The Force is Strong in this lot.

Film As Doctor Who's off season really begins to bite, it's good to know a certain other sci-fi franchise is knocking out announcement after announcement. You will have read this already, but just but in case you apparently don't read any other websites (Hi Francis) here's the news we've all be waiting for about who's going to be in the next Star Wars film:
Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in the new film.At present the page at is inaccessible, so
I've cribbed that from Bleeding Cool instead.  By any stretch of the imagination that's an amazingly strong cast and if you're going to relaunch a franchise who's previously released installments were less than stellarly received this is the way to do it.  They've pulled an Eccleston in other words.  Let's talk through them a bit shall we?

John Boyega.  First screen credit was supporting in the remarkably good Being Human online/red button spin-off which was in its own way more interesting than the parent series in its later series (he's the bloke talking to Adam in the dining hall scene in the above episode).  Most likely to recognise him from Joe Cornish's film Attack The Block.  He's in four episodes of the new 24 series, and has done the National and Tricycle but he's essentially the unknown in screen terms.  The new Mark Hamill in other words.

Daisy Ridley.  No idea.  Doesn't even seem to have a wikipedia page yet.  Yahoo News has had a glance around online, mainly at her imdb profile but she's the really interesting choice, not least because she's (and this is the main disappointment about the announcement) only woman listed that isn't Carrie Fisher.  She's the new Carrie Fisher then.

Adam Driver.  Rumoured to be playing the villain which everyone assumed at one point would be Grand General Master Thrawn person until the EU was blasted into who knows what.  But yes, Adam Driver off of Girls and two minutes of Inside Llewyn Davis which stars ...

Oscar Isaac which is the massively impressive choice especially if he's allowed to do the schlubby thing from Inside Llewyn Davies.  He's currently my favourite new actor.  As I said when reviewing the Coens film: "the charm of the young Pacinos, Goulds and Hoffmans, owning the screen, out compelling even John Goodman in the scenes when Goodman should be in ascendancy.  Not only can he sing, but his adeptness in physical comedy has elements of Tati, especially in the cat scenes.  Seriously, this is one of those occasions, like Renner in The Hurt Locker when we're in the presence of a star of the old school and want to see everything else they do."  He just needs to be be boxed in playing some admiral or something.  Hopefully he'll be a kind of son of Han Solo figure.  In other words, the new Harrison Ford.

Andy Serkis chalks up another mythic franchise.  Everyone'll assume this is a mo-cap job but he's a fine actor otherwise and it'd be great to see him taking a duel role.

Domhnall Gleeson.  For all About Time's inherent problems, Gleeson wasn't one of them doing a pretty good job of playing Hugh Grant's avatar in a script clearly written with the younger version of him in mind.  Previous with Potter and Dredd so subtly another franchise traveler.  Hopefully Abrams is using some imagination and Gleeson's playing Adam Driver's partner in crime - seems odd to have in the hero role somehow.  The new Peter Cushing, if you like.

Max Von Sydow.  Which is basically trolling at this stage.  Older Obi-Wan figure?  Supreme Chancellor?  The new man in charge of the imperials?  Could go either or any way.

Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker.  Yes indeed.  Presumably their roles will be rather more reduced than the first film, mentors all.  Apart from the droids.  Part of me wishes they weren't there, that this whole thing was set even further into the future, a break from the everything, but I expect after Star Trek recast everyone, Abrams just simply wants to work with his childhood heroes.  Can't argue with that.
Director J.J. Abrams says, “We are so excited to finally share the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII. It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again. We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud.”
Which is the point of all this.  Abrams's tone is far more conciliatory than Lucas with his like it or lump it attitude.  He's desperate for us to want to like these films as well as bring in the money.
Star Wars: Episode VII is being directed by J.J. Abrams from a screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and Abrams. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, and John Williams returns as the composer. The movie opens worldwide on December 18, 2015.
Except, and here's the massive problem which everyone seems have slightly forgotten.  There is no story.  I mean Lucas apparently had nine episodes planned out way back when, but Jedi is a full stop.  Timothy Zhan managed to launch a whole bunch of new stuff, but like it or not, those six episodes tell a pretty clear story that follows the rules of drama, the fall then the rise.  Paradise Lost.  Paradise Regained.

The ideal story has what were the rebels, in other words the heroes essentially having become jaded by having become the rulers and find themselves ultimately becoming as authoritarian as the imperials.  In other words, Luke and Leia have unwittingly become the antagonists and the story is about a new rebellion against them, perhaps led by Han who at his heart is still an anti-establishment figure.  That's drama right there.

Of course an audience would never accept that, even though there's a beauty to history repeating in Luke and Leia still following the destiny the Emperor had in mind for them even though they're still under the impression that what's become an autocracy is still the ochlocracy they presumably hoped it would be.  One of the ironies of Jedi now is that they're essentially fighting for the resumption of the bureaucracy which led to the Clone Wars happening in the first place.

Plus it screws the merchandising possibilities.  So we'll probably have Luke training younger Jedi at an academy administered by Leia, unless she's the Queen or some such with Han in charge of what was the old rebellion still mopping up pockets of Imperial resistance as a new darkness enters the galaxy.  Oooh, ooh, hold on I've just had an idea...

Abrams essentially remakes Star Wars but flips everything over.  So Adam Driver plays a Luke figure but instead of learning about the Jedi he becomes a Sith Lord instead at the behest of evil old exiled Max von Sydow, ironically hiding on Tatooine and they join a resistance that's grown out of the Imperials and at the end of the film they somehow strike at the heart of the New Republic or whatever its called.  It's Star Wars: A New Doubt everyone.

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