Director J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII is expected to revolve around a new generation of heroes (Jedi?), villains (Sith?) and those who fall somewhere in between on the moral scale (bounty hunters, mercenaries, etc.), as was the case for the previous first chapters in the Star Wars trilogies produced to date (Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Episode IV: A New Hope).
However, much like it eventually became necessary for Star Wars creator George Lucas to hand over his “baby” to a younger generation of filmmakers (after he sketched out the guidelines for where to go from here), the expectation is that Episode VII will include a few veteran actors of the space opera franchise; that is, in order to connect the half-dozen Star Wars movies released to date with Abrams’ film – not to mention, pass the torch to a group of younger peoples (in a literal, symbolic and meta-fashion).
Lucas himself dropped the ball earlier this year, when he let slip that Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa/Skywalker), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and Harrison Ford (Han Solo) are in final negotiations to reprise their iconic Star Wars roles for Episode VII. We’ve since received additional confirmation that Fisher and Hamill are getting into the desired physical condition so they’re better able to keep up and play in the western-in-space sandbox designed by Lucas, once again.
Yet, Ford recently claimed on Graham Norton’s show (via Metro) that he’s “not quite made the choice” as to whether or not he too will appear in Episode VII. Interestingly, the actor went on to reiterate a sentiment that he expressed just a couple months ago – concerning how he’s perfectly willing to reprise as Indiana Jones in a fifth movie - having also revealed just this past week that he’s discussed his return as Rick Deckard in the Blade Runner sequel that director Ridley Scott is developing. (Translation: Ford isn’t against taking a trip down nostalgia lane, so long as he feels it’s constructive.)
However, before you read too much/little into Ford’s Star Wars comments, it’s worth taking the time to pause and consider the Episode VII rumors that /Film has rounded up. Most of these “scoops” (like, the film’s official release date being November 11th, 2015) should be taken with a healthy dose of salt. Still, when you pile all the reports together, it seems more reasonable to assume that important casting announcements are on the way sooner than later – not the least of all, because Abrams is supposed to begin principle photography on the film in a matter of months now.
Nonetheless, /Film‘s report includes two nuggets of information that suggest that Episode VII casting announcements won’t happen this month (or, rather, before the end of October 2013):
- Disney wants to keep the moviegoing public’s attention focused on Thor: The Dark World (which opens in most countries on either October 30th or November 8th), so they’ll refrain from dropping any major Episode VII bombshells in the meantime.
- Ford is rumored to have requested that any Episode VII announcements not happen until after he’s done promoting Ender’s Game for a November 1st release – lest he be swarmed with Star Wars questions, instead of queries about the sci-fi movie that he’s actually there to promote.
For similar reasons, it’s best that you not take anything Ford says about Episode VII as being set in stone (e.g. he could very well have have agreed to appear in the film already, but doesn’t want to say anything yet). Truth be told: with the Thor sequel approaching fast and building more enthusiastic buzz amongst fans by the day, it would feel a bit odd for big Star Wars news to drop over the next couple weeks; though, you never know for certain until it happens (or doesn’t), right?
Having said that, we previously outlined several pros and cons of having original Star Wars trilogy cast members return for Episode VII, in part to illustrate why it would be okay if someone like Ford decided that he wasn’t interested in working on the film after all. Similarly, there are ways for Abrams and Episode VII screenwriter Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3) to get around not having a character like the older Han Solo in the film – and thus, still manage to let their movie stand on its own (see how The Legend of Korra connects to Avatar: The Last Airbender, for a relevant example).
Star Wars: Episode VII is slated to reach theaters in 2015.