The cast for Star Wars Episode VII is shaping up to be not just the most diverse cast in Star Wars history, but a very unique one overall. First we had the opening reveal, which included Original Trilogy returns and newcomers like John Boyega and Oscar Issac. Then it was announced that Luptia Nyong’o and Gwendoline Christie would be joining the cast, adding some much needed diversity. Now Lucasfilm has revealed two more newcomers, and I do mean “newcomer” in the strongest sense.
After an open casting call that spread “11 cities across the US and UK,” received “over 37,000 hopefuls” and procured 30,000 additional online applications, two actors have been added to the main cast: Crystal Clarke and Pip Andersen. Clarke is an America actress studying in the United Kingdom, while Andersen is a skilled practitioner of parkour. In fact, he’s delved into the world of geekdom before with his free running. Check out this ad he did for Sony and The Amazing Spider-Man.
Clarke’s role is a mystery, but with acrobatic talent like that, it’s a good bet that Andersen will be playing a Jedi or Sith. Watching him in that Spider-Man ad, I was getting Ray Park vibes from the guy. Correct me if I’m wrong, but aside from the Darth Maul actor, didn’t all the prequel trilogy stars have stunt doubles? It will be refreshing to see an actor unleashing their own moves. Perhaps Andersen will follow in Park’s footsteps and wield a double-bladed saber, or perhaps two at the same time? One just doesn’t seem enough for him.
The press release also included some updates on the production. Filming continues at Pinewood Studios, but in August, there will be a two week hiatus “while adjustments to the current production schedule are made as actor Harrison Ford recovers from a leg injury.” So, contrary to J.J. Abram’s and Kathleen Kennedy’s request that the release be delayed until May 2016, Lucasfilm is pushing ahead with that December 2015 release date.
It’s wise of them to take a break rather than reduce Harrison Ford’s role. Now they can give him the proper time to recover he can make his grand comeback later this year! Plus, with more energy devoted to practical effects over CGI in this movie, post-production won’t take as long, so they can afford to take a little time off. Just make sure that the other areas of the Millennium Falcon aren’t going to try to kill Ford. We can’t lose him a second time.