‘Star Wars: Episode 7′ to Use a Cast of Unknowns?

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Star Wars A Long Time Ago Title Star Wars: Episode 7 to Use a Cast of Unknowns?

The next two years or so are big ones for Hollywood blockbusters, with a host of sequels, three-quels, reboots and potential franchise-starters all crowding the multiplexes of America. The granddaddy of them all, however, might just be director J.J. Abrams hotly-anticipated Star Wars: Episode VII.

While the plot details remain cloaked in secrecy, which is to be expected with Abrams and his “mystery box” PR strategy, by now we know a few more things than we did at this time last year. Episode VII will take place 30 years after 1983′s Return of the Jedi, Girls star Adam Driver is reportedly in final talks to play the main villain, there’s a chance that Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhem may return as the fan-favorite Wookie alongside original stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford, and Star Wars 7 will be followed by standalone “origins” movies possibly featuring Han Solo and bounty hunter Boba Fett.

Many of the recent casting rumors have pointed toward relative unknowns and newcomers being approached for roles. The shortlist for Episode VII‘s coveted young male lead supposedly contains Attack the Block star John BoyegaBreaking Bad‘s Jesse Plemons and Ed Speleers of Downton Abbey. 12 Years a Slave Oscar nominee Lupita Nyong’o is reportedly in the running for a role as well. Could the younger generation of cast members wind up being almost exclusively made up of unknown actors?

According to Lost alum Dominic Monaghan, this is exactly what J.J. Abrams has in mind. In an interview with DweebCast (via Metro), Monaghan talked about whether or not he’d been approached for a role, saying “We talked about it a few times. Once I knew that he was doing ‘Star Wars’ I sent him a little congratulatory message and stuff.” He went on to possibly spill the beans on Abrams’ casting strategy:

We’ve talked a few times about it and he said “We’re putting together a cast of unknowns – we want to follow the ’77 ‘New Hope’ cast because obviously Harrison Ford wasn’t well known at that point, Mark Hamill wasn’t and Carrie Fisher wasn’t either.

Dominic Monaghan in Lost 570x294 Star Wars: Episode 7 to Use a Cast of Unknowns?

According to Monaghan, Abrams’ reasoning is less trying to recapture the lightning in the bottle of the 1977 original than keeping the focus off of a handful of famous faces wielding lightsabers, saying:

What he said was, we don’t want to fall into that mistake of people going “Oh it’s that guy from that thing!” and then you’re completely out of the ‘Star Wars’ universe.

Were he offered a role, would Monaghan be game? Perhaps unsurprisingly, he answered: “Give me a lightsaber, I’ll do anything.”

Much of what we know about the next chapter in the saga is either conjecture or unconfirmed, with the buzz around Star Wars 7 mainly a swirl of rumors, such as the report that Gary Oldman and Benedict Cumberbatch have been offered the same role or that the plot for the new film will significantly borrow from the Star Wars Extended Universe (although this is quite likely true to some degree).

With this in mind, is this a case of Monaghan telling tales out of school? In the realm of high-level paranoid thinking the question would be: Did Abrams put him up to a sly bit of redirection? Does it matter either way?

Best TV Movie Weapons Star Wars Lightsaber Star Wars: Episode 7 to Use a Cast of Unknowns?

The casting rumors already suggest that the next generation of Jedi and Sith will consist of lesser-known talent, so there could be some truth to this. Audiences will of course pack theaters to see the original cast return to the roles that launched their stars into orbit, but this is Star Wars – the franchise itself gets the top billing.

Still, we’ve got more than a year a half of rumors and potential rumors to go, and given Abrams’ level of secrecy, we’ll have to take what information we can get in the meantime.


Star Wars: Episode VII will be released on December 18th, 2015.

Source: Metro

Follow Anthony Vieira on Twitter @malaclyptic
TAGS: Star wars
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  1. Dominic Monaghan isn’t exactly an unknown. He played Merry Brandybuck in “The Lord of the Rings Trilogy”. People would go “Oh it’s one of the hobbits from The Lord of the Rings!” Or at least I would.

    • I believe you misunderstood. He is he source for the rumor that it will be unknowns. Not the unknown.

  2. Dominick would make a good Jedi…

    That was one standout difference from the OT vs the PT. The PT was full of familiar faces.

