At this point, Star Wars: Episode VII is already deep in production. They’re so deep, in fact, they actually took a two-week hiatus while returning star Harrison Ford recovered from surgery on the leg he broke on set, and are now back filming again, as you can clearly see in all of those set photos that popped up over the last couple days. This far into principal photography you expect most of the cast to be set, but that’s not going to stop J.J. Abrams from finding a spot for an old pal, in this case former Heroes star Greg Grunberg, who has reportedly joined the cast.
Not only has Grunberg worked with Abrams a ton in the past, appearing in the likes of Mission: Impossible III, Alias, even all the way to Felicity (he also had a small role in 2009’s Star Trek, voicing James Kirk’s stepdad), the two go even further back than that. They’re actually childhood friends, and Grunberg even participated in those movies that Abrams made as a kid in the late 1970s and loves to talk about so much.
As happens so often in this magical time of social media ubiquity, we found out about this news via Twitter. Grunberg took to the short form communication tool and released the following message:
Yes @smgulz it IS safe to assume I have a role in #StarWarsEpisodeVII – If I say more than that, JJ will have me killed.
— Greg Grunberg (@greggrunberg) September 11, 2014
While we hope that Abrams is above actually assassinating a friend he’s had since childhood, we still expect things like abduction and torture to still be on the table, so Grunberg is probably smart not to unveil any further details or he could be facing dire consequences. Everyone is well aware how much Abrams values secrecy. All we know is what’s in this tweet, and frankly, you can’t pack too much into 140 characters, we’ve tried.
While it may seem unusual to add someone to the cast at this stage of filming, it’s probably a safe bet that Grunberg’s role isn’t going to be particularly massive. If anything, it’s probably going to be a glorified extra, maybe he’ll have a line or two, maybe he’ll be buried under layers of make up, prosthetics, and CGI, but you probably won’t be seeing Grunberg save any cheerleaders this time around. Maybe he’ll get killed off, that would be pretty sweet, dying in a Star Wars movie.
Still, it must be kind of awesome to be friends with Abrams if he keeps putting you in his movies. As we’ve seen lately with every other celebrity begging for a role, any role, in a Star Wars movie, Grunberg, who recently starred in the stellar blockbuster Big Ass Spider (as well as in a recurring role on the Jennifer Love Hewitt prostitution drama The Client List), can just call up his old buddy and say, “Bro, put me in your movie,” and it happens. Man, none of my childhood friendships turned out like that at all.
Star Wars: Episode VII opens everywhere December 18, 2015.