A Considered Star Wars Casting Call Speculation

Originally published on Fictionphile.com.

http://fictionphile.com/a-considered-star-wars-casting-call-speculation/


Star Wars casting call speculationAt the end of June, a Star Wars casting call leaked. You might have thought it was a trap, but it’s been confirmed by myriad trustworthy sites with reputable deep-background sources.

Reports say these are lead characters, and we’re just going to run with that. Let’s hope there aren’t any one-line characters listed here to throw us off.

Reactions to this call range from chauvinism to “Uh, that’s not in the Expanded Universe.” With a few months having passed without further, concrete word, let’s take an open-minded approach to speculation and see what this relatively ambiguous Star Wars Episode 7 casting call might reveal.

First, the call itself:

Late-teen female, independent, good sense of humour, fit.
Young twenty-something male, witty and smart, fit but not traditionally good looking.
A late twentysomething male, fit, handsome and confident.
Seventy-something male, with strong opinions and tough demeanour. Also doesn’ t need to be particularly fit.
A second young female, also late teens, tough, smart and fit.
Forty something male, fit, military type.
Thirtysomething male, intellectual. Apparently doesn’t need to be fit.

The Hero

Many jumped to the conclusion that the topmost character description is indeed that of the hero.

Late-teen female, independent, good sense of humour, fit.

I tend to agree. We know it has to focus on the children of either Luke or Leia, as the story is a Skywalker story — even if the kid’s last name could be Solo. Having a female role would instantly shake the trilogy up, since we won’t cry “haven’t we seen this before?”

Keep in mind that “hero” is a loose term in Star Wars, as there are many heroes involved. The protagonist however, is always Luke, even if Han sticks in the mind most. So there’s room for boys, and we’ll get to them later.

Late teen puts this lady right where we met Luke, age-wise, which also suggests this is the lead character. Star Wars doesn’t mind the old guys, but it has always conveyed the spirit of youth and enthusiasm. It needs a central character with one foot in childhood and one foot in adulthood, which late teen gets you.

Now, really the only one with a sense of humor in Star Wars is Han Solo, and maybe Obi-Wan. Not that humor is genetic. But Han being the father would explain a healthy dose passed on by example. Sure, Uncle Han could be an influence on the young kids, but it doesn’t make sense for Luke to be the father of the children.

Here’s why. These guys need to hit the ground running. No one wants to spend the first third of Episode 7 learning who Luke’s baby mama is before we jump into the story. Leia and Han are already established as a couple, so offsprings are a foregone conclusion. It is a fairy tale, after all, and fairy tales don’t usually include infertility problems.

Now, granted, it could be that this kind of confusion is wanted. Maybe it is Luke’s kid, or maybe our hero is a nobody like Anakin. Perhaps The Force had two immaculate conceptions chambered. But I find this unlikely because the plot, which will include the original characters, would be too fragmented from jumping back and forth between original main characters and new main characters.

Also, fit implies Jedi. I guess Padme was fit, but that’s not something they probably looked for when casting. They weren’t looking to cast the next Jabba the Hutt, but “fit” implies athleticism. Also, it’s interesting to note that some men are called “handsome” but no women are referred to as “pretty” or “beautiful.” Leaving that kind of descriptor out in lieu of “fit” makes me think it’s more important that we believe she can handle herself in a fight.

Independant is an interesting criteria, as well. First off, one could argue that independence is a heroic trait. But Luke was not incredibly independant in A New Hope. He was a lot of things, but he didn’t scream independant.

This Star Was is rumored to be set about three decades after Episode 6. By now, the Rebels have probably pushed back the Empire’s remnants to a managable level. The new nation, as it were, would have a new, fierce sense of independence much like America circa 1776. They’ve shrugged off the shackles of their oppressor.

Any child of Han Solo and Leia Organa would be independant. That’s pretty much a fact. Perhaps this character, coming into womanhood, wants to explore the universe. To join some new cause. Independance, however, is usually not classified as such unless it’s in opposition to something — as a word, it doesn’t have to be, but it often is. So, one could assume that she is/wants to be independant from her parents.

The only other time you say independent is when you want to make it clear that someone is capable of living alone. For instance, “My 16-year-old is so independent, she makes her own breakfast and her little sister’s.” This is really the only counter-argument to this being the lead. But this isn’t a story about welfare moms, and even then this could be the lead.

Before we move on to other characters, let’s talk about some of the fan theories circulating about this character. Most of them involve the EU (Expanded Universe). Now, I read the EU, and some of it’s good. But you’ve got to throw all of that out the window. The EU doesn’t have a Harry Potter. There’s no proven formula there that appeals to those outside of the established fanbase. I’m almost 100 percent certain Michael Arndt has never picked up a New Jedi Order installment.

