Regardless of everything else that is coming to theaters in 2015, my most anticipated movie of the year is one that I never thought would happen: Star Wars: Episode VII. On Friday, October 31, production wrapped on the first film of the next generation of Star Wars films. Here’s a letter that came from J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy and a few others involved in the production:
To the Extraordinary Cast and Crew of Episode VII:
It is a true honor and absolute joy to come to set every day and work alongside each of you. Your professionalism, passion and patience is more deeply appreciated than we could ever express. From the deserts of Abu Dhabi, to the Forest of Dean, to the stages of Pinewood, you have risen to every challenge and been as wonderfully kind as you are brilliantly talented. Our ambition here is large, of course, and it must be: we are here to make a film that entertains millions of people, of all ages, for generations. To create an experience people will cherish watching as much as we will cherish having made it, together. How lovely it would be if you had, in addition to your name on the screen, some actual, real, tangible proof that you were part of it! Here, then, is that proof. Wear it well, wear it healthily, wear it proudly. But, mostly, thank you.
Lately there have been multiple movie directors talking about the advantages of film over digital when it comes to film making. Abrams has used film on projects from Star Trek to Super 8, as well as Star Trek Into Darkness. Recently it seemed as if film was headed the way of the Dodo.
Who is Christina Chong? She’s the latest cast member revealed to have a part in Star Wars: Episode VII. Last seen in 24: Live Another Day, she recently earned the leading female role in Halo: Nightfall.
Word is that she’s already completed her part for the new Star Wars film, and that it’s not a very large role.
With each new cast member announcement, I get more excited for the movie to hit the big screen. It doesn’t feel real, but we’re actually getting a new Star Wars movie.
Who is Crystal Clarke? She’s another new cast member for Star Wars: Episode VII who was found when Lucasfilm conducted an open casting call last fall. The casting calls spanned 11 cities across the US and UK and over 37,000 hopefuls attended, with a further 30,000 submitting applications online.
Her casting brings the number of announced female cast members to five, further putting to rest the non-issue of the lack of female characters in the new Star Wars. The cast was always going to be based on the characters that they’ve created, and not on anyone’s own personal agenda. Agenda based film-making is not film-making at all – it’s paint-by-numbers checklists that inhibit creativity by forcing everyone into a box.
Crystal Clarke is an American actress studying in Glasgow, UK, who has both stage and screen acting experience and is soon to be seen in her first feature,The Moon and the Sun (to be released in 2015).
Who is Pip Andersen? Joining the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII is another newcomer, in an undisclosed role. He was cast out of an open casting call last fall. The casting calls spanned 11 cities across the US and UK and over 37,000 hopefuls attended, with a further 30,000 submitting applications online.
British actor Pip Andersen is a skilled practitioner of parkour, a discipline that involves propelling oneself through any given environment with incredible grace and agility. Pip recently demonstrated this remarkable skill in a Spider-Man ad for Sony.
The cast of the film continues to grow as filming continues in England.
Who is Gwendoline Christie? You may recognize her from the TV series, Game of Thrones in which she plays the role of Brienne of Tarth. She’s also played the role of Commander Lyme for the upcoming Hunger Games sequels, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Parts 1 and 2. Now she’s going to be in Star Wars.
The 6’3″ tall woman will be playing a role that, once again, is completely unknown.
Thank you for all the wonderful good wishes about Star Wars!!!! I am so excited and so very grateful!! A real dream come true! #overthemoon
Who is Lupita Nyong’o? She recently won an Academy Award for her role in the film 12 Years a Slave. Now she’s joining the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII in a role that has, like all other new roles, been kept completely under wraps. That’s not to say there hasn’t been speculation already as to the type of role that she may be playing.
Quick note: That sort of thing, including spoilers, won’t be found here until J.J. Abrams says we can go ahead and share it, or the studio calls and says “here it is!” Personally, I like to save as much about a movie as I can for the first time I see it up on the big screen.
Who is Andy Serkis? If that is a name that sounds familiar, it might be because of his Oscar worthy acting as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. That he was recognized for neither is a travesty. He also played King Kong in Peter Jackson’s version of the story that was released back in 2005.
Rumor had it that he was recently attached to direct a new Jungle Book movie, but that may be on hold now that he’s been offered the role of a lifetime in Star Wars: Episode VII. We don’t know what role that is, like most of the others, but he already seems well suited for whatever Abrams and Kasdan send his way. It could be motion capture, voice or costume, Andy Serkis can handle it all.
Who is John Boyega? For starters, he appeared in a British film called Attack the Block, which has become something of a cult classic since its’ release.
His performance in a film called Imperial Dreams was a standout at the 2014 Sundance festival. He’s also appearing in Fox’s 24: Live Another Day. Rumors place him in the role of a Jedi Knight, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Update: December 11, 2014… He’s playing a character called Finn, who is a Stormtrooper.
Who is Max von Sydow? Well, for one thing, he was the voice of Vigo in Ghostbusters II. It was an uncredited role, but one that brought a powerful voice to the film. I have a feeling that, even if we never see Max on screen, but merely hear his voice, it’ll still be a very powerful character.