This week is going to be a very special Dreamcasting, because it’s the complete opposite of a regular Dreamcasting! Instead of knowing the characters and searching for the actors, today I’m going to use my secret haruspicy divinations to figure out who the CHARACTERS are.
As you know, Disney and Lucasfilm announced the cast of Star Wars, Episode VII! Unfortunately, they didn’t announce who the hell they’d all be playing. We know that the new movies aren’t going to use the Star Wars Expanded Universe outlined in novels and comics, and will instead be telling a brand new story. However, does this necessarily mean that the characters themselves will be custom-built from scratch? It’s very possible, however, that makes for a pretty damn boring conversation. “Who are they playing?” “Uh, I dunno.” So instead, let’s allow our fanboy hearts to run rampant, and speculate just WHO these actors might be playing.
If you haven’t picked up an EU book, don’t worry, because I’ll guide you through the morass and introduce you to these beloved but lesser-known Star Wars characters.
Daisy Ridley – Jaina Solo
We don’t know much about Daisy Ridley, which is great – unknowns are the best way to cast Star Wars roles, in my opinion. She sure as hell looks like Jaina Solo, though.
Who’s this “Jaina” person now? Han Solo and Princess Leia get hitched a few years after the events of “Return of the Jedi,” and their marriage-boning leads to the birth of twins, in true Skywalker fashion. The twins are a boy and a girl named Jacen and Jaina, and the two of them have been the focus of a huge chunk of the Star Wars Expanded Universe. And don’t worry, it’s not as hokey as it might sound – Jacen and Jaina aren’t just carbon copies of their parents.
Jaina is a solid blend of her parents without feeling like a retread. She has Leia’s powerful emotions but carries her father’s disregard for the rules. She’s one of the finest pilots in the series, even going on to command her own fighter squadron during wartime. Trained as a Jedi her whole life, Jaina nonetheless neglects her Force training more than her siblings. She’s not any less powerful for it, but she is less controlled and treads closer to Dark Side emotions like anger and passion.
Adam Driver – Jacen Solo
Adam Driver is known almost exclusively for playing oddly compelling weirdo “Adam Sackler” on the HBO show “Girls.” He’s virtually unknown, which is close enough for me. He brings a strained, volatile intensity to the role, and steals every scene he shows up in.
Which is why he’d be perfect for Jacen Solo, the other half of the Solo twins. Jacen Solo is quiet and reserved, and has gone full-blown pacifist even in the middle of war. Jacen is thoughtful, stubborn, and extremely intelligent. He was a capable diplomat, because when he spoke, people tended to listen. Ultimately, however, he fell to the Dark Side, seduced by his own intellect – he came to value the greater good (the greater good) and the protection of the galaxy over morals and ethics.
Adam Driver was already rumored to be playing a “Darth Vader-like villain,” and considering Jacen is Darth Vader’s grandson and a Sith Lord, I’d put solid odds on this being a real possibility.
Domhnall Gleeson – Ben Skywalker
Domnhall Gleeson is best known by Harry Potter nerds as “Bill Weasley,” the earring-wearing, curse-breaking, French-chick-banging eldest brother of the Weasley clan. Other movie goers might know Gleeson from “About Time,” a tear-jerking speculative-fiction movie that deals with time travel and the ethics of making you weep like an open sore.
Ben Skywalker is the Jedi son of Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade (a formal Imperial assassin). Ben was hesitant to use the Force for a long while, and wanted to do things the old-fashioned way. He eventually embraced the Force and became a powerful and dangerous Jedi, known for being extremely deadly with a lightsaber.
He’s also a FLAMING GINGER. Not unlike his maybe-actor, Domnhall Gleeson.
Max Von Sydow – Gilad Pellaeon
Max Von Sydow is one of the most famous character actors of all time, starring in such iconic flicks as “The Seventh Seal,” “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” “The Exorcist,” “Flash Gordon,” “Never Say Never Again,” “Dune,” “Minority Report,” and even “Judge Dredd.” Yes “Judge Dredd” is a classic, do not engage.
