‘Star Wars: Episode 7′ Casting Update; J.J. Abrams Talks Script Rewrites & Release Date

Published 1 year ago by , Updated November 26th, 2013 at 8:13 am,

star wars episode 7 casting Star Wars: Episode 7 Casting Update; J.J. Abrams Talks Script Rewrites & Release Date

Star Wars movies are traditionally cloaked in secrecy prior to their release, though one has to wonder if George Lucas would’ve been able to keep a lid on Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back‘s legendary twist had the film been made in the age of the Internet. That aside: director J.J. Abrams has certainly done a good job of keeping details on Star Wars: Episode VII under lock and key, with just over a month left to go until 2013 reaches its conclusion.

Production on Episode VII begins overseas in London in Spring 2014, so casting announcements will be arriving sooner, rather than later at this point. A few weeks back, Disney/Lucasfilm sent out a casting call for the movie’s young male and female leads, which has since been opened up to thousands of people on multiple continents. We now had confirmation that Abrams and his fellow producers are actively seeking to fill at least one more important role in the next Star Wars movie.

THR is confirming the basic descriptions for the Episode VII young leads – a 17-18 year old “tough-cookie girl” and a 19-23 year old “charismatic, funny guy” – who are thought to be members of a new generation of Skywalker (note: the character descriptions are similar to twins Jaina and Jacen Solo in the Star Wars Expanded Universe literature). In addition, insiders are claiming that the Episode VII producers are looking to fill another role: a “40-something military man,” who the sources liken to Matt Damon’s character in Elysium.

Star Wars Logo Star Wars: Episode 7 Casting Update; J.J. Abrams Talks Script Rewrites & Release Date

Now, there was a 40-something military type in the Episode VII casting breakdown that leaked 5-6 months ago, but the THR article indicates that something has changed, with regard to this role. It could be that the character now plays a more substantial part in the story, thanks to the rewrites that Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan (writer of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) have performed, based on the earlier script draft written by Michael Arndt (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire). As such, filling that role might be a greater priority now than it was before.

Total Film recently conducted an interview with Abrams, where the director touched on subjects like shooting Episode VII in London and the process of revising the film’s script with the legendary Kasdan. Unfortunately, while Abrams comments are encouraging, they’re also evasive with regard to how substantial the rewrites are (or what aspects of the story they involve):

“Working with Larry has been one of the most surreal joys of my life,” Abrams says. “We’ve had a lot of fun working together. He’s an incredible guy and an inspiring and spectacular writer.”

UPDATE: In a separate recent interview with MTV, Abrams also indicated that not having to finish Episode VII in time to make a Summer 2015 release date will greatly improve the final movie product:

“I will say that it is an infinitely better situation now than when they were saying that they wanted it in the summer [of 2015]. Before I even came onto the project, they were talking about 2015, and they made this announcement very early on, which I understand. I understand why they’d want that, but it didn’t necessarily have anything to do with the reality of where anything was creatively… I think that it’s a hugely important thing that [the creative process] come first. A release date is great, but you have to release something great. To me, the new release date is a huge improvement.”

There are a handful of candidates – who’ve either been rumored or confirmed to have auditioned for Episode VII already – that fall within the desired late 30s/early 40s age bracket for the film’s “military man” character; namely, Jason Flemyng (X-Men: First Class), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) and Star Trek Into Darkness star, Benedict Cumberbatch.

chiwetel ejiofor star wars episode 7 570x294 Star Wars: Episode 7 Casting Update; J.J. Abrams Talks Script Rewrites & Release Date

Chiwetel Ejiofor as ‘The Operative’

Of the three previously-listed actors, I would personally go with Ejiofor, if only because it would be fun to see him in a role that sounds relatively close to his nameless Operative from Joss Whedon’s Serenity (the film based on his Firefly TV series). Moreover, he could bring some needed gravitas to the proceedings in Episode VII, especially if Ejiofor were to spend most of his onscreen with younger or newcomer types as the leads (Cumberbatch would manage likewise, but he might be too busy and/or not interested).

Flemyng recently confirmed that he’s auditioning for Episode VII, so it’s all more reasonable now to assume that he’s trying out to play the aforementioned “military man” character; that said, there’s no guarantee that he will get the role. Also, the comparison to Damon’s Elysium character – a tattooed ex-convict from a poor background – raises question as to who, exactly, this Episode VII player will be, either hero or villain. (Maybe a soldier who serves the New Republic? A ragtag bounty hunter? A military leader who commands over the remains of the Galactic Empire?)

What are your thoughts about this new role, Screen Ranters? Be sure and let us know in the comments section.


Star Wars: Episode VII opens in theaters on December 18th, 2015.

Source: THR, Total Film, MTV

‘Star Wars: The Old Republic’ Header Image Artwork by McNealy @ deviantART

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
TAGS: Star wars
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  2. “40-something military man,”

    It’s got to be Grand Admiral Thrawn.

    • I read somewhere that they’re steering clear of the extended universe for these sequels. I’m not sure how official this information is, but I’d be really surprised if Ep. VII adapted anything from any of the literature.

