Time to get off the S7AR WARS train if you don’t want to be SPOILED. Although I’m not sure why you’re stopping by if real Star Wars news isn’t your bag.
But, seriously stop now. It's gonna get real below this video.
There was only one good piece of Star Wars: Episode VII news or speculation this week, since the whole May The 4th buzz died down and that photo of the first reading has been picked apart by everyone...including me. That piece was written by Chris Klimek for The Village Voice. It’s called “Bring Me The Head of Han Solo” and it’s so well written and thought out that it made me realize now is the time to unveil one of our fun tidbits.
The column’s thesis is simple:
Abrams's first order of business should be to give Ford what he's wanted for decades: death. It's time to kill Han Solo.
For the good of the movie. For the good of the movies, which changed after 1977, largely for the worse. To restore balance to the Force. To redeem the much-abused Star Wars brand, so tarnished by prequels and such that Disney paid $4.05 billion for it. (Technically for Lucasfilm, but that'sStar Wars, mostly.)
Abrams should welcome Ford back by rubbing him out. Honorably. Heroically. But decisively, and for the love of God, permanently. Not Spock-dead. Not Agent Coulson-dead. Dead. Solo? He gotta go-lo.
Begin the Requiem, Chris Klimek, you’re getting your wish.
After Return of the Jedi featured a Han Solo performance by Harrison Ford that felt empty and weird (probably because the best parts of Han Solo became parts of Indiana Jones), there was no way Harrison Ford was coming back to play Han Solo. He was done. Done with Star Wars. Done with Han Solo, a character he only had control of once, during his “I know” line reading in Empire Strikes Back. The rest of Solo as he appears in A New Hope is great, but it’s great because he’s the first character that’s recognizable as complex. He shot first, maybe, but he was certainly a smuggler when all the other characters we’d met so far were so archetypical that Darth Vader is a black robot knight and Leia is a white-clad innocent Princess. Han was the character we plugged into, and every time the series pulled back on Han, there was a little bit less to like about Star Wars.
The original trilogy is character based and it’s a three-hander and two of those three hands are Skywalker twins. Han Solo is the everyman after Luke blows up the First Death Star and we haven’t had an everyman in the Star Wars universe since.
This new trilogy will attempt to rope you into a new grouping of characters and allow you to follow them and care about their decisions, but, like Luke and Anakin before them, it’s a death that’s ultimately the motivating factor in binding them together. In this case, the father of one (or MORE!?) of our characters, a guy played by Harrison Ford.
It puzzles me that people still talk like Han Solo isn’t going to die, because I can’t think of a way that Harrison Ford comes back for more Star Wars otherwise. After all, he wanted Han to die in Jedi. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t base my tastes on Harrison Ford’s tastes - dude wants to do another Indiana Jones still - but Harrison Ford knows there’s only one thing left for Han to do: Die.
It’ll end up being great, because the actor will be invested, the story will be structured so Han’s death is a major turning point in character arcs and - hopefully - it’ll be a gentle push towards passing off Solo goodwill to the next generation of Star Wars leads.
Speaking of the leads…
Like I said at the beginning of the column, the Village Voice piece was by far the best Star Wars reporting going down this week. That story about Adam Driver playing a Solo twin, not the villain? That’s not true. I know, we even posted it, but that's not what is happening. I don’t know exactly how that rumor started. I have a few ideas, but while our sources couldn’t confirm exactly who Adam Driver’s character is this early in the game, we can say with some certainty that he’s not the missing Solo twin.
Elsewhere in the realm of Star Wars news, the shoot is still doing early, low-key, establishing stuff in Abu Dhabi. Word is John Boyega is either on a flight right now down there to start shooting or he flies down early next week.
We’ve been hearing a few rumblings that classic, original trilogy Storm Trooper armor has been assembled for the production down in the United Arab Emirates. That would seem to indicate we’d be seeing them in the film, or that craft services on a Star Wars movie is ridiculously cool with Storm Troopers handing out the salads and lemonades.
UPDATE - Maybe the troopers are just promo materials, as per this Peter Mayhew tweet.
When we started to get word that John Boyega was going to be cast in Star Wars, we started getting tips of him hanging around Pinewood Studios before we got the full on reading photo. With the knowledge that proximity may, at this point, be the best indicator of casting (let’s face it, everyone’s signed so many Non Disclosure Agreements, they might not even be able to confirm any official statements, let alone comment on their clients), we think we know of the two additional female roles we were waiting for.
First up - Katie Jarvis - an actress from Essex, Mia from Fishtank. If you’ve seen Fishtank, you probably think this is a cool choice. She’s a capable actress but doesn’t have a specific type of role that’s been assigned to her persona.
Second - Maisie Richardson-Sellers - we can confirm reports that Maise Richardson-Sellers has been around the Star Wars production. It’s looking like rumors from last month that the Oxford-graduate will be taking a female role might turn out to be accurate.
Who are these foxy ladies going to end up playing? That’s what I’m gonna have to find out, huh?
Props to Chris Klimek on this week’s killer piece, everyone else: let’s not depend so much on Instagram news, shall we?