There aren’t many old men kicking around the Star Wars universe who aren’t Jedi. Sure, Von Sydow could be playing a senator or an alien elder or something, but I’m going to call “Gilad Pellaeon.” Admiral Pellaeon is the Grand Admiral fo the entire Imperial fleet – and yes, the Empire still exists in the EU, even if they are exiled to the edge of the galaxy. Not only that, but it has had a few tentative alliances with our heroes in order to stomp out bigger threats.
Pellaeon is the man behind these alliances, a brilliant tactician and all-around hardass who has spent more time on the bridge of a Star Destroyer than he has on a planet’s surface. He’s a no-nonsense kind of guy, and trained under the greatest strategist ever known: Grand Admiral Thrawn, the villain from one the best EU stories committed to paper.
John Boyega – Chance Calrissian, or Zekk
John Boyega is another unknown, having starred only in cult favorite “Attack the Block,” a story about inner-city kids fighting outer-space aliens. In all honesty, I have no idea who Boyega is going to play. Smart money is on a brand-new character – J.J. Abrams will want to make his mark on the franchise, and my guess is this is the guy he’s going to do it with. The reports have said that he’ll be playing “a Jedi,” which isn’t terribly helpful. If he’s not an original character (which he most likely will be), he MIGHT be one of these guys:
Chance Calrissian is the son of Lando Calrissian, and his character hasn’t been used much in the books and is virtually undefined. I’d say using Chance is unlikely, however, as they probably want a new young charater who isn’t just the kid of someone else, and with Ben Skywalker and the Solo twins likely involved, they won’t want to keep repeating themselves. Also, it assumes that Lando is literally the only black man in the galaxy, and a black character HAS to be related to him.
A MORE likely choice is Zekk, a young rascal who befriended the Solo twins at an early age and eventually joined them in their Jedi training. Zekk is a street-smart kid from a shitty background, which might actually feel a teensy-bit racist if their first thought for the character was “black guy.” Still, his lower-class background would make an excellent counter-point against the Solo/Skywalker “raised in privelege/celebrity babies” status. Hell, we might actually get some social commentary in a Star Wars movie if they choose to draw that parallel.
Oscar Isaac – Unknown / New Character
Oscar Isaac is known for his turn as the psychotic orderly in “Sucker Punch,” and now even more so for his new movie “Inside Llewyn Davis.”
The only information about his part has been that he’ll have a “Han Solo” look to him, which pegs him as some kind of roguish/charming figure to stand in for the gruffer, grumpier, older actual Han Solo. Feel free to bet money that he’ll fly by the seat of his pants and will not like it when you “tell him the odds.”
Andy Serkis – Motion-Captured Alien
Andy Serkis is most famous for playing and voicing Gollum in the “The Lord of the Rings,” and for providing motion capture for “King Kong” and pretty much everything that’s ever been motion captured, ever. He’s the Doug Jones of motion capture.
There seem to be a lot of good guys in this cast, so I’d shoot for him being a villain or a villain lackey. If he isn’t a CGI alien, I will eat my own face.
The Unknown Actor in a Female Part – Mara Jade
Switcharoo! J.J. Abrams has responded to criticism that there “aren’t enough boobs” in the new cast with an announcement that there’s still a prominent female role that hasn’t been cast.
This is the most shot-in-the-darkest of guesses, but I’m HOPING the role is for Mara Jade Skywalker, Luke’s wife, Ben’s mom, and literally one of the most pants-wettingly horrifying Force-users in the galaxy. She served as the “Emperor’s Hand” in her youth, a kind of Force-trained assassin who trotted around the galaxy murdering people at Palpatine’s command. She was eventually sent to kill Luke Skywalker, but failed (obviously), which sent her spiralling out of the Emperor’s favor and (after about two decades of redemption) into Luke’s arms. Mara Jade is a spicy redhead ex-evil Jedi ninja, and is DEEPLY not to be fucked with. The introduction of such a badass chick into the official film canon would go a LONG way toward repairing the lopsided gender equality issues Star Wars is often tagged for.
In Conclusion . . .
Do I think these guesses are right? Probably not. There’s a solid chance all of these actors will be playing absolutely new characters. In fact, I’d probably count on it. HOWEVER, if I’m right (in any aspect) I’m going to look like a real badass Nostradamus for having posted this in advance, which is half the reason I wrote this column.
Gotta play to win, folks. EXCELSIOR!