As 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.
Here’s the kicker: the reason Mayhew gave, via a tweet from Comicpalooza, is that he pulled out do to filming. Given the date of the con, and the date that filming on Episode VII is supposed to begin, it didn’t take much for fans to put the two things together and come up with the theory that Mayhew is going to appear in the film. This most likely also means that Chewie will be there as well. This seems especially likely when you take into account that 7’3” British thespian has only been in three things since 2008, one of which was an episode of Glee.
If this is true, Mayhew joins Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher, who are all expected to reprise their iconic roles of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia, respectively. When Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan took over the writing duties from Michael Arndt a while back, the speculation was that his script focused more on a new generation, while the Abrams and Kasdan’s version beefed up the roles of the original heroes.
We don’t know much about the plot of Episode VII yet. We’ve learned that the action takes place 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, but that’s about all that is official. There were rumblings the other day that some of the action could be set on Hoth (there’s also a rumor that the first two weeks of production will be in Morocco, which would seem to indicate that part of the film might be set on Tatooine as well). The most steadfast casting rumor, the one that has stuck around the longest, is that Girls star Adam Driver will play the main villain, but even that is up in the air. Just the other day, former Hobbit Dominic Monaghan, who is still pals with Abrams after their time together on Lost, let it slip that, much like the original trilogy, the cast of Episode VII will largely be made up of unknown actors. That approach didn’t work out so well with Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christiansen, but worked out okay with Natalie Portman.
This is, of course, all speculation at the moment. We’re pretty close to the start of production, so you know that at least many of the key pieces must be in place, but Abrams, Disney, and Lucasfilm are all rather well known for their secrecy, so the fact that we really know nothing shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.