The Star Wars universe is on fire with the recent announcement of the central cast for Episode VII. The original cast of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, and Kenny Baker will join newcomers, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Domhnal Gleeson, Max von Sydow, Andy Serkis, and Daisy Ridley. While this line up has received a lot of praise, Ridley being listed as the only new female newbie is the elephant in the room.
J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy and the rest of the Disney brain trust deserve a lot of credit for casting talented actors who aren’t well-known. One of my concerns with Ben Affleck’s arrival to Gotham City is that I will only see a marquee name in a costume instead of Batman on the silver screen. All of the new cast members, save for Ridley, have all brought a certain gravitas to their past performances, heavily suggesting that with their low-key reputation, we will truly see Sith, Jedi, and all the rest of the classic character types we’ve come to love from Star Wars.
Daisy Ridley’s IMDB page must have received the most views of any actor when the casting news broke because she is the complete unknown in this equation. The British actress being listed as the only new female addition has cast somewhat of a dark cloud over the announcement. It’s important for young people to see themselves in film, but in this case, I don’t think this is a bad thing. In the original trilogy, the chief protagonists were Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia. Carrie Fisher is a household name because of the massive success of Star Wars. Her portrayal of a strong, smart, and confident leader who is not afraid to throw down, as opposed to the usual damsel in distress, along with being the only female lead, made her character stand out more. Most of the production elements revealed about Episode VII has been shrouded in the tradition of Episode IV.
There are more casting announcements forthcoming and hopefully more female actors added to the ensemble. For all we know, Ridley is playing the long-lost cousin of Max Rebo. No matter which way the wind blows, I think J.J Abrams is going to do us Star Wars fans proud come December 18, 2015.
In the meanwhile, I’d recommend breaking out some of the movies featuring the lesser known Star Wars cast members.
Inside Llewyn Davis: My wife and I are the only people on the planet that didn’t like the flick, but Oscar Isaac’s performance was amazing and in serious discussion for an Oscar nomination.
About Time: Domhnall Gleeson stars in this charming romantic comedy with a time traveling twist that is consistent and delightful.
Girls: This HBO series is unapologetic, quirky and cleverly written. Adam Driver plays crazy like a fiddle as the sex craved and self-absorbed Adam Sackler.
Attack the Block: John Boyega is great in it and the movie is beyond hilarious. Aliens invade a London ghetto? What more could you want.