But theories center on this character in the casting call being Jaina Solo, a Force-adept training under Luke (please don’t kill me, Internet, if I get details wrong), as part of the New Jedi Order. It’s a quaint notion. The Jedi Order can be rebuilt, people out there are still being born with Force attunity, and time has a cyclical pattern that can never be broken.

If you’re writing a sequel trilogy from scratch, however, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to make things that stable. The Force can’t be welcomed back with open arms, no questions asked. The Emporer used the Force. Darth Vader used to be a Jedi. And half the population now seems to not even believe the Force is a real thing. Having your main character being a fresh-eyed Padawan ready to make good is a pretty boring premise.

Also, she’s in her late teens. If she takes the Jedi path, she’s going to already be incredibly talented. That, too, seems a little easy for a new trilogy. Where does she go from here? Is there no struggle?

It seems like it would be a far more interesting idea to make her not want to study the Force but HAVE to. She should hide her powers, mistrust them, be scared of them. Then, she should be forced to use them. But movie-goers would want to see the Force right away. My money is on that being left to Luke or someone else, so that she can have that journey.

The Han Solo

I’ve said it on the (still on hiatus) Fictionphile Podcast, but the thing sorely lacking from the prequel trilogy was a Han Solo. If you look at it, the ubiquitous fanboy complaints all have the general theme of the whole thing being too squeaky clean. Han was that edge, and yet he also worked as an analog for the skeptic movie goer. The guy who doesn’t believe in the Force at all. In the prequels, it was hard to deny its existence.

Maybe I’m projecting here, but I hope the screenwriters think the same way. And it would make sense for the next scene stealer character to be young. Disney wants to make lots of spin-offs, and picking the next Harrison Ford is a priority.

Just look at it.

Young twenty-something male, witty and smart, fit but not traditionally good looking.

There’s only one person in the either trilogy who previously fit that bill. I’m not talking about Wedge Antilles.

Here’s where we take a big leap. I think this is our non-Force user. The guy (in this instance) who relies on his wits and maybe his gun. The only problem is, who he is could be — maybe more than any of the others — an infinite number of things.

He could even be a Solo kid. Keeping with the theory that it’s a non-Force user, maybe it skipped him. He’s the older brother dragged into whatever fight the female wants in on. Or maybe he’s already there. Maybe Han and Leia don’t see the need to protect him, because he’s so much like his dad. She’s off studying with Luke or something, which is relatively safe since you’d think they’re keeping their small numbers away from danger while they seek others to train.

But somehow I see there being the need for a romance in this trilogy. We’ve had one in each before. Assuming this Star Wars Episode 7 casting call includes the entire central cast, which it might not, the only chance for romance is for this character to not be related to the Solos.

There are only two female characters here, both late teens. The male characters, other than this young twenty-something, range from 26-79. Now, these calls are never exact. Actors turn up who can play two years either way, you play a little with the make-up, whatever. So late teen could really mean she’s 21 but the filmmakers want her to look young and energetic like a late teen, so the casting director goes for this language.

Regardless, you’re looking at a pretty big age gap if this fella can’t be the love interest, if there is even a love interest. It got pretty creepy in Phantom Menace, but that still made oodles of cash, so I can’t say that modern audiences won’t go for it.

So, call it wishful thinking if you have to, but I’m saying this is the love interest and is not a Solo kid.

SIDENOTE: Of course, they could just flip things and make this a Solo kid and the female the other one, but most of the following could still apply — just flipped.

What is this guy, then? Let’s just call him Han for now. But he doesn’t have to be a smuggler. In fact, if you take the stance that he was smuggling against the Empire, there’s really not a great market for smuggling right now. Not if the rebels played tight post-Episode 6 and didn’t drop the ball.

But I do feel he has to be illegitimate. The word is the sequel trilogy will have a similar tone to the original trilogy. The Mos Eisley Cantina, Jabba the Hutt, the Sarlacc Pitt, Baba Fett, Lando… they are what was missing from the prequels. In any fairy tale, you have to have the royalty and the serfs. You have to show both sides, and make some kind of marriage out of the two. That’s what Han and Leia were. That’s what made their romance far more interesting than Padme and Anakin’s.

It would be interesting if they could play with stereotypes again. Han was a smuggler, but he was smuggling under a totalitarian regime — thus he was actually a hero. Many people look at it like Han was a gangster with a heart of gold, who just decided to become a good guy when he met Luke. The truth, credit to Lucas, is that Han is more nuanced. He’s always been a good guy, but he’s always had to deal with crooks. And sometimes they rub on you if you don’t put up a rough exterior.

