[Update: Pegg has weighed in on the matter. Scroll down for more.]
Between 1999 and 2001, geek paragon Simon Pegg made his bones with Spaced, a series founded on a philosophy of “by the geeks, for the geeks.” Based out of a comic book shop, the show revolved around geek culture and interests, focusing on the lives of the shop’s employs – notably Tim, Pegg’s character, as passionate an enthusiast for comics, video games, and science fiction as anybody. Tim was an avatar for fanboys and girls alike; he represented our joint love of superheroes, space operas, and all geek fare in between.
Fast forward to today, and Pegg has graduated from playing the geek – not just in Spaced, but in films like Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Paul - to starring in the sort of movies those characters would probably end up seeing themselves. Spaced didn’t care much for Star Trek, but Pegg has taken roles in both of J.J. Abrams’ reboots, as well as Mission: Impossible 3 and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Cornetto trilogy capstone The World’s End, and The Adventures of Tintin. Old Tim has come a long way.
And now Pegg may have his eyes on Tim’s holy grail: a part in Star Wars: Episode VII. Maybe. Possibly. As of now, it’s incredibly unclear, so take all of this well-salted, but reports from IGN Middle East indicate that Pegg was seen on-set during the film’s Abu Dhabi shoot, which only just wrapped. Mere mentions of Star Wars lead to flimflam, subterfuge, and astronomically high levels of secrecy, so what he might have been doing there – particularly in light of the fact that we know the full cast – is something of a mystery.
This, of course, assumes that Pegg was even on-set to begin with. For those keeping score at home, we’ve been in this place before, and the last time Pegg had his name tossed about in discussions of Star Wars casting, he roundly denied the claims. Even last year, Pegg played proactive and quashed any new talk of putting in an appearance in Episode VII in light of his relationship with Trek helmer J.J. Abrams, who everyone knows is holding the reins on Star Wars.
So what does it mean if he was hanging around in Abu Dhabi? It’s tempting to take the bait and assume that he will indeed pop up somewhere in Star Wars: Episode VII‘s plot; it would be appropriate, given how much Spaced focused on Tim’s relationship with the franchise, and Abrams is the type of director to shoot for comfort casting. Pegg is also notoriously awful at predicting his own career trajectory. Remember when, after Shaun of the Dead, he joked about how he wouldn’t run off to be in Mission: Impossible 3? Remember how, years later, when Mission: Impossible 3 became an actual movie, he wound up taking the part of Benji?
At the same time, gossip is gossip, and until official word lets out, it’s best to call a horse a horse. Plus, Spaced, for all its Star Wars love, has some sharp thorns to put in George Lucas’ side; Tim rants about The Phantom Menace to the point of unemployment, and even goes so far as to burn all of his Star Wars memorabilia. Casting the guy who literally put his fandom to the torch in the new film seems an odd choice, and besides that, Star Wars‘ very nature invites rumor-mongering of all stripes. Pegg’s involvement is just the latest rumor to add to the pile.
UPDATE: Whether or not Pegg ultimately winds up making an appearance in Episode VII remains to be seen, but he is, for certain, part of one upcoming Star Wars-related project:
Star Wars: Episode VII arrives in theaters on December 18th, 2015.
Source: IGN Middle East