It's now less than a week until the release of what's easily the most anticipated movie of all time - Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Already, fans are lining up and advanced ticket sales have broken records, almost guaranteeing that Episode VII will have the largest global box office haul ever.
For up and coming actors like Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, their roles in The Force Awakens could make (or break) their careers. Others will certainly see their profiles heightened and hopefully gain more opportunities after appearing in such an eagerly awaited flick. That's certainly the hope for The Raid 2 actors Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, and Cecep Arif Rahman, who were all cast in mysterious roles for The Force Awakens back in January.
Given that all three actors are talented martial artists - some of the best martial arts stunt coordinators around, frankly - many expect their roles to hinge on that expertise. There's a lot of variety in fighting styles, from Jedi to bounty hunters, and that leaves Uwais, Ruhian and Rahman room to put their own stamp on the Star Wars universe.
Though we still know little about their roles, a leaked image from an upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens tie-in book has a few details. Firstly, the image reveals the names of at least two of their characters: Ruhain is playing Tasu Leech and Uwais is Razoo Quin-Fee, members of the criminal gang, Kanjiklub. Presumably, the smaller and therefore more difficult to identity character is Rahman, but it's hard to tell due to the image's resolution.
How the Kanjiklub factors into The Force Awakens is even less clear, but it's assumed this band of intergalactic criminals will serve as antagonists for Rey, Finn, Han and Chewie. From the minimal text that is legible, the Kanjiklub is described as an Outer Rim gang, which could mean they operate on Jakku or perhaps another of the new planets set to be introduced. Uwais' character, Quin-Fee is also called Leech's lieutenant and that seems to indicate Leech is either Kanjiklub's leader or a high ranking member.
Fights and duels in the Star Wars films have certainly changed since Darth Vader and Obi-Wan crossed sabers in A New Hope, most notably with The Phantom Menace where stunt man and martial artist, Ray Park played Darth Maul. The duel between Maul, Obi-Wan, and Qui-Gon is a high point for the prequels, highlighting an acrobatic fighting style and using digital effects to enhance their movements.
However, though the fight is flashy it doesn't carry the emotional weight of say Luke and Vader's duel in Empire or even Obi-Wan and Anakin's fight at the end of Revenge of Sith. When it comes to The Force Awakens, we're hopeful J.J. Abrams has found a way to marry the impressive skills of Uwais, Ruhian and Rahman with a compelling reason for them fight. If he has, then whatever scuffle sees the Kanjiklub taking part is sure to be spectacular.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens releases in theaters on December 18th, 2015, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.