But, assuming the Rebels have carved out a relatively democratic peace, the paradigm has shifted. There would have to be trouble in paradise for it to work. His criminality, if any, would need to be written off as moral. It’s possible they could take that route, using the political nature of the prequels.

We will undoubtedly get some political intrigue. You can’t have a climax with an impact galaxy-wide unless politics are in play, and Star Wars likes galaxy-wide consequences. But I foresee this young, non-traditionally handsome buck being some kind of maverick. I suspect any info we get on the political climate will reveal more options here.

SIDENOTE: How awesome would it be if Han asks Chewbacca to go protect his daughter, let’s assume, and the Wookiee gets caught up in the new adventure? I can’t imagine the returning cast participating in the action at all, but an older Wookiee can still tear your arms off.

The Prince(ss)

For some reason, this just called out to me as a reversal of roles. The two cast thus far seems to point to the two young leads, the hero and some kind of sidekick/foil. They’re close in age to each other but not too apart from the others.

This fella, however, is older. He’s meant to be apart. The one thing the first two have in common is humor, something not mentioned for this third character.

A late twentysomething male, fit, handsome and confident.

This, too me, is the blandest of the descriptions. Which, to me, makes perfect sense. This guy is the Paladin. He’s the guy who thinks the younger gentleman is scum. And maybe he’s better looking, so there’s some love triangle stuff going on there with the late-teen female.

I imagine this is our Princess Leia. Someone from aristocracy, someone with class, someone who might need to dirty up a little to fit in. I’m not saying they’re recreating the originals, but if they want to borrow that tone, they need a few elements. That class difference between Leia and Han is a huge source of tension between the original trilogy’s characters, and showing the paupers alongside the princes is a classic way to build a world.

Now, where he comes from is a mystery, of course, along with everything else. If he is in the political mix somehow, he will likely be from a planet we haven’t seen yet. It’d be the start of our movie, essentially, setting up how these people meet. And, if I’m correct in this character being of a certain class stature, him sticking close to home is a reasonable assumption.

It does say he’s fit, which could indicate that he has the need for stuntwork in his future, but so did Leia.

One other possibility is that he’s a Jedi. Perhaps Luke moves fast, rounds up force-adepts, starts schools, etc. Maybe this is one of those students-turned-knights. He is acting as an ambassador or something and one of the Solo kids is attending as well, perhaps with Han or Leia. I have complete faith that Episode 7 will start with a bang, and it’ll probably herald the big baddie for this trilogy. So that kind of set-up would work. Maybe this fella is there as Luke’s Padawan.

Then, his love triangle (because this is the future Jedi, not the past, so the rules might not apply) might be even deeper for this female protagonist. She has to choose between the life her parents want for her and the life she really wants. Put another way, it’d be choosing between being like her mother (Anikin Skywalker’s daughter) or her father.

As crazy as it sounds, it’d be a great opportunity to show a Sith in the making. The spurning of his love for this Han Solo type could make him so enraged that he goes crazy late in the first movie, making him the main Force-using villain for the remainder. So then, just like Luke, she has to go train to be a Jedi in the second installment in order to bring that loon down.

A little too cute and perfect? Maybe… But you have to admit, it fits like a glove.

The Ben Kenobi

Here’s the most bizarre of them all.

Seventy-something male, with strong opinions and tough demeanour. Also doesn’ t need to be particularly fit.

What fanboy wouldn’t see that as Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi in the original series? But wouldn’t that role be filled, naturally, by Luke?

Let’s talk about Luke and Mark Hamill for a moment, here. I don’t think it’s entirely reasonable to think that the screenwriter(s) made Luke essential to the plot. Or any of the returning cast, for that matter. To hinge your “mentor” character on contract negotiations would be ruinous. Sure, they could have just recast if Hamill wasn’t down, but that’s a pretty iffy proposition.

It’s really more natural to just invent a new character. And you know this has to be a mentor of some sort. I’m not sure it has to be a Force user at all. But Star Wars and Michael Arndt both have a thing for crotchety elderly who dispense advice along with insults. No, it didn’t say the character had a sense of humor — but neither did Yoda or the Grandpa from Little Miss Sunshine. Most of their humor came from us, the audience, reacting from their audacity. When Yoda went crazy on Luke after the X-Wing crashed, he wasn’t consciously playing for laughs.

What if it’s Han’s dad? The age seems about right. I only say Han because, if he’s related to someone we know, there’s really no other original cast to relate him to. He may just be a completely unique person we’ve never wondered about. Regardless, I expect him to be indispensable until he dies at the end.

The Other Girl

This is probably the most bland character description.