    The fact that the news is that Abrams will use unknown actors is sort of ironic, though, considering that almost everything about this movie us UNKNOWN still.

    • Coincidental, not ironic.

  3. The only way to go to properly utilize the force on screen!

  4. “Cast of unknowns”…(snort, giggle, guffaw-in-training): Heck, I’m still trying to figure out who everyone is by the time I get through the fourth movie they made@

  5. JJ Abrams is a mimic. That’s neither an insult nor a compliment. It’s just how he operates. For that reason, it makes perfect sense that he would want to cast unknown actors in the young, lead roles. Because that’s how Star Wars: A New Hope was.

    Will Disney/Lucasfilm be comfortable doing that, when there are surely hordes of well-known actors who would love to be in this film? Who knows. Star Wars can sell itself as a brand, without needed as much actor-name-recognition as most film franchises…

    • Unknowns are also cheap. That’s why they try that in Marvel.

      • They also do not have as much baggage of previous roles they have played.

        • It’s also yet another rumor, following a host of other rumors, which is completely in keeping with Abrams’ hard-on for total secrecy.

          The guy seriously has a problem, when he can’t even announce actors who have been cast in a film.

          I’d bet money that he’ll have at least a half dozen camera flares in the movie as well.

          • Cool. So he’ll have fewer lens flares than George Lucas? That’d be ironic.

            • What?! I’m certainly no George Lucas fan, but he has never been known for camera/lens flares. The visual effect is almost tied singularly to Abrams. Even Abrams himself has expressed regret for using it so much. Think before you take the time to comment.

              • Go watch Star Wars, dude. It’s all over the prequels. If you don’t think that counts, because you’re trying to be pretentious about it, it’s used throughout the Original Trilogy as well. Here’s one example


                J.J. definitely uses it a lot, but he’s heavily inspired by Lucas. Simon Pegg probably summed up the reason J.J. or more known for the technique. http://www.giantfreakinrobot.com/scifi/joke-jj-abrams-lens-flares-simon-pegg-fck.html

                The fact that you dig in your heels on this point makes your comment asking me to think before I post even more laughable.

              • Dude, acting pretentious about it doesn’t make you look intelligent. Go watch Star Wars. If you miss the lens flare, you’re blind.

  6. he’s a pretty sympathetic actor, which would give the movie some heart

  7. So this is either a red herring to keep people off guard (kind of like the Khan “surprise in the last Star Trek that was not much of a surprise), or as other posters have said he is trying to emulate some of what Lucas did with the casting of the original movie. That said does this mean all of the movie sites will start doing breaking news stories announcing castings of people nobody knows?

  8. I think the cast will include both – some well-known stars and some new/relatively new, fresh faces. New Hope had unknows in Hamill, Fisher and Ford, but it also featured Alec Guinness and James Earl Jones.

  9. Thank god for that. More movies need to use unknowns.

    • My guess is to Jesse Plemons as in the rumor. And also Stephanie Hunt. She was with Jesse in the Friday Night Lights series. And last year the ABC series How to live with your parents. My gosh the body on her is to see.Way hotter than the girl in Transformers.

  10. Another Star Wars casting news with a question mark at the end? Please, cut it out. Enough is enough. I can’t take it anymore. :(

  11. No internet back then! There are no unknowns these days. :-)

    • Well, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford were not technically unknown before Star Wars. Just low-profile relative to the average leads of a huge film.

  12. JJ does a great job with casting…. for example: The kids in Super 8 all did a fine job and made us care about them. It has NOTHING to do with payroll, especially with a film of this scope and the rest of the trilogy.

  13. Unknowns would be a great way to go. You’ll bond with the characters more if your not saying to yourself “oh thats him/her from this and that” or “I dont think they cast him well he was good as…… but not for this role”

    If this is true and there are still no confrimations I for one will be happy.

  14. I’d still consider it a COLOSSAL WASTE not to include Jake Abel as an offspring of Luke Skywalker. He looks like a perfect mix of Luke and Anakin and not having him in Ep. 7 would be unforgiveable. Just google his pictures. He IS a Skywalker…

    The rest may be unknowns for what it’s worth. The original cast used to be unknows, too…

  15. Uh, SW:ANH was cast with unknowns. Everything produced after Jedi is out the window. The only things that are likely to happen are, Luke will restore the Jedi order, and Han and Leia will be married. Possibly, we will see the return of the Sith.