In a recent posting at ET online, Mark Hamill has disclosed that Disney and Lucasfilm officials have been talking to him and other key personnel from the original Star Wars about being cast in Star Wars: Episode VII, the upcoming first chapter in the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy. This may be a "well, duh" and/or "thanks for the report, Captain Obvious" for some of you – but as far as I know, this is the first time Hamill’s mentioned any official talks about casting.
In a discussion while promoting his new film, Sushi Girl (which actually looks rather cool in a Grindhouse sort of way), Hamill was asked about the status of casting for Episode VII.
“They’re talking to us,” he reveals. “George Lucas wanted to know whether we’d be interested. He did say that if we didn’t want to do it, they wouldn’t cast another actor in our parts – they would write us out. … I can tell you right away that we haven’t signed any contracts. We’re in the stage where they want us to go in and meet with Michael Arndt, who is the writer, and Kathleen Kennedy, who is going to run Lucasfilm. Both have had meetings set that were postponed — on their end, not mine. They’re more busy than I am.”
Hamill refers to a series of lunch meetings held with him, George Lucas, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Ian McDiarmid last year in which Lucas divulged that they were going ahead with the Sequel Trilogy. Occasionally I wonder what they were eating when Lucas told them the sequels were happening. That aside, in this new statement, he has essentially revealed that the creative teams are ready for some main casting, and that the aforementioned actors may be part of these talks.
Hamill’s statement also lends weight to the recent unconfirmed information from Latino Review that Harrison Ford is officially signed on for Star Wars: Episode VII. Other former stars of the Star Wars saga, including Billy Dee Williams, Samuel L. Jackson, and Ewan McGregor have overtly voiced their eager willingness to appear in the upcoming movies if called upon.
But the man who was (and could be again) Luke Skywalker moves on to speculate on the subject matter of the sequel trilogy:
“I’m assuming, because I haven’t talked to the writers, that these movies would be about our offspring — like my character would be sort of in the Obi-Wan range [as] an influential character”.
Mark expands further in the interview on his opinions about the potential tone of the movies, and the news relating to the spin-off single character Star Wars movies, which you can read more about here. It’s mostly his thoughts on the direction Disney are heading in, which are for the most part positive.
So where does this leave us? Clearly, we do know that Lucas has met personally with Hamill, Ford, Fisher, and Diarmid, among others over the last year; and we’ve had the report of Ford being cast. With Hamill being so forthright about being in discussions for appearing in Episode VII, I would say that it’s almost a done deal and that in the near future, we can expect an official announcement from Lucasfilm on who will be reappearing.
That being said, it would be wise to note that the revisiting characters may not necessarily be the central heroes or focus of the new trilogy. Both trilogies thus far have been generational, and it stands to reason that in this series we will see our returning heroes of the original trilogy passing on what they have learned to the new champions of the future.
Star Wars: Episode VII is currently in pre-production, and is being penned by Michael Arndt, with collaboration from Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg (also the main writers for Episodes VIII and IX respectively) and George Lucas (as creative consultant). The movie will be directed by J.J. Abrams, and is believed to be released in May 2015.