Disney has a good shot at dominating both the global and U.S. box office in 2015 (despite some intense competition), between Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron and Lucasfilm's Star Wars: Episode VII invading theaters that year. Both tentpoles will begin filming around the same time in 2014, yet so far it's only been Joss Whedon's superhero teamup sequel that's made any casting announcements.
Episode VII is expected to bring back Episode IV-VI stars Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill, but otherwise director J.J. Abrams' Star Wars installment is starting from scratch, casting-wise. The biggest name rumored for the movie so far has been Benedict Cumberbatch, but the acclaimed actor (who portrayed the antagonist in Abrams' Star Trek Into Darkness) has denied being made an offer.
Latino Review has fired back against the official denial, though it's (again) worth mentioning that Cumberbatch has never claimed that he won't appear in Episode VII (he only said "No offer has been made."). The site goes on to mention that the actor's role in the next Star Wars film will be "very small," but that it sets him up for a "much bigger" role in Episodes VIII & IX.
In addition, LR is reporting that Saoirse Ronan has auditioned for one of the female lead roles in Episode VII, with the possibilities including a female villain and/or the daughter of Han and Leia Solo. You might recall that the Oscar-nominated actress was previously reported to have been the basis for Scarlet Witch in Avengers: Age of Ultron; though, presently, Elizabeth Olsen is all but officially-verified to play the character in Whedon's film.
Ronan joins a growing list of young actresses who are rumored to have auditioned for a leading role in Episode VII, joining the ranks of Rachel Hurd-Wood (Peter Pan) and Ksenia Solo (Lost Girl). The Hanna and Atonement actress is a plausible rumored pick, in part because she already has an established connection to Disney and Lucasfilm through her experience with Marvel; not to mention, she was going to headline the Mouse House's Order of the Seven before the Snow White-inspired project was put into turnaround. Moreover, Ronan has a number of acclaimed performances under her belt, yet she hasn't been given a franchise to call her own just yet (hint, hint).
Cumberbatch, who shared the screen (briefly) with Ronan in Atonement, had been previously rumored to play a Sith Lord in the third Star Wars trilogy (beginning with Abrams' Episode VII). That story aligns with the latest claim from LR, with the suggestion being that Cumberbatch as the antagonist will be a (if you will pardon the wording) phantom menace in Abrams' film, who is biding his time and planning to take on a new apprentice (Ronan?) - maybe seeking counsel from his deceased master, Darth Sidious (a.k.a. Emperor Palpatine)?
That's pure speculative reasoning that is based on unsubstantiated rumors (in other words, we're spitballing), so take it as such. However, it is worth noting that some of the recent Episode VII rumors fit smoothly with one another. In addition, they suggest how the story and script by Oscar-winner Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3) might thread elements from previous Star Wars movies into the narrative fabric of a new installment without it feeling derivative or unnecessary (see in related news: the Star Wars spinoffs being origin stories for characters like Han Solo).
Let us know if you are hoping for Benedict Cumberbatch and Saoirse Ronan to be cast in Episode VII, and whether you would prefer to see them both play heroes, villains or a combination of the two.
Star Wars: Episode VII is tentatively slated to reach theaters by Summer 2015, though it could wind up delayed until the Winter Holiday Season.
Source: Latino Review