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‘Star Wars Episode VII’: The Boyega Effect & More

Everyone has had some time to let the announcement about the new Star Wars cast sink in and by now everyone has had equal time to ponder what roles these actors will embody in the new film. I stand here with the intent to tell you unverified, unsubstantiated, and mostly biased views on who these actors will be in the latest Star Wars. Basically, what I’m telling you, before we get ahead of ourselves here, is that I have no clue who these people will play and I have no inside knowledge to help rock you to sleep tonight. In fact, I may not even tell you who I think they’ll play, but I will talk about some of the casting and my relationship with the series in general, so buckle in.

I’ve had some experience with the projects of some of the new cast members, but my main focus and excitement falls on the shoulders of John Boyega. This young man is for all intents and purposes an unknown to a vast majority of the people planning to see the new Star Wars. However, I know him as the immensely enjoyable star of Joe Cornish’s incredible debut film, Attack the Block. Granted, Boyega’s role in that film isn’t all that flashy, but the youngster carries himself well from beginning to end and brings complexity to an initially one-dimensional character.

Go, Johnny, go!

Since that “breakthrough,” Boyega hasn’t quite struck a lot of mainstream success. Evidently, he can be seen in four episodes of 24‘s return to the boob tube- but I’ve never seen a single episode of that series so I can’t really comment on that. In any event, you might be asking, “If he was so good in Attack the Block why has it taken so long for him to get another significant role?” I can’t answer that with any certainty, but I can say that as much as I like Attack the Block, it’s not as if it was some blockbuster success seen by hordes of people around the globe. In fact, it’s still unknown as to just how significant Boyega’s role will even be in the new Star Wars. With that said, he was mentioned in the first big cast announcement, I’d say it’s a safe bet he has a somewhat prominent role.

In the picture released of the main cast at the script read Boyega is pictured sitting between Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver, but leaning more toward Isaac. If you are one to take body language from this picture, you might say that Boyega and Isaac are acting a bit “buddy buddy” which you could then assume means that perhaps their characters are friends in the film, perhaps Jedis in training. Driver has been rumored as the potential villain in the film, which something I can kind of see based on his moody character on the HBO series, Girls. I for one though, find trying to judge relationships based on a seating arrangement to be a little too grade school-ish and therefore take the rumors based on the photo with a massive grain of salt. Go ahead and check out the seating chart that folks have examined with a magnifying glass down to the pixel.


With so much still unknown about the project to sit and try to go in depth to reveal who is playing what (aside from returning cast members) would prove to be fruitless, at least from my perspective. As a big fan of the original Star Wars trilogy, but without the intimate knowledge of the entire canon, I cannot even begin to fathom who these actors are playing or where the story will go. However, the lack of knowledge is not stopping others from speaking out against the casting and making assumptions of J.J. Abrams intentions.

When the casting was announced, the news spread like wildfire with a number of positive reactions. As the dust began to settle though, there were those who were none to pleased with the lack of a certain demographic. There was only one woman announced, which spawned ridicule from a number of angry geeks speaking of gender inequality, even as Abrams announced his intention to hire another female role in the near future. I personally did not have these incensed feelings at the announcement and I still don’t. I am certain that there will be plenty of female characters in the film. However, let’s just hope Abrams learned that some people take offense to women being presented in their skivvies for no apparent reason in the middle of a scene.

The interesting matter for me is that it was rumored that Boyega would possibly be taking on a lead role. This means that not only are they putting a relative unknown in the lead, but a black actor in the lead as well. While J.J. Abrams (and the Star Wars films) may have some catching up to do in terms of gender equality, this is a step in the right direction for racial equality in film. Given the track record of the most recent Star Wars films, I’m doubtful if any cast would have really pleased every fan on the planet. It may go without saying that it is the nature of the business that not everyone is destined to be in love with all the news surrounding a beloved property being revived.


Regardless of the corners of the internet rubbing their knuckles together planning their next wordy assault on a message board against J.J. Abrams and his upcoming Star Wars sequel, I’m still pretty damn excited. It’s been several years since I’ve revisited the series, which How I Met Your Mother fans will tell you is long overdue. Of course, I’ve never outted myself as a die hard fan or even a “true” fan as I know without a doubt I’d probably get schooled in any kind of Star Wars trivia challenge. I simply enjoy the films quite a bit and am not inclined to change the channel when I hear the unmistakeable buzz and clash of two lightsabers crashing together.

I’ve removed myself so far from deep fandom of the series that sometimes I question just how excited I should be. However, I still get excited when I see memorabilia and I browse the Amazon pages with my finger over the purchase button on the Blu-Rays of the original trilogy. Little things like this prove the old school fan is still in me somewhere and he really wants the new film to succeed and wants to defend the franchise when the vultures come out to prey.

Will J.J. Abrams blow us out of the water? I don’t know. I have faith though that he will adequately tickle everyone’s nostalgia and will inevitably let a batch of fans down. It’s just how geek properties work. Even if you aren’t all that thrilled about the cast, you cannot deny that it’s an exciting time. When the prequels were still new to the world, there was an undeniable sense of excitement that the universe was in people’s minds again and bringing people to theaters. We are witnessing it again first hand, but in the hands of new filmmakers that are more than capable of bringing the world back to us in a way that hits the G-spot for most fans.

Time will tell as Star Wars Episode VII hits theaters next year. What were your thoughts on the cast? Do you think J.J. Abrams has what it takes to renew fans hope in the series? Who else would you like to have seen cast? Sound off below!



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