While J.J. Abrams continues to claim that Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy and he are still attempting to hash out the story for Star Wars: Episode 7, there already is a completed script draft by screenwriter Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3), indicating that his evasive answers on the topic of Star Wars may be an attempt to deflect attention while focusing on the present: promoting Star Trek Into Darkness.
Once the Star Trek sequel approaches the end of its theatrical run, it'll be all Star Wars, all the time, until (and after) the saga returns to theaters in 2015. And this important date brings us to the first new character casting rumor which claims that Jonathan Rhys Meyers is in talks to star in the untitled Episode VII in what will likely be a minimum of three pictures.
The rumor comes from Latino-Review who have a history with nailing Marvel Studios scoops up until recently, where an Iron Man 3 post-credits sequence scoop and a Fantastic Four exclusive were proven false. Still, the subject here is as interesting as the timing of the rumor and its implications.
J.J. Abrams fans will find Jonathan Rhys Meyers familiar for his supporting role in Mission: Impossible III but he's more well known for his lead part in The Tudors, which earned multiple awards and four seasons on Showtime. His Tudors co-star, Henry Cavill, has launched a film career of his own, leading The Immortals last year and Man of Steel next month. As for Meyers' upcoming roles, he's starring in NBC's Dracula and has a major role in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, which hits theaters in August.
Assuming Star Wars is still on track to return to theaters by 2015, and Disney will make absolutely sure it is, that means it begins filming in early 2014 at the latest. It's also a good indicator of when fans may begin hearing about casting. Scottish born Ewan McGregor was cast as the iconic Obi-Wan Kenobi for the Star Wars prequel trilogy in June 1997 - a full two years (short a month) before The Phantom Menace opened in theaters.
What does that mean for Episode 7? Disney will have a major presence at Comic-Con with their other pop culture (Hulk) smash franchise, Marvel, likely promoting Thor: The Dark World and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., both of which launch this fall. The world renown event could be host to Star Wars announcements should Disney host panels, but the more likely venue for such reveals and celebrity appearances for Star Wars will be at D23 this August. The now-biennial Disney fan club event was heavily criticized in 2011 despite its high-profile guests, but promises an improved show with even bigger presentations this time around. It's a certainty that Star Wars will be a part of the show.
The bigger question is what role Meyers could potentially be playing. Is he the lead, or key supporting character behind the frequently rumored female lead? Would this character be a Jedi? A villain?
Star Wars Episode VII is expected to release in summer 2015.
Let me know on Twitter @rob_keyes if you'd like to see Jonathan Rhys Meyers join the franchise!