Cast of Star Wars VII Announced!

star-wars-episode-7Happy (early) May the Fourth everyone! This year, I thought I’d get on this fandom anniversary early by passing on some franchise news that was just released from Lucasfilm and Disney regarding the upcoming relaunch of the Star Wars franchise. After months of speculation, the cast for the upcoming Star Wars movie has finally been announced! The news came this past week in a post on StarWars.com, where  companies spelt it out for all the fans who have been eagerly awaiting the news.

In addition to Mark Hamil, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher – who will receive top billing as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia – Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker will also be reprising their roles as Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2. Also, the movie will star several notable actors in new roles, including acting great Max von Sydow (The Tudors, Minority Report, Snow Falling on Cedars, Judge Dredd, Needful Things).

starwarsAlso, Adam Driver (Girls, Lincoln), Oscar Isaac (Robin Hood, Sucker Punch, Drive), Andy Serkis (who brought Gollum to life in LOTR and the Hobbit franchises), Domhnall Gleeson (who played Bill Weasely in the Harry Potter series), and British television stars John Boyega and Daisy Ridley were announced, though has is not yet been announced what characters they will be playing. But since the upcoming movie will be taking place 30 years after Return of the Jedi, it’s fair to assume that the focus will be on these characters rather than on the original cast.

In a photo release this past Tuesday (seen below), director JJ Abrams is seen having a roundtable discussion with the cast at Pinewood Studios in the UK. Note the body of R2-D2 which sits unboxed behind them, having no doubt just been brought out of storage. JJ Abrams, identified by his spiky hair and glasses, can be seen sitting to the left of R2, with Harrison Ford to his right, Carrie Fisher two seats down, and Mark Hamil seated opposite to the far left of the photo.

star-wars-episode-7-cast-announceWhen news of the cast was released, Abrams was quoted as saying:

We are so excited to finally share the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII. It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again. We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud.

This, the seventh film in the Star Wars franchise, and is slated for a December 18th, 2015, release. In addition to Abrams directing, he is also collaborating on the screenplay with Lawrence Kasdan, the man who co-wrote The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, and John Williams returns as the composer.

star-wars-prequelsI think I speak for fans and geeks everywhere when I wish them all luck! Lord knows we could all use a really decent Star Wars sequel, especially when so many of us felt so utterly let down by the prequels! However, I think it is fair to say that Abrams and the rest should not be too concerned about what the fans and expect. If this latest installment is to be a success, it must not be overly aware of itself or its legacy. Such was part of what brought the prequels down in my estimation, and like everyone else, I just want to enjoy what comes next!

Good day and May the Fourth be with you all!

Source: starwars.com

Joss Wedon’s Viral “Zomney” Video

Does it seem funny how Presidential elections always fall so close to Halloween, but none of the candidates ever seem to take advantage of that fact to call their opponent a ghoul or a zombie? Or perhaps they might say that their opponent is the kind of person who would hand out toothpaste and dental floss on Halloween instead of sweet, sweet candy. I’d be less inclined to vote for them!

Well, finally, someone is putting their money where their mouth is and using this occasion to do a little Halloween-inspired mud raking. As I’m sure most people are aware by now, the person is Joss Whedon. And the method is the new viral video that claims that Romney is the man to lead America to something far better than economic recovery or general prosperity: the Zombie Apocalypse!

With the election just weeks away and the popularity of shows like AMC’s The Walking Dead, this video could not have been more timely. Going viral almost immediately after Whedon posted it, the video has gone on to attract some 1.8 million years. In essence, Whedon details how the policies proposed by Romney would create just the right environment for the walking dead to take over. These include cut backs in health care, education, social services, reproductive rights that will guarantee poverty, unemployment, overpopulation, disease, rioting; basically all the things that make a zombie apocalypse so very successful and inevitable.

What’s more, he believes that the zombie apocalypse will create a new kind of one percent – something Romney approves of – which will be composed of people who can run really fast, know parkour, and can make explosives. But by far the best line in it was “(are you) ready for the purity and courage of Mitt Romney’s apocalyptic vision? Mitt’s ready. He’s not afraid to face a ravening, gasping horde of subhumans, because that’s how he sees poor people already.” Regardless of your political inclination, you have to admit, that’s gold!

However, the real significance of this video, in my humble opinion, is in how demonstrates just how much this election is being influenced by the internet. Along with many other memes – such as Binders Full of Women and Big Bird being just two examples – have millions of people talking and are even upstaging conventional media outlets. Clearly, any campaigner who intents to win elections in the future will be the one who is new media savvy, a lesson which the Obama campaign has taken to heart. So far, they have clearly been leading the race in terms of internet promotion, but that would seem to be an indication of something else at work here.

For example, a clip featuring Girls creator Lena Dunham that equated voting with losing one’s virginity was posted just last Thursday has already gained over 2 million views. That, and Whedon’s video, are just two of half a  dozen videos that endorse Obama, each with roughly 2 million views apiece. While the Romney camp has posted a similar number of videos online, not one of them can measure up in terms of  sheer following or the impact they’ve had. Clearly, Obama has a numerical advantage when it comes to support, one which embraces the young and tech-savvy. And in an age of information, that’s a good edge to have! As I’m sure people are bound to say very soon, when it comes to internet campaigning, “Go viral or go home!”

Check out Whedon’s and Dunham’s videos below. Again, regardless of your political affiliations, I think you’ll agree that both are poignant and quite funny!