Screen Rant Underground Podcast listeners - who tuned in for the SRU podcast crew's New York Comic-Con 2013 recap installment - know that our staff has grown just as tired of reporting Star Wars: Episode VII rumors as the general fanbase is of having few official details to fuel speculation (in the correct direction, that is).
As it stands, all we know for certain is that Star Trek Into Darkness director J.J. Abrams is drawing from a screenplay written by Toy Story 3's Oscar-winning screenwriter, Michael Arndt (based on material cooked up by George Lucas), with an unspecified 2015 release date in mind... maybe.
Beyond that, it's anyone's guess, as to whether the storyline for Episode VII will resemble the journeys of Anakin and Luke Skywalker in Episodes I-VI (featuring a female protagonist, as has been rumored) - or something else altogether, like a conflict that turns the classic Jedi versus Sith battle on its head, as unlikely as that may seem.
That said, out of all the original and/or prequel trilogy cast members that've so far been rumored to return in the seventh Star Wars installment, one could argue that the most reasonable choice to come back is C-3PO - with his counterpart R2-D2 - since the protocol droid ought to still be functioning when Episode VII begins (not to mention, he's one of the few characters that has appeared in all six Star Wars movies to date).
Question is, will Anthony Daniels reprise as the golden-plated robot (fluent in "over six million forms of communication") in Episode VII? Well, here is what the actor said at his spotlight panel at NYCC 2013, as reported by Film Buff Online (hat tip to Cinemablend):
“Walls have ears. And we know what they look like. They’re very big ears…” the man inside the C-3P0 costume stated as to why he wouldn’t be speaking at all about the impending sequel while at the same time pantomiming a set of Mickey Mouse ears... However, towards the end of the panel, Daniels was asked about being the only actor who appeared in all six episodes of the franchise and “maybe seven?”
“Yes, I am the only actor to be in all seven because I feel -” Daniels replied before catching himself. “Six! Whatever.” He then went on to pantomime a call back to his “big ears” comment from the start of the panel.
Good-natured tease by the veteran fan-favorite actor, unofficial confirmation, or a playful way to dodge being hunted down by Abrams, along with producers Bryan Burk and Kathleen Kennedy, for spilling Episode VII secrets ahead of time? It's not exactly the most exciting Star Wars-related topic discussion right now, but as was mentioned earlier, anything in the way of a semi-official update on casting for the film is a refreshing change of pace after months of playing guessing games and reporting on how nearly every young rising star has auditioned for the movie.
Although both C-3PO and R2-D2 were arguably shoehorned within the overarching narrative for Episode I-III (unnecessarily so, as many have pointed out that there were more reasonable options for how to include them), the fact is that the pair of droids have served the purpose of comic relief/audience proxy throughout the Star Wars saga to date. Moreover, it requires little to no stretching of the imagination to buy that the children of Han and Leia Solo and/or the offspring of Luke Skywalker would regard their parents' droids as family - and thus, have kept them around by the time Episode VII begins.
Of course, we've previously discussed the pros and cons of bringing old familiar faces back in Episode VII - that includes the risk of banking too much on nostalgia and callbacks (looking at you, prequel trilogy) rather than allowing for the new Star Wars to stand on its own apart from the old - but, in the case of a character like C-3PO, that should help more in terms of bridging the generational gap, rather than holding up progress.
Do you want to see C-3PO (along with R2-D2, naturally) back in Episode VII? Or would you rather that the film introduce new droid sidekicks to go along with a new generation of heroes?
Star Wars: Episode VII is tentatively slated to open in theaters in Summer 2015, but it may not arrive until November of that year.