Following a host of official casting announcements and unofficial (but still legit) set photos, Star Wars fans have been forced to sate their appetites with a steady stream of Episode 7 rumors and speculation. As Disney's long turn plan for the franchise begins to take shape, with the hiring of a series of directors, Rian Johnson for Episode 8, Gareth Edwards for the first spin-off movie, and Josh Trank for the second, we still know very little about the new trilogy storyline - as well as whether it will feature direct ties to those non-episodic spin-offs.
Recent rumors have attempted to shed led light on Episode 7 heroes (and villains), connections to the upcoming Star Wars: Rebels animated series, as well as possible cameo appearances from prior J.J. Abrams collaborators. While some were quickly debunked, others remain within the realm of possibility, and today we're adding another rumor to the ever-growing stack - a rumor that, if true, opens-up interesting new possibilities for what viewers might see when Episode 7 hits theaters in 2015.
The latest (unsubstantiated) report comes from the UK's Daily Mail - building off a prior report from Latino Review - and suggests that Carrie Fisher‘s daughter, Billie Lourd, will appear in Episode 7 as a young Princess Leia. It was originally believed that Lourd would simply be given a cameo in the film but The Daily Mail's report suggests that, even if her screen time remains brief, fans will be treated to at least one Leia flashback.
According to The Daily Mail post:
- Lourd will feature in flashback scenes as a younger version of Princess Leia.
- Director J.J. Abrams is said to have chosen her to play a young version of her mother's character because of their visual similarities.
- A source told The Sun newspaper: "Billie flew into the UK to join her mother earlier this month."
- She will even have her hair tied up in Princess Leia-style buns.
- Carrie backed the move as she wanted somebody in her family to play her most famous role.
For those unfamiliar with Lourd, the actor is about to turn 22 (on July 17th). It's likely that, if she does appear as Leia, Abrams intends to flesh out story lines (or character interactions) that pre-date adult Leia's introduction in Episode 4: A New Hope). If so, the character will likely be in her mid-to-late teens (since Leia and Luke were both 19 at the time of Episode 4). Maybe the director intends to provide backstory for a new trilogy character by retrofitting a previously unseen history with Leia?
Still, considering the write-up asserts Lourd will appear in flashback scenes (plural), it's also possible that the filmmaker intends to fill-in Leia's side of events that audiences had only seen glimpses of before - such as her imprisonment at the hands of Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin or her actions between the end of Episode 4 and the Battle of Hoth in Episode 5. Fisher has previously indicated that she's excited about further fleshing-out Princess Leia in Episode 7 - which could mean that moments from her past will also be expanded.
Now, the bigger question becomes: will we see flashbacks for other original trilogy cast members - or are the Leia flashbacks solely designed to add context for a key Episode 7 element (either story or a new character)? No doubt, audiences would probably enjoy seeing flashbacks for additional fan-favorite characters (like Luke) but unless there's an important Episode 7 connection, is there really anything else we need to know about most of the original trilogy characters - especially since a full Han Solo spin-off film is also all but confirmed?
As for Lourd, the actress is an untested newcomer but it's doubtful that Abrams will be using her for lengthy scenes of Princess Leia dialogue. Instead, as the report suggests, it sounds as though Abrams is mostly taking advantage of mother/daughter visual similarities - meaning that Lourd probably won't be doing a significant amount of intricate acting. That said, just because she's untested, doesn't necessarily mean that Lourd wouldn't be able to deliver a solid retro turn as Leia - if that's what Abrams actually needs.
As with prior Star Wars rumors, take all of this with a grain of salt until official confirmation comes through the line. Nevertheless, this rumor is certainly more believable than some - and would make sense in the context of the larger Episode 7 production.
Star Wars: Episode 7 opens in theaters on December 18th, 2015. The first Star Wars spin-off (whatever it may be) is expected to reach theaters in 2016.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for any future updates on Star Wars, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.
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