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He Said, She Said Review Site

Fun Friday: Volume 3, Issue 1 - Episode VII Reaction

What He has to say:

He

Where does the time go? I haven't written an issue of Fun Friday in two years! In fact, the last article I wrote was about the sale of Star Wars in the fall of 2012. That was not intentional. I had planned on doing a few articles about the progress of the movie, but time got away from me. Plus, there really wasn't a lot to report on. There have been a few rumors, but they have kept production tightly under wrap. There haven't been many rumors in general and virtually nothing about the plot has been confirmed.

So let's start with what we know – and that's the cast. It's an extensive one. We all know Luke, Leia, and Han are returning. Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher were confirmed pretty much as soon as the initial announcement was made. People were worried about Harrison Ford, but after a lot of wishy-washy answers, he was eventually confirmed. Anthony Daniels (C3PO), Kenny Baker (R2D2), and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) were all also confirmed to be returning as well.

Episode VII

Perhaps the most noteworthy tidbit is the omission of Lando Calrissian himself, Billy Dee Williams. I know his health is not great. I have heard he could barely move on Dancing With the Stars. Is that why he was not asked to reprise his role as the coolest man in the universe? I don’t know. Still, one would think a cameo would happen at the very least. Nobody knows why be hasn't been in included, but he has actually campaigned for his own involvement via Twitter.  It’s even more shocking when you consider that Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok) is returned as well. Hopefully he will appear in future movies.

The other big story involving the cast is some of the names and sheer number of people involved with this movie.
Veteran actors Max Von Stdow(The Exorcist, Shutter Island, Minority Report) and Andy Serkis are the most notable of the new additions.

Von Sydow's career is long and speaks for itself. There's a rumor he is playing an old cyborg. Perhaps a veteran of the Rebel/Imperial war from the original trilogy who was patched up via various cybernetic implants and limbs? I can see that. If not that, my guess is a character similar to Emperor Palpatine. Let’s face it, he’s no spring chicken, and J.J. Abrams has also stated he’s committed to as many practical effects as possible, so I don’t see him hopping around like CGI Christopher Lee. An old beat up cyborg or old Sith who relies on Force Powers instead of a lightsaber (thin original trilogy Palpatine and not prequel trilogy Palpatine) is exactly the kind of character I envisioning him playing. Even if not one of these two types of characters, I see something similar. I would not be surprised if he were the master of this character.

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No disrespect to Mr. Von Sydow, but I’m really excited about Andy Serkis’ involvement. Most people became familiar with him because of his involvement with The Lord of the Rings, as Gollum. He went on to gain more praise for his performance (another mo-cap role) in King Kong.  While both solid roles, it’s his work in the new Apes movies (reviews here and here) are what have me really excited about his involvement in this movie. Those two movies are phenomenal in this reviewer’s opinion and his performance is why. The emotion he brings to them is so good that I’m not an articulate enough man to do it justice. Plus, since it’s been confirmed that is his voice in the trailer, that’s even more reason to get excited. The man is fantastic at creating characters.

Domhnall Gleeson (Harry Potter, Frank, and About Time), Adam Driver (Girls), Oscar Isaac (Inside LLewyn Davis, The Bourne Legacy, and Drive), Daisey Ridley, John Boyega (Attack the Block) Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave), and Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones).

Episode VII

Click here for a breakdown of who these people are and what roles they might be playing in the movie.

John Boyega and Daisey Ridley are rumored to be the leads for the movie, along with Harrison Ford. They have been for a while now and now that the trailer has been released, I have to say that looks accurate. They are the first two people to show up in the trailer. That alone wouldn’t mean much to me, but considering the rumor of their co-lead status had been spinning around the rumor mill for a while now, I think there might be some credibility to it. It also looks like wherever it is he wakes up (Tattoine?) she on the same planet. They are rumored to be teaming up with Han Solo on mission to find Luke. I don’t know if you noticed, but it looks like the Millennium Falcon also appears to be on that same desert planet. So why is a stormtrooper looking for Luke? Is he a defector? A Rebel spy merely wearing a costume? And why is he supposedly looking for Luke with Han Solo and this mystery girl? Oh yeah, and she is rumored to be Han and Leia’s daughter. I think there might be some merit to that rumor, because if you look at the photo of the cast doing a read of the scrip, she is seated between Ford and Fisher.

