Saturday, May 3, 2014

Star Wars Episode VII Cast - CatholicSkywalker's Thoughts

I know I am a little late to the party, but it has been an incredibly busy week.

A few days ago they announced the cast of the new Star Wars movie.  While details are sparse, here are my initial reactions.

I cannot tell you how excited I am that the original leads (Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford) as well as Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Kenny Baker (R2-D2), and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) are all returning.  And they look pretty darn good.  Someone on Aintitcool mentioned that it looks like Hamill dropped about 60 pounds in the past year.

To see the cast reunited not only fills me with nostalgia, but excitement.  Star Wars isn't just lightsabers and Death Stars.  We care about Luke, Han, and Leia.  The last time we left them, they had a happy ending.  But now they once more being thrust into danger and that has me worried.

Still no Lando, though.  Maybe he'll pop up half way through Episode VIII.


I know that some people might still feel burned by the last round of unknown actor cast for the Prequels, I feel different about this group.  I am not sure what their dynamic will be.  I am also unsure about their talents and charisma.  But JJ Abrams has an eye for casting.

He has a knack for taking unknowns, putting them into lead roles, and having great success.  Just look at his track record:

Felicity: Kerri Russel
Alias: Jennifer Garner
Lost: Evangeline Lily
Star Trek: Chris Pine

I think Abrams knows his vision and finds actors who not only look the part but can execute that vision.

There were some real surprises.  I never even thought that Max Von Sydow was in the running.  I am stoked at the idea of Ming the Merciless taking a lead role in Star Wars.  And with Sydow, Peter Cushing, and Christopher Lee, I think Star Wars won the evil British guy hat trick.

Oscar Isaac's is also an actor I have been following for awhile.  I loved his performance in The Nativity Story as St. Joseph.  He also has a chameleon quality, since he appears so different in every movie in which I've seen him.

But the actor that has me the most excited is Andy Serkis.  He is THE motion capture actor.  It's hard for me to describe the mad respect I have for him, because he was a pioneer in creating amazing characters through motion capture performance.  No one does it better than him.  People often look to his Gollum and rightly so.  But I am riveted by his Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  He can devastate, intimidate, and inspire with the simplest looks.

The reason why the addition of Serkis has me excited is at the prospect of an amazing CGI character.  I know I shouldn't assume that he will be doing motion capture.  He is a fantastic actor in his own skin.  But Star Wars has never really had a CGI character who was at the same level as Gollum.  Jar Jar was a failed attempt at humor.  The Prequel Yoda was pretty good.  But because the characters never reach the immense level of believability and reality that Gollum had.  What they were missing was an expert actor informing every level of the performance.  I desperately want to know who Serkis is playing, because I think it will be awesome.

And I just have to say that the primary reason I'm glad Adam Driver is in this movie is that it means the won't cast him as Nightwing for Batman vs. Superman

What are your thoughts?

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