Disney Studios is indeed hoping The Force will be with it's highly anticipated, and perhaps risky, plans to advance the Star Wars film franchise with the production of "Star Wars: Episode VII" to be directed by J.J. Abrams.
However, news officially confirmed today that stacks the deck towards the film's success is the announcement of the long rumored casting of original Star Wars trilogy characters Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo played by their original actors. Mark Hamill returns as Luke with Carrie Fisher reprising her role as Princess Leia and Harrison Ford as Han Solo.
Also joining the cast are original actors and characters are Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca and Kenny Baker as R2-D2.
Notably left out of the official announcement was Billy Dee Williams who played Lando Calrissian, who appeared in the film's later installments of the first trilogy. However, fans may yet be surprised by an appearance by the popular character. Though, at this time, Williams appears to be out of the currently public equation.
The new cast also brings to the franchise actors Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson and Max von Sydow. Thus far, their characters and any more details have not been announced.
Nevertheless, it is exciting to see the new and beloved past cast members gathered together for the official photo released by LucasFilm of what one may the cast's first meeting as a group and possible script "table read".
Filming on Episode VII is scheduled to start in just a few weeks with the film currently scheduled for a December 18, 2015 release date. Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote the original "The Empire Strikes Back" joins Abrams to write the film's screenplay. The legendary composer John Williams also returns to add his epic musical touch to the film's score.
Thus far, the stars look bright indeed for this next episode that appears to be set to enchant both Star Wars fans old and new.