For a while there, the process of getting just basic (read: not really that spoilery) details on Star Wars: Episode VII from the people making was akin to extracting teeth from an ornery crocodile, who thinks it’s doing you a favor simply by not biting off your entire arm while you work. Thankfully, that’s changed a little bit over the past month, as we now know for certain that director J.J. Abrams is finishing the screenwriting process with Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back), Disney/Lucasfilm will release the film in theaters by December 2015 and the beloved astromech droid R2-D2 is going to make an appearance.
… Okay, that’s not really so much to work from, but we’ll take what we can get. Anyway, the rumor mill continues to churn out more names of potential cast members by the day. As such, we now have two additional candidates to add to the growing list of people in the running to play a role in Episode VII; Jason Flemyng (X-Men: First Class) and Matt Smith, a.k.a. the eleventh regeneration of The Doctor on Doctor Who, to be exact.
Flemyng caused a bit of a commotion on his Instagram page, when he posted an image of a script page with his name on it, along with the caption “Pint of Stella and ‘Star Wars’ script! That’s me sorted till 5!” (via Coming Soon). He later urgently clarified that he is only auditioning for Episode VII and has not yet secured a part. Flemyng has since removed the incriminating photo from his account, but not before the rest of the Internet made copies and posted it elsewhere (You can see the image over at Collider until further notice, but don’t expect to be able to make out any character names, dialogue or prose contained therein.)
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time that Flemyng – who is not reprising as red-skinned teleporting mutant Azazel in Bryan Singer’s upcoming First Class sequel, X-Men: Days of Future Past – has casually made a reference to development on Episode VII, only to quickly realize afterwards that he had nearly shot himself in the foot while doing so.
Close to a year ago, the actor inadvertently suggested that First Class helmer Matthew Vaughn – who was heavily rumored to direct the seventh Star Wars installment at the time – had secured the job and might offer Flemyng a role, since the two have a history that goes back to Vaughn’s directorial debut on Layer Cake in 2004. Apparently, the producers on Episode VII kept Flemyng’s name in mind, even after Abrams was brought onboard instead of Vaugh.
As for the Matt Smith rumor, that one arrives courtesy of “a fairly well-placed source” for Bleeding Cool, who claims that the Doctor Who star may have properly auditioned for an Episode VII role; or, if nothing else, he talked with Abrams and maybe even Star Wars creator George Lucas (who is a creative consultant on the project). It’s worth noting that Bleeding Cool was also one of the first news sites to break the news that Saoirse Ronan (Hanna) had read for an Episode VII role, before the actress confirmed as much to be true. In other words: there may well be something to this Smith rumor.
Smith will anchor the fast-approaching Doctor Who 50th anniversary special, before he finished up his run on the grand-daddy of cult sci-fi TV series (yes, the show began even before Star Trek) with the 2013 Christmas special. He’s already lined up to make his proper Hollywood debut next year, playing one of the leads in Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut, the risqué fantasy How to Catch a Monster. In short, this guy has the kind of untapped stardom potential that makes him a good match for Star Wars (fandom crossovers be damned).
One more bit of food for thought: Smith is a nice fit for two of the lead roles listed in an (unconfirmed) Episode VII casting roster – the “late twenty something male, fit, handsome and confident” or the “thirty something male, intellectual. Apparently doesn’t need to be fit” – while Flemyng is the proper age/build to portray the “Forty something male, fit, military type” mentioned in the breakdown. That’s assuming they don’t lose out to one of the other qualified character actors said to be in consideration to join the cast of Abrams’ Star Wars movie.
… Or that they aren’t up to play traditional villains in the Star Wars universe (Sith Lords? Bounty Hunters?), who aren’t included in the Episode VII cast breakdowns that’ve leaked so far.
Star Wars: Episode VII opens in theaters on December 18th, 2015.