When the majority of the Star Wars: Episode VII cast was revealed in one swift stroke, it managed to impress with the caliber of newcomer actors to the series – but also ignited a debate over whether the cast was unnecessarily too male-heavy. Shortly thereafter, reports emerged that another female cast member had yet to be revealed; now that production on the J.J. Abrams’ space adventure is officially underway, new reports have emerged claiming that there are, in fact, two more women set to appear in Episode VII – other than the ones which have been confirmed by Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm, to be clear.
There’s a whole lot we don’t know about Episode VII right now, which is why it’s best to step back and consider the whole picture, before decrying the movie for what, to be fair, does seem at first to be a legitimate absence of diversity in terms of gender and race – given the vastness of the Star Wars universe and its variety of citizens, that is. We’ve long heard that the protagonist of Episode VII could be female; that there’s another female character of mixed ethnicity to be revealed; and it’s certainly possible that new characters portrayed by Latino actor Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis) and Black British actor John Boyega (Attack the Block), will be very important participants in the action.
While none of the above information is a certainty at this stage, it has been reported in the past that Abrams cast Episode VII so that the film will have a mixed assortment of characters, when it came to age, ethnicity, and gender. (Which, in addition, makes good business sense, as we’ve discussed with respect to superhero movie casting.) In addition to that, Latino Review is reporting that both Essex actress Katie Jarvis and Oxford actress Maisie Richardson-Sellers have been spotted recently around the Episode VII production in London, much like such folk as Boyega were (before they were officially confirmed as cast members for the film).
Jarvis is somewhat new to the Star Wars rumor conversation, though the young star – who turns 23 in a month – broke out a few years ago, opposite Michael Fassbender in the gritty coming of age drama, Fish Tank. Meanwhile, Richardson-Sellers has been rumored to appear in Episode VII for the past month; assuming that she and/or Jarvis have, in fact, been hanging around the facilities where the film is being shot, well, it seems fair to assume they’re not simply waiting around, hoping to get an autograph from Harrison Ford or Carrie Fisher (or Mark Hamill or any other Episode VII cast members, for that matter).
We know now that Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back) reworked the original Episode VII script draft by Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3, Catching Fire) – enough so that it appears that Arndt will not be receiving official screenwriting credit (he’ll probably be credited as a story writer, though). On the one hand, that makes it all the more difficult to say with any certainy that confirmed female cast member Daisy Ridley – who is all but given to be playing Han and Leia’s daughter – will essentially be the Anakin/Luke Skywalker to Episode VII; though, of all the new members of the Star Wars universe, Ridley appears to be in the best position to serve that role.
Some things have clearly been changed in the film’s script, following the leaking of an Episode VII casting call that listed two new female characters as part of the cast. In other words, it’s feasible that there are now three new women – all portrayed by up and comers with strong backgrounds in either theater, short film, or indie cinema - featured as part of the Star Wars live-action universe, whoever their characters might be (rumors about Obi-Wan Kenobi’s granddaughter, aside).
We say again: there’s still a whole lot that has yet to revealed about Episode VII, even with the cameras now rolling. If the latest rumors are true, then there could be encouraging news on the horizon – when it comes to keeping that hope alive that Star Wars will keep up with the changes in nerd culture over the years. After all, whatever your feelings are on, say, Abrams’ Star Trek movies, he’s still the guy who gave us the landmark TV show Alias – and now, he gets to play in the Star Wars sandbox, which is what he’s wanted to do for a long time. Chances are, he’ll try all the harder to give us something both different and good, in the process.
Star Wars: Episode VII opens in U.S. theaters on December 18th, 2015.
Source: Latino Review