Why I’m (Tentatively) Excited About Episode VII

Image from http://news.doddleme.com/

This week has revealed some cool news about Star Wars that actually makes me (somewhat) hopeful about the seventh movie. First and foremost was the update to the cast. If you haven’t heard already, Academy Award Winner Lupita Nyong’o and Game Of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie will both be appearing in the film. Following the initial cast release, there was a lot backlash against the lack of female actors who would be present in the film (and rightfully so, I think). In fact, only one new female actor (and ergo only one new female character) was announced with the initial cast.

Why Abrams and the production crew waited to announce Nyong’o and Christie’s involvement is a mystery to me. Or, more accurately (since I imagine they were still in contract negotiations), why they decided to announce the cast without two of the major roles having been filled is beyond me. I think the cynical out there might argue that Abrams and the writing team scrambled to add more female characters following the uproar, but I personally doubt that given the hassle of reworking a script that drastically. But whatever the case, it’s exciting to see more women involved (and also another person of color) adding more diversity to the group and starting to sway the traditionally male-dominant numbers of the Star Wars movies a little more towards the middle.

The cast additions are only one thing that has me excited though.

One of the (many) things that I didn’t like about the prequel films was the reliance on CGI to populated the universe with ships, aliens, and exotic planetary locations. I missed the model ships, costumes, and set pieces that brought the original trilogy to life and which felt a lot more authentic to me. It seems that Abrams feels the same way, and while I imagine there will still be a fair amount of CGI, it looks like he will be using some real models and set pieces as well.

TMZ released pictures from the set that showcased a fully built model of a strange new alien creature. This along with other set pieces, like the Millenium Falcon and X-Wing being built, give me hope that Abrams is aiming to bring back the old gritty feel of the original films. The prospect of this makes me incredibly happy, and I’m excited to see what he does with this.

I’m sure there will be many more spoilers and behind-the-scenes shots released as we get closer and closer to the film’s release next year, and perhaps some of those revelations will lead to disappointment. But as of now, I’m hopeful that this new set of films will get some things right and maybe even recapture a bit of the feel from the originals.

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