Simon Pegg's nerd cred is partially built on a deep and vocal hatred of Star Wars: Episodes I-III. But could he be turning a new leaf in its legacy by joining the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII? That's the rumor. And now he's weighing in.
While Comic-Con didn't give us some of the revelations we expected (Shazam!), Pegg's Star Trek Into Darkness co-star Benedict Cumberbatch dropped a potential bombshell when he implied in an MTV interview that Simon Pegg would be re-teaming with Star Trek director J.J. Abrams on Star Wars: Episode VII. But what does Pegg say?
Well, Vulture caught up with him at a NY screening of Hector and the Search for Happiness, where he responded to the rumor by saying:
"Well, J.J. uses me in different roles, and we’re good friends. I feel like my face in Star Wars would pop people out of the movie. Look, I love Star Wars, and I don’t want people to watch and go, Oh, there’s Simon Pegg’s face. The film is cleverly cast with these amazing, unknown actors. (emphasis Vulture's)"
On its face, this might seem like Pegg telling us he won't be in Star Wars: Episode VII. However, let's read between the lines. First off, he isn't saying the simplest word to help dispel this rumor: NO. Simon Pegg doesn't say he won't be in this movie. Instead, he says he thinks his face would be a distraction. Could that mean he has a role that involves heavy prosthetic makeup, or a certain bounty hunter's signature mask, or could be providing the voice of a possible robot character? There are options. Basically, this sounds like media training, meaning Pegg has been trained on what he is and is not allowed to say and so gives these vague answers.
Vulture spotted this tactic, and pressed asking directly if Pegg is in the movie. He said:
"Of course I visited the set. It’s amazing, and I love Star Wars. I want to see everything happening. It looks wonderful, and you need to believe those characters. Any type of stunt casting might just pop you out of the movie."
Again, Pegg has the easy opportunity to just say no, and he doesn't. Of course, after Star Trek Into Darkness's flawed mystery box tactics where the cast swore up and down that Benedict Cumberbatch wasn't playing Khan--which of course he was--even a flat-out "No" might not be enough to kill this rumor now. And while Pegg might have a point about a fan service casting pick being distracting, meta cameos are a big part of our contemporary cinema landscape, from Leonard Nimoy popping into the Star Trek reboots to Stan Lee's requisite cameo in all things Marvel.
So let's not assume that Star Wars: Episode VII will be above stunt casting that might include a role for Simon Pegg.