Episode VII

I’ve seen Domhnall Gleeson in both Harry Potter and About Time. I can’t say I remember him in Potter, but I enjoyed About Time way more than I thought I would. I’ve never seen Adam Driver in anything other than Girls, and I’ve only seen snippets of that dreadful show, but everything I have read about his performance in that and other things is nothing but complimentary. He is supposedly the hooded character wielding the new “crucifix lightsaber” seen in the trailer. I’ve seen Oscar Isaac in Drive (very good movie) and The Bourne Legacy. I thought he was just fine in both, but he received critical praise for Inside Llewyn Davis and his comments about the movie have me giddy. He’s psyched to be a part of the new series.  I haven’t seen Daisey Ridley in anything. I don’t think anyone has. But she certainly looks the part so far. I like the tiny bit we’ve seen of her. Do we have a new female movie bad-ass? I hope so! I’m kind of excited she’s the lead too. It’s a nice change of pace for Star Wars. Attack the Block is the only thing I’ve seen John Boyega in. I enjoyed both that movie and his role in it. It caught me off-guard how much I liked that movie.I have not seen Lupita Nyong’o or Gwendoline Christie in anything, but the former won an Oscar for her role in 12 Years a Slave and the latter is a part of a very well-received TV show. There’s non-nerds who like Game of Thrones, that’s how good that show is supposed to be. So the newbies/unknowns even have me excited, especially now that I’ve seen some footage.

Episode VII

Ok, so what did I think? I loved it for the most part. My first thought when I saw it was, “Is he sweating?” Then I realized Boyega’s character was in an actual desert! Real locations! I know Abrams has been adamant about the return of practical effects, so it was no surprise, but seeing it got me excited.

When I realized that was Andy Serkis’ voice, I flipped my shit. As I mentioned above, I’m a fan of the man. Now it’s driving me nuts, in a good way, trying to decide who he is playing. There hasn’t been a single sliver of information about that, but hearing the voice has me beyond intrigued.

The most consistent rumor has been that Luke Skywalker has been missing for some time. I’m starting to suspect there might be some truth to that. Besides the fact that he was nowhere to be seen in the trailer, and the rumor about Han looking for him with Ridley and Boyega’s characters, there’s also something else I noticed. The Sith in that trailer appearing to be wandering through that snow-covered forest – almost as if he’s looking for something or someone. I’m wondering if both the good guys and bad guys are looking for Luke?

As for that hooded character and his new lightsaber, it’s already a hot topic. My first reaction was not a positive one, but it quickly grew on me. The more I look at it, the more it looks like a broad sword. Star Wars is basically a fantasy movie set in space and there’s something about a big broad sword that just screams bad mother fucker that makes me smile. Is it practical? Probably not (there’s been debate you could cut your fingers off). Did they make it just to have a new flashy lightsaber design? Probably, but dammit I liked it. It looks like something out of a mythological fantasy world, but one set in the Star Wars universe.

And if you are worried about the Sith returning after “the prophecy” stated that Anakin would eliminate them? I’m sorry, but Lucas pulled that chosen one crap from his ass and like so many things with the prequels, he didn’t think them through. This is the same man who claims he has 12 Star Wars scripts written, but goes and creates a prophecy that predicts the end of the Sith? I don’t know about you, but he put so little effort into making the storyline and plot details of the prequels work, I think it’s perfectly fair to ignore the plot holes he created. Hell, I think these new movies are going to do just that.

When they announced Star Wars was being sold, I was thrilled. I was tired of George Lucas. I still am. When they announce J.J. Abrams involvement, I was cautiously optimistic. Besides being a huge fan who says all the right things (loving the originals and practical effects), I am a big fan of LOST, and thought his Trek movies were fantastic. I also enjoyed Super 8. I think he’s a good choice for this type of project. Now that the trailer has come out, I’m legitimately excited.

This article was written for your reading pleasure on November 28, 2014.