With the calendar turning to page to 2014 and production on Disney and Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Episode VII looming, a new wave of casting rumors has begun to circulate the web including the first mention of the Imperial Empire and how recent rewrites of the script have impacted the casting call and narrative. Potential spoilers follow so proceed at your own risk.
The first big rumor popped up Friday night via The Wrap and suggested that Breaking Bad star Jesse Plemons was up for a major role in the new film and possibly entire trilogy. He had apparently already impressed the casting team in an initial audition and is scheduled to meet with J.J. Abrams this upcoming week face-to-face, a rumor that The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed in their juicy new spoiler report.
THR also confirms some previously rumored names as Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael B. Jordan, Jack O’Connell, Alex Pettyfer, Sullivan Stapleton and Saoirse Ronan having met for one role or another. In addition to those names, they throw Hugo Weaving, Michael Fassbender and Adam Driver into the growing mix of actors hopeful for a part in the next Star Wars trilogy and place in history.
What’s curious about the Weaving mention is that apparently he is being courted for a possible role as an Imperial Commander. This is the first mention that the Empire was not completely dissolved after Return of the Jedi, and they have once again become a threat to what might be the New Republic. THR cites two independent sources as having confirmed this spoilerish rumor.
Late last year Oscar-winning writer Michael Arndt was removed from the project and replaced by director J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan, the latter of whom wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark. THR’s sources say there was a difference in opinion between Arndt and the filmmaking team in how the original trilogy cast of Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher would be utilized in the film. Arndt wanted their offspring to be the focus, while Abrams wanted the classic characters to be front and center.
Abrams won out after Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and consultant George Lucas got involved, and apparently this shift in direction has resulted in several of the roles changing from Arndt’s original script. As such, an actor like Tye Sheridan, whom auditioned last year for a role, no longer works for the rewritten character he auditioned for. Supposedly at least one previously 20-year old character is being rewritten into a new character twice that age.
THR’s rumor report wraps up with a wild rumor that another role currently being sought is for the second-generation offspring of Obi-Wan Kenobi, to be played by a “20-something female actress who is either of mixed race or black.” Apparently Obi-Wan had some fun during the Clone Wars with someone other than Duchess Satine, his sort-of love interest in the animated Clone Wars series. This one should definitely be labeled as rumor until something a little more concrete surfaces. Personally I hope it pans out to be false.
Whichever way you cut it, based on this rumor report it appears that Star Wars Episode VII is a bit of a wild mess right now and could really use an official casting announcement or something from Lucasfilm to start pulling everything together.