Nobody knows anything about Star Wars: Episode VII. Well, okay, that’s not entirely true. We know the basics. We know J.J. Abrams is directing it, and co-writing it with Lawrence Kasdan. We know it’s the first film of a new trilogy, and of a larger Star Wars cross-media push now that George Lucas’ beloved fictional universe is under the banner of the Mouse. Aaaaaaand…well, that’s pretty much it. Everything else is rumor and speculation. Now some rumors border on the inevitable, such as the involvement of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill, but no matter how almost certain that possibility may be, until it’s in a Disney press release, it ain’t confirmed.
Consider, then, the plight of Harrison Ford, making the rounds for Ender’s Game and doomed to be faced with variations of “Are you now or have you ever been playing Han Solo in Episode VII?” on every talk show couch that bears his weight between now and whenever they make it official. How many times can you not-answer the same question before you go on a killing spree? Thankfully Ford is a pro, and has been dodging this sort of question for 30+ years, but I always enjoy seeing the guy grouse and grumble his way through the situation with his scruffy, nerf-herding charm. In a recent appearance on The Graham Norton Show, Ford had the Ep VII lobbed at him for the 80 bazillionth time, and while his usual hemming and hawing is always fun to watch, this time he threw Benedict Cumberbatch into the path of the bus, but also managed to make Cumberbatch’s day in a way that’s charming to see.
Talk show interviews are usually so generic and sound bite-y, it’s really cool to see a genuine exchange like the one above. Whether Ford is actually a big Cumberbatch fan or just being gracious to a fellow actor, watching Cumberbatch’s inner eight-year-old momentarily lose his mind over the fact that Han Solo just complimented him is something I think everybody grew up with Ford as one of the brightest stars of our pop culture universe can relate to, and it definitely put a smile on my face.
Given that Cumberbatch is kind of hot stuff thanks to Sherlock and Star Trek Into Darkness, and since he worked with J.J. Abrams on the latter, it was inevitable that his name would be thrown into the Episode VII rumor hat. And naturally, he hasn’t been able to say yea or nay, because that’s not how this kind of thing works. I would love to see the guy in a Star Wars role, though. Hell, between that, Sherlock, and his role voicing Smaug the dude’s filling up his geek-icon bingo card at an impressive rate. I have no doubt he would give good Sith.
Who knows, maybe he’ll be the guy who kills Han Solo…