When Disney purchased Lucasfilm and promptly announced that they’d be making new Star Wars films, I was a little excited, but pretty cautiously so. I figured anything they could do couldn’t be worse than the Prequels, and the Holy Trilogy will always be that. I keep up with the news and rumors about the new films and it’s generally encouraging, but still, I managed to keep myself safely detached. I know from experience that this is a rabbit hole that will swallow me alive.
All that being said, I was not prepared for the way my id reacted to the announcement of the new cast. It’s not even that I love all the additions (more on that shortly), or that I’d had strong hopes to be confirmed or disappointed by. But something about seeing the photograph with Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher with all these new actors triggered something. My child-id-brain put a chloroform-soaked rag over my ego’s mouth, pushed it out of the chair, and said, “I got this.” It’s been interesting to observe during the sparse moments of lucidity that I’ve had since last week.
What do I think of the cast, you (didn’t) ask? I’m encouraged mostly by the fact that these are all people known for their acting chops, not for their good looks or star power. They’re unknowns, and that’s how a Star Wars film SHOULD be cast. I told Kara about the rumors that Zack Efron was up for a part, and that she might actually see me put a bullet in my brain (I’m not paraphrasing). The thing that everyone focuses on is that there’s only one new female added to the cast, and that’s certainly a valid concern. As someone who’s about to have a daughter that will grow up with these films relevant to her generation’s pop culture, I’m more aware of it than I might have been in the past. However, I’ll withhold any outrage until I know more. First, there will be more characters than this, and surely several will be women. What matters most, though, is what type of character Ridley will play. If she’s the lead among the young actors, it would bother me considerably less. I’d rather have one strong female character than ten damsels in distress, and Abrams is responsible for Jennifer Garner’s Sidney Bristow–not too shabby of an example of how to do a strong heroine.
Cautious optimism reigns, and that’s pretty new for me.