With no official casting announcements for Star Wars: Episode VII thus far, rumor has it that a major update on director J.J. Abrams’ space adventure will be arriving on this year’s fast-approaching Star Wars Day, a.k.a. May 4th. Of course, if you’ve been following progress on Episode VII since the beginning, then you’ve known for a while now that at least three familiar faces will be in the film (not including R2-D2, C-PO and/or Chewbacca, though they’re coming back too).
It was over a year ago when Star Wars creator – and Episode VII creative consultant – George Lucas let slip that Star Wars: Episode IV-VI stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford had already entered the “final stages of negotiation” to join the Episode VII cast; since then, Fisher has indicated multiple times that she and her fellow original Star Wars trilogy costars are, indeed, reprising as the older versions of their respective characters (Luke, Leia, and Han) in Abrams’ film.
Sooner, rather than later, we expect that Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm will finally issue an official press release, confirming that fan-favorites Hamill, Fisher, and Ford are part of Episode VII – possibly, at the same time, also revealing which of the rumored newcomers will help to bring a younger generation of characters to life in Abrams’ movie.
Until then, enjoy these Tweets and images that show (or tease) that the aforementioned Star Wars veterans having made their way to London, where the bulk of principal photography on Episode VII is taking place. There’s nothing all that revelatory about them, though it’s worth noting that a slimmed-down Hamill appears to have grown some Obi-Wan Kenobi-style facial hair, in order to portray Luke Skywalker the seasoned Jedi Master properly.
So my do dog Gary has been spotted in London, but apparently without me. Who has he been seeing? Let me know if you have any clues.— Carrie Fisher (@carrieffisher) April 26, 2014
Harrison Ford chatting to the pilots of London's Air Ambulance in Grosvenor Square https://t.co/YJqX3KscBh— Matthew Bell (@kertappa) April 26, 2014
Late last week, Lucasfilm announced in a press release that “all aspects of Star Wars storytelling moving forward will be connected” – be they movies, TV shows, videos games, and/or books – but that the only canon that Episode VII is beholden to are the six previous live-action films, as well as the Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV show content co-developed by Lucas, rather than any previously-published work revolving around the Star Wars universe post-Return of the Jedi (the Thrawn Saga, Jedi Academy trilogy, etc.).
In other words: although the story for Episode VII may take some inspiration from elements of the Star Wars “Expanded Universe” of old, it doesn’t need to fit with what had transpired by the same point in time in the old Star Wars EU timeline. Rumor has it that Abrams and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back) revised the original Episode VII script draft by Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3), so that the film may better highlight the experiences of older Luke, Leia, and Han – experiences that may be quite different than what many EU fans have been anticipating.
If that is the approach (as looks to be the case), then hopefully it’ll result in Abrams’ film serving as a smooth transitionary chapter, bringing moviegoers up to speed on events in the Star Wars universe – before moving onward, into what (fingers crossed) will be the long and creatively-rewarding future of this iconic franchise.
Star Wars: Episode VII opens in U.S. theaters on December 18th, 2015.