Humor and the Star Wars universe always go well together. Fans, filmmakers, and even the stars of the films themselves willingly joke about the myth and the mythos without batting an eye. Hot off a controversial episode hosted by Donald Trump, the always current Saturday Night Live cast and writers decided to hop on board the Star Wars: The Force Awakens train with some hilarious results.
Some long-time fans of the show and the films may remember SNL’s ‘celebrity’ Star Wars audition sketch from 1997. In homage to that skit and in preparation for the upcoming release, the Not Ready For Primetime Players treated us to another sneak peek – this time at some of J.J. Abrams’ lost screen tests.
SNL upped the ante by mixing a few legitimate luminaries into their spoof of Abrams’ casting couch. ‘Celebrity’ guests such as Sofia Vergara (Cecily Strong) and Javier Bardem (Beck Bennett) join actual Hollywood stars like Emma Stone and Jon Hamm to poke fun at the upcoming seventh film in the franchise. The Force Awakens leads John Boyega and Daisy Ridley even joined in the fun.
Fans looking for a unique look behind the scenes won’t be disappointed. Amazing footage reveals Shaquille O’Neal’s (Jay Pharoah) less than successful turn as Chewbacca. It also turns out that Danny DeVito (Bobby Moynihan) would be an excellent alternate choice for BB-8. And although Leslie Jones’s Klingon warrior was impressive, it’s clear her agent could use some glasses. Not to be left out of the fun, Jon Hamm made his play for a revisionary role as lovable scoundrel Hamm Solo. Not bad but his gunslinger stance could use a little work.
More than just a funny sketch (and a well-placed marketing crossover), one of the true highlights of the segment is seeing the two young stars in action. Daisy Ridley is fresh yet clever when serenaded, not once but twice, by Michael Buble and ‘John Mayer’. John Boyega also shows off his whimsical side, satirizing himself being cast as a black Stormtrooper, and later finds his question about the Force answered by none other than George Lucas (Moynihan) himself.
While it’s reassuring to see that Boyega and Ridley are likeable and both have a good sense of humor, the sketches never show them together. Since their onscreen chemistry could make or break Star Wars 7 and its sequels, the marketing machine may have missed an opportunity to reassure nervous fans. Fortunately, at least judging by the trailers, their small screen charisma seems to translate well to the series.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18th, 2015, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.