We began the weekend with news that Jesse Plemons may have audiences spending most of Star Wars: Episode VII waiting for him to suddenly kill someone, but it turned out that, according to Imperial procedure, that was just the first part of a massive rumor dump, before the production goes to lightspeed and all those rumors just float away, with the rest of the garbage. Many Hollywood Reporter Bothans died to bring us the information that Michael Fassbender, Hugo Weaving, and Girls star Adam Driver are also in the casting mix, joining a roster of rumored contenders that’s included just about everyone with kind of an intense face in the acting industry, from Benedict Cumberbatch to Saoirse Ronan to Chiwetel Ejiofor. And other than Weaving reportedly being up for a role as “an Imperial commander,” it’s unclear as yet what roles any of them might be considered to play—except they’re probably not playing Bothans, because those guys just die off screen after doing their info-gathering.
But perhaps more interesting than yet another list of actors who may or may not have met with J.J. Abrams was THR’s report on the general direction Episode VII has taken in the wake of screenwriter Michael Arndt’s departure. According to the article, that team parted ways over differences of opinion in which characters should be the focus of the first chapter of the new trilogy: the classic, elder trio of Luke, Leia, and Han; or their kids, whose adventures will help carry the saga into the future. Arndt was reportedly firmly on the side of handing it off to the new generation; Abrams believed fans deserved “one more chance to enjoy” the original team before “a fitting send-off.” And ultimately, Abrams won, with the younger Skywalkers taking on more of a supporting role in the first film, before becoming the center of future movies and allowing Harrison Ford to rest now… rest.
Among those younger characters, THR believes the production is looking for a “twentysomething female who is either of mixed race or black” to play the rumored daughter or granddaughter of Obi-Wan Kenobi, thus retconning his character’s hermitage on Tatooine as some sort of ploy to avoid paying child support. Beyond that, the character roster appears to be ever-shifting, as Abrams and co-screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan do what they can to get all these damn kids off of their Star-lawn: For example, Mud star Tye Sheridan was reportedly considered for a young role that’s now been nixed, while another character that was originally conceived as in their twenties is now being rewritten as a 40-year-old. Meanwhile, anyone engaged in the piloting of starships will do so at a sensible speed. What’s the rush?
As always, none of this information has been officially confirmed by anyone, the original trio of Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher have yet to make official announcement of their participation, J.J. Abrams has yet to officially say anything concrete about what story he intends to tell, the official start of shooting is still a ways off, and officially speaking, this is all still unofficial speculation. (Except for that part about Obi-Wan Kenobi spreading his seed around the galaxy, which you know he did.)