The start of production on Star Wars: Episode VII is only a week away, but the announcement of its principal cast members has done little to slow the tide of rumors and speculation about the movie. The fervor surrounding Star Wars: Episode VII is hardly surprising, considering it's easily one of the biggest upcoming movie releases of the next few years, but rumor saturation has certainly made it harder to separate the wheat from the chaff.
One of the big questions surrounding Star Wars: Episode VII is that of exactly what the movie's subtitle will be, since after six subtitled movies it can be safely assumed that Disney's trilogy won't just stick to numbers. This is also one element that notoriously secretive director J.J. Abrams would understandably want to keep under wraps, since anything other than a totally vague and generic subtitle would inevitably give away hints about the story (The Empire Strikes Back is a particularly salient example of this).
According to AICN, multiple sources claim that the current working title for Star Wars: Episode VII is The Ancient Fear. Abrams did not respond when asked for his comment on this, so it will have to remain rumor for now. The Ancient Fear does kind of work as a thematic reversal of A New Hope, but nonetheless it still sounds a little cheesy (even by Star Wars standards, arguably). Perhaps it will just take some getting used to, or perhaps Disney will end up selecting a different title and we won't have to get used to it at all.
One of the sources that gave offered a tip about Star Wars: Episode VII's possible title also added that, "it refers to Max Von Sydow's villain who makes Pazuzu look like a pussy!" Putting aside the fact "ancient" is a bit of an unfair descriptor for Von Sydow (he's currently a handsome and relatively youthful-looking 85 year-old), this would make him the second villain of the movie alongside Adam Driver's character, who is said to be the equivalent to Darth Vader. Does that mean that Von Sydow will be an analog for Emperor Palpatine?
Abrams, along with screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, recently celebrated Star Wars Day with a video selfie that promised more casting announcements are on the way. Sure enough, the long-standing rumors that Zac Efron and Lupita Nyong'o will be playing major roles continue to persist. Hollywood Gossip reports that "a source close to the production" and "several obsessive Star Wars fans" are claiming there's new evidence to suggest that Efron and Nyong'o have been cast, though they don't give details on what this evidence actually is.
Efron confirmed that he was in talks for Star Wars: Episode VII last summer and recently hinted that there are "irons in the fire." Meanwhile, multiple sources have claimed that Nyong'o also met with Abrams to discuss a lead role a while back, though she recently boarded Disney's Jungle Book live-action film adaptation. However, the Oscar-winning Nyong'o's role in the latter project may amount to little more than a small voice-acting one, and with filming on Episode VII about to begin there might not be any production overlap between the two Disney-backed features.
Even with so many major actors already cast, Star Wars' traditionally large ensemble casts mean that there's still room for more significant characters to be cast, and talk surrounding the movie indicates that there's still one more lead female role to be cast. Nyong'o isn't the only person who's rumored to be still circling that currently-unfilled Episode VII role, though, so we'll have to wait and see how this all shakes out.
Do you think Star Wars Episode VII: The Ancient Fear has a good ring to it? Tell us what you think of this potential subtitle in the comments.
Star Wars: Episode VII will arrive in theaters on December 18, 2015.