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Someone at that Star Wars: Episode VII table read could break Ellen's "selfie" Twitter record.
In case you have been napping in the shadow of Coruscant, Star Wars decided to break the Internet this afternoon by dropping the official casting announcement for J.J. Abrams’ planned sequel, and all of a sudden, Star Wars: Episode VII feels real. Not that it wasn’t happening before. I mean, we have been talking about director Abrams’ plan to reboot one of the most popular film franchises of all time for a while now. But with today’s announcement of the full cast, the sequel (and start of a supposed standalone trilogy) has weight. It has credibility. It has a cast! Star Wars: Episode VII has an actual CAST that we can speak about, without wildly speculating!
Brave new world.
A few names caught us completely by surprise, even after months (and months) of casting speculation. Adam Driver, John Boyega and even Oscar Isaac were expected, especially after yesterday’s casting rumors. But did anyone expect Domhnall Gleeson, Andy Serkis and Max von Sydow (!!) to be part of the announcement? I hadn’t heard those names attached to the cast prior to this morning, and those are three names I can actually get excited about! Gleeson was fantastic in About Time and the soon-to-be-screened musical comedy Frank. Serkis is a mo-cap god, and Von Sydow… well, the idea of him possibly playing a Sith lord is melting my mind.
That’s the sizzle. Here’s the steak. Concrete visual confirmation that Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker are back in the fold for J.J. Abrams. Sadly, Billy Dee Williams is not. Time to start beating the drum for a Lando spinoff film.
How do we feel? Genuinely excited. Downright thrilled. The natural cynicism that clouds most online movie reporting has dissipated, especially on the Twitter snark machine. A welcome sense of optimism envelops this simple cast photo, featuring a group of actors and a director taking part in a table read. It’s as though we’ve all forgotten Episode I: The Phantom Menace even happened!
I’m joking. Days before May the Fourth, Star Wars: Episode VII has reminded everyone in the movie world of its Big Dog status. By capturing the Internet’s attentions with a single black-and-white cast photo, Star Wars has confirmed the extreme levels of excitement, curiosity and joy that will be collectively experienced by fans when they gather in theaters on December 18, 2015, and the title card floats up on the screen proclaiming, "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away …"
Now, crank this and celebrate. Star Wars is back.