The Download: The 'Star Wars: Episode VII' Cast Announcement


Disney/Lucasfilm has revealed who will be joining the original cast members in Star Wars: Episode VII. We talk about that and more on this week's Download.

Binh: Meet the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII. John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join the original cast comprised of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in the new Star Wars movie. Anything here sticks out at you?

Sara: You know what sticks out to me? Hearing the kids excited about the cast mispronouncing the names of people like Max von Sydow because "He must be really new!" On a side note: you think he's going to be evil?

Binh: I wouldn't expect kids to know who Max von Sydow is because he's not in the type of movies they would watch. As for if he's playing a bad guy or not, I really have no clue, but I expect them to keep the main bad guy under wraps, so my answer is no for now.

What do you think of the criticism that the movie only has two female cast members (so far)? Really, two is a very low number, but then again, that's probably more than the original trilogy, bit parts aside.

Sara: It's not for girls, is it? I feel terrible saying that but I think it...Can someone talk me off the ledge here?

Binh: Don't worry Daisy Ridley's character, who is probably playing Han and Leia's daughter, will come into her own in Episode VIII.

Jeff: I was hoping we'd talk about the Star Wars casting controversy. Sara's point about the movies being "not for girls" is well-taken, although I think it'd make the execs at Disney howl over the prospect of lost revenue. Do stories need female characters? Are the people pissed off about this advocating that screenwriters insert women into stories simply for the sake of having them there? Because I'd argue that's how you end up with the kind of two-dimensional damsels-in-distress that this type of film generally tends to offer -- and metal bikini aside, the Star Wars universe has generally done fairly well by its few female characters. Mon Mothma FTW!

Binh: Lucasfilm has not announced all the cast members that's going to be in the movie. Supposedly, there's another female lead to be cast, so maybe it's too early to make these kind of judgments.

"Not for girls" does not necessarily mean the lack of female characters, but whether or not the themes appeal to them, right? And girls, like boys, are not a homogeneous group, they don't all share the same taste.

Sara: You're right--and I loved Princess Leia. Despite neither remembering nor caring much about the movies.

Jeff: Of course not. But we're painting with broad brushes here.

Sara: Two words: Sucker Punch.


Binh: You won't ever forgive Zack Snyder for that one, will you?

Jeff: No. But even if I did, I'd still have plenty of reasons for thinking he's a hack.

Binh: Any yet, Warner Bros. is tripling down on him with the Justice League movie. The studio's whole DC strategy seems to be handing it over to Snyder and David S. Goyer and see what they can do with it.

Jeff: Naturally. Because the main problem with Snyder's work -- that it's pretty to look at but lacks soul (or even basic narrative competence) -- makes no difference to studios that depend on this type of film. What matters is how well you adhere to basic formula while piling on the razzle-dazzle, and Snyder excels on the visual front. The fact that he's doing a disservice to the characters in his movies is irrelevant to the people signing the checks.

Sara: He should go to Bollywood. He'd make a killing.

Jeff: Perhaps we can petition the White House to have him deported?

Binh: To be fair, he's not asked (nor is it expected of him) to imbue his movies with soul. If there's anyone who caters to the little the "little less conversation and a little more action, please" demographic, it's him. They, meaning Warner, know exactly what they're getting with Snyder, and they willingly hitched their wagon to him. And it's a bad idea to deport him, Jeff. You know he will only come back stronger.

Sara: I hear you, Binh, but I always return to the story George Stevens Jr tells about his dad editing Giant. He wanted to call it a day but his dad was meticulous and said 'this is going to play on a 40ft screen to God knows how many people. Don't you think we should give it all we have?'

Well these movies that supposedly don't require either soul or intelligence are going to even MORE people and earning even more money. Sorry to be hard-nosed about this but I will never be ok with more film with less value, and the more junk cinema there is out there the lower the bar goes. I think you might be underestimating the harm.

Binh: You have to understand the overseas market is huge now. These huge expensive movies are no longer made just for us, so in the studios' minds, the less complicated the plot is, the better.

Jeff: A good -- but no less depressing -- point.

Binh: You two heard the rumor that Harrison Ford's role will be huge in Episode VII?

Jeff: I did, and I'm conflicted. Can you remember the last time Ford appeared to be invested in a role?

Sara: He was great in 42 and that came out last April.

Binh: Can't say I've seen his most recent movies. What do you think of the Liam Neeson movie Taken?

My gut is telling me they're going to re-purpose that plot for the new Star Wars movie. Han and Leia's daughter is going to get kidnapped by some descendant of Jabba the Hut – or Jabba himself! -- to be sold into slavery. Han and Leia will spend most of the movie trying to get her back while in the mist of some Sith conspiracy. Episode VIII is where she and the other young'uns will take the lead.

Sara: That sounds lame. Also improbable. I realize it's in the hands if new owners but Episodes 1-3 where thematically based on hope, faith and charity. How would that fly with the taken story?

Binh: Well, I'm pulling this out of thin air, but we're talking about J.J. Abrams, who remade The Wrath of Kahn and called it Star Trek Into Darkness. I mean, how else are you going to have Han Solo flying around the galaxy in his Millennium Falcon and visiting old haunts? While his daughter, let's just call her Maggie, is in captivity, she's going to befriend one of the young guys who may or may not be Adam Driver.

Final question: Do you think George Lucas will have a cameo in Episode VII?

Jeff: I hadn't even thought about it. He deserves to, right?

Binh: Totally deserves it. He'll be the Stan Lee of the Star Wars movies.

Sara: HA!!! Awesome question! You took the words outta my mouth! It's like fantasy casting. Could he be Jabba's descendant?! I hope!

Binh: Well, that's all the time we have for this week. Until next time.

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