After months of speculation, rumors, denials, and retractions, the cast of Star Wars: Episode 7 has finally been revealed. Fans had long expected original stars Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker to return but the casting announcement (and photo) made their inclusion official – with newcomers John Boyega (Attack the Block), Daisy Ridley (Scrawl), Adam Driver (Girls), Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis), Andy Serkis (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Domhnall Gleeson (About Time), and Max von Sydow (Shutter Island) confirmed for yet-to-be revealed roles.
Understandably, the press release drew a wide range of reactions: some geeked out or poked fun, while others fired-off biting social commentary – most notably for the lack of diversity (and Lando) present in the current cast. Now that the initial elation/frustration has subsided, we’re taking a look back at the most interesting reactions to the news – as well as the best Star Wars: Episode 7 announcement photoshops.
Of course the list is not all-inclusive, so once you’ve had a chance to read our picks, share your favorites in the comments.
These Are the Tweets You are Looking For
These days, Twitter has become the go-to source for breaking news and reactions – and it did not take long for the social media service to deliver an expansive look at Star Wars fandom (and skepticism). Tweeters relished in the nostalgia, studying the photo and its participants for clues, while others poked-fun at all the celebrating – since, given the nature of the internet, the conversation will likely turn to vicious trashing of the production as more details are revealed.
For a taste of the post-press release atmosphere, check out a collection of our favorite tweets below:
Are they really making official casting announcements before May the 4th? #StarWars
— Lorraine Cink (@lorrainecink) April 29, 2014
Watching the new STAR WARS cast announced is like watching a bunch of wolves coo over a baby they’re going to eat later. — Linda Holmes (@nprmonkeysee) April 29, 2014
Nobody puts R2 (in a box) in the corner — Jacob Harris (@harrisj) April 29, 2014
Let’s see how much you like this cast once the Star Wars team gives them all rat tails. pic.twitter.com/aqMOVJ6p6W
— Logan Hill (@loganhill33) April 29, 2014
The best thing about the STAR WARS cast photo is that the only one studying the script is the guy who plays a barking teddy bear.
— Andy Greenwald (@andygreenwald) April 29, 2014
I think the real winner in this Star Wars VII cast photo is the IKEA KARLSTAD chairs and sofa line. pic.twitter.com/qrOG23Ltj2
— Mike Gaines (@SnoopMikey) April 29, 2014
Not pictured: George Lucas. pic.twitter.com/KBgfHbVY1C
— Jeff Cannata (@jeffcannata) April 29, 2014
Master Jedi Photoshops
Once the Internet was done pouring over the actual announcement, attention turned to the attached photo that showcased the stars and filmmakers in casual conversation – until fans started altering the image with Photoshop.
Creative photo editors toyed with the black and white image in a variety of entertaining ways – importing loathed Star Wars characters as well as turning the table read into a rebel mission briefing.
Credit: Twitter user @kaybi
Credit: Twitter user @Thomas_Kearney
Credit: Twitter user @fogdark7
Credit: Twitter user @agentbizzle
Credit: Twitter user @studioexec1
Credit: Twitter user @DailyDanMilano
I Find Your Lack of Lando Disturbing
Unfortunately, Billy Dee Williams did not appear in the cast announcement – meaning that fan-favorite scoundrel (with a heart of gold), Lando Calrissian, is unlikely to appear in Star Wars: Episode 7. With the inclusion of prior heroes Luke, Han, and Leia, many moviegoers expected that Lando would also be asked back – with some fans even speculating that John Boyega would play the character’s son (as potential Jedi in training).
Yet, despite interest from Williams, Lando has yet to be confirmed for the new trilogy, causing outrage on social media – and, since this is the Internet, sparking more than one online petition.
Upset about the absence of Lando in Star Wars: Episode 7? Sign the “Billy Dee Williams for Star Wars 7, 8, and 9” petition – then check out our favorite Lando-inspired tweets:
— Alex Knight (@TheImpactMaker) April 30, 2014
Bring Balance to the Force (with More Female Characters)
One of the biggest (legitimate) criticisms that came in the wake of the cast announcement was the lack of new female characters that will be included in the main roster. Out of the seven new cast members, only one of them (Daisy Ridley) is female.
Following the press release (and subsequent frustration from the fan community),the trades reported that Abrams still had one principle female role to fill. While it’ll be interesting to see which actress takes the final female spot on the cast, there’s no doubt that, for many, the hiring of only two women (verses six men) was a letdown – especially in a series that often bucks the “damsel in distress” princess stereotype.
Read some of the most biting criticisms below:
“Are we seriously still pretending that the universe is comprised almost entirely of men (and mostly white men at that)? Mythic tales are supposed to open up possibilities, not shut them down.” – Annalee Newitz (io9)
“Representation is a tricky issue. You want to let storytellers tell the stories they want without presenting them with a checklist of things/people they must include. At the same time you kind of hope that, seven movies into a saga that spans almost forty years in real time, somebody would have figured out that women like to see these movies and also like to see themselves onscreen and also can do most of the things in a movie that a man can do.” – Devin Faraci (Badass Digest)
— Marlies Benter (@minne8) April 29, 2014
Let’s make more women writers and directors so we don’t have to be upset there aren’t more women parts written in big movies, ok?
— Felicia Day (@feliciaday) April 29, 2014
Late Night Loves Star Wars Too
Long before social media, late night hosts were making viewers laugh with tongue-in-cheek bits as well as crude photo and video edits that mocked the entertainment info of their day. Hollywood news (and celebrity antics) continue to be a generous font for evening comedians – and the Star Wars casting announcement was no different.
From Star Wars movie characters that happened to be in Conan’s audience to a “Wag of the Finger” from soon-to-be Late Show host Stephen Colbert, J.J. Abrams and his Episode 7 cast members have been the butt of several evening programming hosts.
Check out our favorite video clips below:
Retro Casting Revealed
The most interesting response to the Star Wars: Episode 7 casting was not a sneak peek at what is to come – it was an opportunity to look back at the early days of a franchise that has come to mean so much, to so many people.
In a series of posts to The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Facebook page (via Business Insider), the organization shared black and white scans of original cast announcements for Star Wars: Episode 4 – including Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, and Alec Guinness.
We’ve included a few of the photos below, but make sure to check them all out (along with other Star Wars-related news print scans) at the link above. Click to see the full images.
We still have more than a year before the cast of Star Wars: Episode 7 actually make it to the big screen – meaning that there’s still plenty of time for J.J. Abrams to address critics and skeptics.
In the coming months we’ll be offering updates (and podcast discussions) on the Star Wars: Episode 7 production as they’re revealed – including who will be cast in that second female role.
Stay up to date at our Star Wars movie page – HERE.
Star Wars: Episode 7 opens worldwide on December 18, 2015.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for future updates on Star Wars as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.