On April 29, director J.J. Abrams ended months of film-industry speculation and fans’ intense debates over bits of “Star Wars” news and rumors concerning would be part of “Star Wars: Episode II.” Included among the cast for the film are six actors who took part in the original trilogy and seven newcomers.
“Episode VII” will include performances by Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker). Three other familiar names from the original “Star Wars” trilogy, if not necessarily faces, were revealed: Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Kenny Baker (R2-D2), and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca).
The casting news confirms months of speculation that Ford, Hamill and Harrison would reprise their roles. Missing from the cast, however, is Billy Dee Williams’ Lando Calrissian. No actors from the prequel trilogy were named, either.
The seven new additions to the “Star Wars” universe include several veteran actors. Although there has been no information released as to their characters, the following actors have joined the cast: Swedish actor Max von Sydow, whose 60-plus year career includes working with directors such as Ingmar Bergman, Woody Allen and Steven Spielberg; Andy Serkis, who’s best known for his work as Gollum in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy; Oscar Isaac, who starred in the title role of the Coen brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis;” and Adam Driver, who stars in HBO’s “Girls.”
Also joining the cast are relative unknowns. The three actors named on Tuesday are Domhnall Gleeson, John Boyega and Daisy Ridley. Gleeson portrayed Bill Weasley in the last two “Harry Potter” films, while both Boyega and Ridleys have done limited roles in television series or movies. Ridley joins Fisher as the two actresses named, at this point, to the film. And as with the veteran actors, no information has been released about their characters in “Episode VII.”
In his casting announcement for “Star Wars: Episode VII,” Abrams said:
“We are so excited to finally share the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII. It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again. We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud."
With the initial cast list formally announced, Abrams and the “Star Wars” team can move onto filming, and fans return to speculation about the film’s plot, based upon a screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and Abrams. “Star Wars: Episode VII” is slated for release to theaters Dec. 18, 2015.