We know who is in it, when it takes place, and that it is about to start filming at Pinewood Studios in London, England, but one thing we have no idea about it what to call Star Wars: Episode VII. At least aside from Episode VII. That, however, may have just changed, and we may now know the working title for director J.J. Abrams’ first venture into that far, far away galaxy.
Ain’t It Cool News reports that, according to their source close to the production, the film is being called The Ancient Fear. This is also apparently the title they’ve been using for some time now. The words has a very specific meaning behind them, and also provide a potential hint at the larger picture.
According to the report, “It refers to Max Von Sydow’s villain, who makes Pazuzu look like a pussy!”
First, and probably most important here, is the fact that this seems to indicate that Von Sydow is Episode VII’s main baddie. Rumors about Girls star Adam Driver, who is also among the new names added to the franchise, is a villain, have been circulating for some time, and as soon as we saw Von Sydow on the list, many of us immediately penciled him as a tool of the dark side. Not that he can’t play a good guy, but he’s so, so good as an antagonist. Even when he’s playing a hero, there’s an ominous intensity to the 85-year-old Swedish actor. It’s easy to imagine Von Sydow and Driver have a master/apprentice type of relationship, perhaps the older man takes the lead in this film, while his pupil provides complications in later chapters.
Pazuzu is a reference to one of Von Sydow’s most famous roles, as the world-weary priest Father Merrin in William Friedkin’s horror classic The Exorcist. This is the name of the demon that possesses the young Linda Blair in the 1973 scare fest, and while it isn’t anything official, it’s a nice little nod to Von Sydow’s career and legacy.
Odds are that Episode VII won’t be known as The Ancient Fear when it hits theaters on December 18, 2015. Lots of movies film under one name during production, then wind up with another afterwards. Just within the Star Wars universe, Return of the Jedi shot under the moniker Blue Harvest, and was known as Revenge of the Jedi for so long that there were actual trailers and posters made up with that name.
And if it does stick, The Ancient Fear is a solid enough name, and fits with the more ominous tone of the most recent three films. Of the original trilogy, only The Empire Strikes Back sounds that grim, but The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith all evoke a more sinister feeling.
What do you think about this potential name? Are you satisfied, or do you hope they change it to something else?