J.J. Abrams really does plan on getting the old gang back together.
After officially confirming (via social media) that R2-D2 would be a member of Star Wars: Episode VII, Abrams apparently is going to the original Wookiee for his cast. The Hollywood Reporter reports that Peter Mayhew will "reprise his role" for the soon-to-film sequel.
Mayhew played Han Solo's co-pilot in all three original Star Wars films, then returned to the role for Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. He has been a fixture on the Star Wars fan circuit for generations, and has hinted in the past that he'd be happy to return to the character of Chewbacca is Abrams needed him for Episode VII. Here are the various "moods" the super-tall Mayhew can bring to the part!
We have suspected for a while now that Abrams wanted a new Chewbacca in Star Wars: Episode VII. We reported a while back about an equally tall extra who claimed he went on an audition for Abrams’ sequel. Wookiee speculation ran rampant.
The casting of Mayhew as Chewbacca feeds into the belief that Abrams wants to get the original Star Wars ensemble back together for one last adventure – a fresh adventure that likely will continue to introduce new characters who can carry the torch for future movies.
If this is the beginning of a trend, who will be next? Could Anthony Daniels be confirmed a C3PO next? That seems inevitable.
Of course, we’re all holding out hope for the Big Three of Star Wars casting: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher. With Mayhew on board as Chewbacca, could Ford’s anti-hero Han Solo be far behind?
From everything we have heard, Abrams has begin filming on Star Wars: Episode VII already, and Disney Chair Alan Horn claims casting is just about finished. If THR is on point, Mayhew has signed on the dotted line on his contract, and Chewbacca will be back in the Star Wars galaxy come December 2015. Which names will drop next? Stay tuned, Star Wars fans. We have a feeling this production is about to jump into another gear.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.