      • Yeah, but I read everywhere when Abrams did STID that they definitely, absolutely were not doing Kahn. We’ll have to see

      • They said they aren’t copying a story from the EU, but they never said they wouldn’t use any characters from the EU. Frankly, given the amount of money that Disney paid to buy the entire SW franchise, it would be silly of them to just completely disregard the EU and some of those great characters.

        • For me the EU was never canon and incredibly unlikable. The further they stay away from it the better, in my opinion.

          • And you should take your dislike of the EU back to 70′s when Lucas could write worth a damn.

  3. Its just… I see Cumberbatch’s name… I want him in everything…

  4. Greatly improve the final product? If I remember there was a rumor which said they wanted to delay it further and Disney insisted on 2015. Abrams wants total creative control. If he can’t set his own production schedule you think he may not be around for Episode 8.

  5. I’m wondering, since J.J. Abrams, is a fan and now he has his chance with the film, will he make his version of Star Wars IV. also I hope there’s no lens flares I hate those.

    • This post physically pained me to read.

  6. As long as its better than the last 3 (which shouldn’t be difficult) and not a cartoon, it may work, if not it could be the end. Lets hope there not whipping a dead horse.

    • I wonder if its based on the story treatments Lucas wrote up way back when during the first filming of the trilogy. (when it was supposed to be a trilogy of trilogies (or 12 films, even earlier))

  7. I so want this to be Ben Affleck, just for the cataclysmic eruption that would take place in cyberspace. The hysteria would be so great that the “force” would be disturbed for the next generation of nerds!

  8. Who cares? Star Wars ended 30 years ago and hasn’t been back since.

  9. Nothing new about Star Wars.
    Thats a constant already.

    Oh! but Im wrong!, We DO have news – R2D2 is confirmed. ok thank you.. I would have never imagined…

  10. Stephen Amell would make a brilliant leading man. Star Wars finally needs to cast its heroes right. Hopefully Abrams will do that!

  11. Any idea when will they announced the cast?

  12. I don’t really want to know anything…much prefer to go to the cinema and feel the excitement of seeing a new trailer and what it brings. Do know a actor from my town that has auditioned for Ben Skywalker…fact.

  13. I am more interested in the villain than I am the heroes. Even if you have Han, Luke and Leia the movie can still blow chunks if the villain doesn’t counterbalance the film. I am worried because Darth Vader is gone but I hope that they won’t resurrect him.

  14. I won’t say anything until something is confirmed. And one thing, can someone tell me what the picture on top is?

    • The image is from the video game star wars the old republic

  15. i want to see an agent doing assassinations
    love the imperial agent n swtor xd

  16. I heard R2-D2 and C-3P0 will be merged into one duel-droid, a la’ General Grievous. Called R3P0. That’d be cool but I doubt its true.

  17. 40 year old military man. boba fett possibly?

  18. This is a new character. Boba Fett is dead and characters from the Expanded Universe does not exist in the movies.

    • Boba Fett did not die when being swallowed by the desert monster. Try reading.

  19. Dash rendar is the 40 yr old

  20. Dash rendar was a smuggler good friends with han would be a great character to include cunning and def packin heat

  21. And han better come back!!! And i bet they throw in a new sith lord to change s*** tge first eu episode would have been about pirates and bounty hunters as bad guys mostly in my eyes that woulda been cooler!

  22. I’m trying to stay positive, but how does ANY antagonist follow Darth Vader? Chronologically, that’s what this character is supposed to be doing. I think that pretty much the only exception to the rule that “you can’t follow a legendary performance” is Robert Patrick following Arnie’s performance as the antagonist in Terminator 2. They were equally amazing. I don’t count Ledger’s performance as The Joker since he portrayed literally the same character as Nicholson.

  23. Imo, the eu was great. It would suck major ass if they didn’t have jacen solo, his sister, and an aged luke, leah, and han in the film. Not to mention, they’d be giving up on a great story in the transformation of jacen solo to the darkside as darth caedus

  24. 40 year old something military man?

    Could this be Kyle Katarn? I’d have a nerdgasm if it was so.

  25. I sure they don’t just throw a bunch of A list stars who will off set the movie. I also hope they don’t try to weave characters from the other films in this one just for the sake of doing so. Abrahams has a chance to resurrect Starwars. Not that Matt Dammon is not a good actor, I just think throwing him in the mix of the story line would be off putting.

  26. Abrams is going to put Star Wars back into alignment. He’ll be bridging a 30 year old gap that many have forgotten and I believe he is the only capable of pulling off such a delicasy.

  27. One name, 300 Sullivan Stapleton. And he did audition for a role.

  28. I just read somewhere that they are bringing back Jar Jar bunks. His son becomes a Jedi.

  29. This movie is going to suck. J.J. Abrams is a generic Hollywood wiener who won’t flinch when it’s time to “play it safe.” The “film” is going to be white washed in computer graphics with a polished, picture perfect, robotic, air brushed cast that looks like they’re straight out of the Twilight franchise. And of course it will be filmed in 3-D. Long gone are the days of man made costumes, gritty sets and made to scale models. Disney and the other big wig money men involved simply lack the vision, creativity and the balls to execute this with heart. The only love going into these monstrosities is fixated on the almighty dollar. The three prequel films were some of the worst piles of garbage ever. Wonder if these efforts will topple them on that sad list. Total bummer. I would love for them to prove me wrong.