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Star Wars: Episode VII: Sorry Guys, Don’t Expect To See Lando Calrissian Stop By

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Lando CalrissianSo far this week we’ve learned that Star Wars: Episode VII has actually started filming, that the cast is mostly in place, and though we don’t know who a majority of the actors are, we learned that Peter Mayhew, better known as Chewbacca, will be along for the ride. While that’s great, knowing that we’ll get to spend some quality time with one of our old favorites, don’t expect to see everyone we know and love. Reports are circulating that Lando Calrissian, played with an unbelievable amount of space swagger by Billy Dee Williams, will not return to that far away galaxy.

The 77-year-old former spokesman for Colt Malt Liquor has been taking turns around the dance floor on ABC’s hit competition show Dancing With the Stars—he recently pulled out due to a chronic back problem—and when TMZ caught up with him, they naturally broached the subject of Episode VII. Williams’ response to these inquiries was a simple, “I think a lot of people would love to see Lando come back.” We would, Billy Dee, we would. And if you watched him dance, you noticed that, while he may not be as mobile as he once was, he’s still in pretty good shape and still has some moves, and more charm and charisma than you know what to do with.

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Peter Mayhew And Chewbacca Are Back For Star Wars: Episode VII

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ChewbaccaWell, we still don’t know who any of the new additions will be when J.J. Abrams, Disney, and Lucasfilm finally pull the cover off of Star Wars: Episode VII, but at least one familiar face will be there. Peter Mayhew, who plays everyone’s favorite Wookie, Chewbacca, will be back, presumably at the controls of the Millennium Falcon and as ornery as ever. Maybe he’s become even crankier with age; that could be fun.

According to The Hollywood Reporter’s sources, Mayhew joins the other confirmed classic cast member that we know about, R2-D2. Most of us assume that Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford will all be back as Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo, respectively, but so far there’s nothing concrete on that front. When Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan took over the screenwriting duties from Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3), reports were that their story brought the original big three back into the fold, while the earlier drafts focused more on a younger generation of new-jack kids.

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Star Wars: Episode VII Is Already Filming

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Star WarsNeither the fact that J.J. Abrams is keeping secrets, nor the fact that Disney is playing Star Wars: Episode VII close to the vest, should be surprising. That’s standard operating procedure on both fronts. What is surprising, if these latest reports are in fact true, is how well, in today’s hyperaware landscape, they were able to pull it off. Apparently production has already started on the return to that far away galaxy, and they are filming right now. The cast may not be finalized, but that isn’t going to stop them from putting images on film.

We expected production to start soon—the Internet scuttlebutt has been saying May for the last few months—but in a recent interview with THR, Disney Studio Chairman Alan Horn let the news slip. While discussing the casting process, and how much, though not all, of the main pieces are in place, Horn said, in an offhand aside, “We’re actually shooting some of it now.” He didn’t say anything more than that, but that’s enough to get us all chattering.

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Jesse Plemons May Go Gangster, What Does That Mean For Star Wars?

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Jesse PlemonsOne of the names that has been associated with the upcoming Star War: Episode VII for months is Jesse Plemons. Along with Girls star Adam Driver, Plemons has formed the core of the casting rumors that have persisted for a long time. But a new report that links the Breaking Bad star to a Johnny Depp movie that is in the works calls into question whether or not he is actually going to be involved.

THR reports that Plemons, along with Juno Temple (The Dark Knight Rises), is in talks to join the cast of Black Mass, a biopic about notorious Boston gangster Whitey Bulger from Crazy Heart and Out of the Furnace director Scott Cooper. Based on Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill’s best-seller Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob, the film stars Depp, Joel Edgerton, Guy Pearce, and Dakota Johnson. Sounds like kind of a big deal, right?

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Star Wars: Episode VII Could Blast Off With Everyone’s Favorite Wookie

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ChewbaccaAs the widely reported May production start of director J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII approaches, the rumors about George Lucas’ galaxy far, far away have been flying like drunk pigeons. In that spirit, here is another piece of speculation that has been making the rounds regarding an iconic piece of the franchise that may return for the new movie. Evidence seems to indicate that Peter Mayhew, who played everyone’s favorite Wookie, Chewbacca, could come back for another turn at the controls of the Millennium Falcon.

Mayhew was scheduled to appear at the Texas International Comic Con, AKA Comicpalooza, on May 23, though he recently dropped out. That’s not uncommon; this sort of thing happens all the time. Maybe the timing is suspicious, what with everyone saying Episode VII is going to begin filming soon, but it could be coincidence, if you believe in such things.

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Star Wars Prequel Storyboards Reveal A Younger, Mohawked Qui-Gon Jinn

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Qui-Gon HawkEvery once in a while there’s a story that flies under our radar but which simply must be given its moment in the spotlight. The release of more Star Wars concept art is an interesting but hardly earth-shattering semi-regular event these days, and it’ll only become more prevalent in coming years as new Star Wars movies roll into theaters. But for this story we’re looking back, not forward, back to a time before the prequels had erupted through our collective childhoods, covering everything in a sickly sheen of too-pristine CGI and Gungan poop. Because while I’m not sure if The Phantom Menace would have been any better if Qui-Gon Jinn had been sporting a mohawk, that’s an unrealized reality I would totally be willing to take for a test drive.