A new open casting call from Disney, complete with character descriptions, has been confirmed by BBC to be for "Star Wars: Episode VII." This is not the first solicitation for young actors, but it could debunk early talk that the new trilogy will follow the children of the original cast.
Like the casting notice that went out in September, the new call tweeted by @UKopencall asks for two young actors: a tough, independent woman in her late teens and a witty and smart man in his early 20s. With fewer descriptors on the earlier notice, these roles were assumed to belong to the children of either Luke Skywalker or Princess Leia and Han Solo, but new details suggest that might not be the case.
The new casting call describes the female character, called "Rachel" here, as an orphan who lost her parents at an early age. She is then forced to make her own way in a dangerous city. The male character, "Thomas," grew up without a father. So unless something horrible happened to Luke, Han, or Leia, these characters don't appear to be related.
But maybe that's for the best.
The prequels suffered — among many other reasons — because of how intensely they focused on Anakin's fall, a story that we had already heard in "Episode IV," and characters that we already knew. Do we need to see what kind of father Han Solo ends up being? And how many compelling problems could the son or daughter of a princess really have?
The characters described in the casting call would be new to us in almost every way; except for the fact that they could be instantly relatable and worth rooting for. What "Star Wars" needs are characters that are grounded, despite the heightened sci-fi setting. It would be a lot more difficult to relate to a character when she grew up with Han Solo telling them to clean up her room.
And honestly, for all of the rumors of behind-the-scenes drama potentially putting "Episode VII" at risk, hearing that J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan want to take a fresh approach to the characters and perhaps not give the world what we're expecting should come as very welcome news.
"Star Wars: Episode VII" is currently scheduled for a 2015 release.