke sets himself up as a Jedi Master on some remote location, perhaps even with Han hanging around to help teach more practical skills to the Jedi students.  What this scenario has going for it is the visual coolness of lightsabers and how hard it could be to resist inserting a bunch of Jedi into the story for that cool factor.

2) Military Unit:

While the Emperor is dead the last vestiges of his Empire still cling to power in different regions of space.  We meet either a Starfighter squadron or perhaps a small elite strike team starring our teens and twenties characters.  A little more of a Battlestar Galactica feel meets the X-Wing series of novels feel.

3) Smugglers Crew: 

I think this would be an interesting way to kick things off.  Let's say the young female lead is either a Solo or Skywalker. Feeling the pressure of living up to her parents reputations, her independent streak causes her to strike out on her own and she falls into the crew of smugglers.  Perhaps with a Talon Karrde type or Booster Terrik type as the smuggler chief. This female lead doesn't look to put herself into the center of the galaxies problems but events and the Force have a way of bringing her into the center of things and she must embrace her family history and become a hero/leader etc.

I hope you enjoyed my initial thoughts and speculations.  I will have more as we learn more details about Episode VII as production unfolds. Stay tuned.

SOURCES: Bleeding Cool, TFN, and Big Shiny Robot

2 comments:

  1. Actually, it was first reported by Schmoes Know and Bleeding Cool was the one to confirm it (http://schmoesknow.com/star-wars-episode-vii-casting-breakdown/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=star-wars-episode-vii-casting-breakdown). Also, love the appearance of Daniel Jackson. Big Stargate SG-1 fan! :) Great analysis!

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  2. Analysis is meh.. first off, don't assume the twins are out of the question just because they aren't looking for a female and male of the same age. It is not uncommon to cast females slightly younger than males, and pass them off as the same age. Maybe they want a 20-something male because he has to pass as a villain later in the trilogy. Maybe they want a late teens female so she has some room to grow more "womanly" as over the course of the trilogy. Consider the casting of Leia and Luke. Carrie Fisher was 5 years younger than Hamill. She stays nice and young, and was primed for her bikini in Episode Return of the Jedi. While Hamill looked young enough to pass as the farmboy in A New Hope, but old enough to be believable as the wise Jedi Master in ROTJ.

    With that in mind.. "Young twenty-something male, witty and smart, fit but not traditionally good looking." Doesn't that sound like Jacen? Has the appearance of a handsome, yet vulnerable lead star who audiences could see as a Jedi hero, or a potential tragic villain who succombs to the dark side.

    That leaves the two young, attractive, fit actresses.. and either of those descriptions could be Jaina. As long as she's a competent actress with range, and can look good wielding a lightsaber, or flying an X-Wing, you're set. The other one could easily be Tenel Ka, also young aspiring Jedi (fit, attractive, etc.) who serves as the potential love interest for Jacen.

    I like some of your other thoughts about staying grounded with Imperials and Smugglers, etc. But I hate to say you based too many of these thoughts on poor assumptions from the start.

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