A second young female, also late teens, tough, smart and fit

If they had even a slight age gap between them, I could say she’s the sister to the character whom I pegged as the lead — or they could be twins like Luke and Leia. But I fear that this is more of a sidekick/buddy casting. Her handmaiden.

It’s reasonable to expect more out of Arndt and Kasden, though. So maybe she’ll be a double agent. Or maybe she’s an alien or has something interesting about her that’s not obvious right now. She’s a wildcard, but hopefully she’s anything but just “the other girl.”

The Bad Guy

OK, so it might just be me, but anytime you see an older “military type” in a casting call, the first thought jumps to it being a bad guy. It is, in fact, somewhat naive to think that everyone on this list is a good guy. The older military fella is the obvious choice — admittedly a little too obvious.

Forty something male, fit, military type.

Maybe it’s because I have a personal love for the Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn, part of the aforementioned EU. Now, again, I doubt Arndt or Kasden has bothered to read the spin-off novels, but this wouldn’t be a bad one to take a page from. It is, in my opinion, the most grounded of all the EU books.

In it, Grand Admiral Thrawn is the last hope for the Empire’s remnants. He’s hidden away in a black hole or something else psuedo-sciencey, along with a few Star Destroyers. He’s a blue-skinned alien with a high rank in a xenophobic regime, because he’s a brilliant tactician. Thrawn finds a very old Dark Jedi (Sith) to help him, which is eerily close to the seventy-year-old cast member, and what seemed like an easy mop-up job turns into possible extinction.

That KIND of idea, at the very least, has a lot of merit to it. You start the series with Episode 1. The galaxy is ostensibly perfect. By the end of Episode 3, it’s collapsed. In Episode 4, there’s A New Hope, which is both Luke and the Rebel Alliance. Episode 6 ends with the Rebel Alliance’s symbolic triumph. Episode 7 could be the realization that the fight isn’t that easy. Episode 9 could close with real, everlasting peace, bringing the series full circle and in balance.

What’s the alternative? This military “type” is really a leader of the Rebels — though it’s probably Republic now, for PR sake — and he’s just in the mix? Is he a double agent, maybe? Most every other option than a strong bad guy is weak. We’ve had great Lightsaber duelists and Sith wizards as enemies, and they got beat. A great military leader would be a bigger obstacle to contend with, in my opinion, and it’d bring the series back to reality for just a second. I can just see the opening crawl now. Hell, the title would be “A Fragile Peace.”

Also, and let’s not get too political, but we’ve seen how tough insurgents can be to remove. Having a terrifyingly effective leader of these remnants, a Genghis Khan, would be relevant to our modern fears and sensibilities.

The Missing Piece

Allow me to share, again, the most boring and non-descriptive casting call line ever:

Thirtysomething male, intellectual. Apparently doesn’t need to be fit.

Here’s how I see this character: Don’t discount him. This is where we get something brilliant and unique, I would wager.

First of all, let’s take the smile inducing “Apparently doesn’t need to be fit.” You can almost hear the casting agent or whatnot calling up someone in the know and asking:

“OK, so is this thirtysomething guy… good looking? He a looker?”
“Well, he doesn’t have to be.”
“Yeah, OK. But everyone else so far has been fit. I mean, this guy doesn’t have a gut, does he?”
“Could be.”
“You’re not wanting a gut, though. If we like an actor without a gut, that’s OK?”
“Either way.”

For some reason, this tells me they care more about the character. Obviously, casting call sheets don’t tell you anything about acting ability or broadness of range. The people behind the desk when you walk in to audition know a lot more than you do. This is where we will either get a brilliant established actor or we will find a diamond in the rough.

I’ve never seen a character in Star Wars, apart from Yoda or C-3PO, who I’d classify as intellectual. That’s good news. It means the writers aren’t just going back to the well. This fella will either be an inventive bad guy or a memorable hero. It’s a character integral to THIS story that makes it different from every other story.

Of course, if this trilogy takes the approach that the Jedi Order is relatively easy to re-establish, then this character could just be a throwaway, contemplative Jedi. That’s how I’d expect it to go if Lucas was writing this, but I feel Arndt has had his hands on the script long enough for him to have gotten rid of superfluous characters by now.

In Conclusion

If Star Wars Episode 7 does actually release in 2015, these speculations aren’t jumping the gun by much. We should expect to hear some major casting decisions soon that will shed some light on things, and soon after that we should have a plot leak or at the very least a synopsis.

In the meantime, let us know in the comments below who you would choose to play these 7 roles for Star Wars Episode 7. Who do you like as the lead? And what kind of characters do you see belonging to these descriptions?

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