Star Wars: Episode VII news has been coming fast and furious lately. Production has reportedly already kicked off, though we don’t have any specifics about that, and while the cast is mostly in place, there are still key roles left to fill. Now we’re hearing about a potential casting decision that could occupy one of those vacancies.
The Hollywood Reporter reports that the production is apparently looking to add another cast member, one that appears to be part of the new guard. Disney head Alan Horn recently said that most of the cast is in place, but that there are still spaces available, and Abrams’ pal Dominic Monaghan recently said that the production plans on using largely unknown actors. Both of these statements play into the reports that British actress Maisie Richardson-Sellers may be up for a major role.
Richardson-Sellers definitely fits the unknown requirement. The Oxford-educated actress has no film credits on her resume, though she has a fairly extensive list of stage roles, for which she has garnered positive reviews. We don’t know any of the specifics about the role, and according to the report she has not currently been offered a spot on the roster. “One of the roles yet to be filled is that of a young black or mixed-race woman who may be a descendant of Jedi Knight Ben Kenobi,” and this is the part she is up for. Star Wars has a long history of casting unfamiliar faces. If Richardson-Sellers does indeed land this job, lets us all hope that it is more along the lines of Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher than it is Jake Lloyd or Hayden Christensen.
Though there are sure to be some newcomers to the franchise, Abrams is also likely going to surround them with Star Wars vets. We know that R2-D2 will be back, and Peter Mayhew and Chewbacca have recently returned to the fold. When Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan took over the writing duties from Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3), reports said that their story focuses more on the characters from the original trilogy than the newer generations, which we assume means that Hamill, Ford, and Fisher will all be back.
Episode VII is set 35-years after the events of Return of the Jedi, and the strategy seems to be to ease into the new trilogy with familiar faces. My guess is that the first feature will revolve around the old guard while introducing us to the next generation. From there on, I expect it the show to belong to the new guys. If this is the case, it also explains why they’re only shooting one film at a time. Given the advancing age of the original stars, if they are prominent features of the entire run, it would make sense to film them all at once, or at least in short succession. But if they’re only a big part of one movie, a one off like this makes more sense.