Another day, another rumor about Star Wars: Episode VII, in the absence of any concrete updates for director J.J. Abrams’ new movie installment in the George Lucas space opera juggernaut; possibly because Episode VII is progressing forward at a slower pace than Disney/Lucasfilm anticipated. However, claims that the film will be delayed from its previously-announced Summer 2015 date to a December 2015 release date remain unconfirmed… for now.
So, what do we know about Episode VII, then? Well, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill seem prepared to reprise their Star Wars roles (Han Solo, Leia Skywalker/Solo and Luke Skywalker, respectively); meaning, the next major casting announcements should reveal who are portraying the sons and daughters of the Skywalker and Solo clan in the film.
Last month, Zac Efron and Ryan Gosling were rumored to be in consideration to play such characters as Luke’s son (in Gosling’s case); for now, it’s fair to say that neither actor is likely to sign on for the project in the future. Elsewhere, there has been talk of Chloë Grace Moretz portraying Han and Leia’s daughter in Episode VII, as started by rumors about the version that Matthew Vaughn pitched (when he was in consideration to direct). Moretz has since claimed that she’s open to joining the iconic sci-fi/fantasy franchise, but denied having any insider knowledge on the situation.
The newest Episode VII casting rumor comes from Latino Review, which is the same site that provided the Efron/Gosling rumor and recent (unconfirmed) claims about how the deceased Emperor Palpatine and Obi-Wan Kenobi might fit into the film’s narrative. LR is reporting that actress Rachel Hurd-Wood has both read and auditioned for the role of Han and Leia’s daughter – a character named Jaina in the Star Wars ‘Expanded Universe’ (read: supplementary literature, comic books, video games, etc.). Meanwhile, the site also claims that Alex Pettyfer will be meeting with the filmmakers behind Episode VII soon, as he may be in the running to play Luke’s son (named Ben in the Star Wars EU).
There were initially rumors – shortly after Disney bought Lucasfilm and confirmed Episode VII is happening – that suggested the film’s story will not be based on any EU sources. While more recent rumors haven’t totally contradicted the claim, there does seem to be a chance that the script by Michael Arndt (Oblivion) could takes its cues from the “Legacy of the Force” storyline (a series of nine books) – albeit, with significant changes, in terms of which Solo/Skywalker children are corrupted by the Dark Side and must fight to save their relative/sibling’s soul. Not to mention, what the major new threat is that our heroes must face, some three decades after the fall of the Galactic Empire.
If nothing else, the (unconfirmed – noticing a pattern?) Episode VII casting call indicates that there are a couple of roles that people like Pettyfer and Hurd-Wood would be sensibly choices to fill, in terms of their ages and physical appearances. Hurd-Wood is the sort of lesser-known who’s traditionally been cast in a Star Wars film, with her major roles to date being in movies like Peter Pan (2003), Perfume: The Story of a Murderer and Solomon Kane; Pettyfer, by comparison, is a bigger name (see: I Am Number Four, Magic Mike), but not at all what you would call an A-lister. As far as acting chops go: Hurd-Wood is arguably the stronger of the two candidates, but Pettyfer has managed to turn in solid work when he’s paired with a good director.
That is to say, while neither Hurd-Wood nor Pettyfer may be on anyone’s dream cast list for Episode VII, they’re the sort of up and comers who usually wind up playing the central roles in Star Wars live-action movies. So, even if neither of the two casting potentials wind up snagging a role, there’s a good chance that people of equal performance caliber will take their spots. (Hey, they just have to be better than Hayden Christensen, right?)
Star Wars: Episode VII is expected to open in theaters by 2015.
Source: Latino Review