On Thursday, J.J. Abrams decided to finally let “Star Wars” fans peek behind the “Episode VII” curtain. The Bad Robot Twitter account shared an image of Abrams and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy with R2D2, and the Internet proceeded to explode.
— Bad Robot (@bad_robot) November 14, 2013
Of course the galaxy’s most famous R2 unit would make an appearance in the upcoming trilogy — let’s hope he doesn’t die unexpectedly, Hedwig-style — but regardless, it appeared to be the first confirmation of a returning cast member, something the team has failed to do, officially, for Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford.
If this is the beginning of returning cast announcements for “Episode VII,” we’ve ranked characters from the original trilogy from least likely to most likely to return. (Apologies in advance to fans of bounty hunters.)
As much as we love Patton Oswalt’s proposed opening shot of the gloved Mandalorian armor gauntlet of Boba Fett reaching out of the Sarlacc pit, it’s curtains for the feared bounty hunter. That probably wouldn’t be the case if George Lucas were writing “Episode VII” — given the prequel’s obsession with fan service — but we hope Abrams decides to move on to new enemies. (Just wait until the inevitable Boba Fett movie, jeez.)
Even though the Force makes a cameo from any dead Jedi completely plausible, this one seems like a bit of a stretch, since the last time we saw Old Ben Kenobi, he was, well, old. With only Ewan McGregor to play the former Jedi master, it would take an awkward bit of expository dialogue to explain how Obi-Wan, being unhappy with his more elderly ghostly image, decided to dial it back a few years to his younger, sexier self. But Anakin did look like Hayden Christensen in the Special Edition of “Jedi”…
Yes, he’s very, very dead, but as we explained with Obi-Wan, Anakin can definitely come back to say “hello.” Who wouldn’t want to see a conversation between Luke, now much older, and Anakin? But such conversations would slightly undercut the significance of Vader’s sacrifice at the end of “Jedi,” so let’s hold off on this for now. Anyway, who would play him? (No, not you, Hayden Christensen.)
How could you bring back the big three and not bring back the honorary fourth member? And you know that Billy Dee Williams is down, especially if there’s a cape involved. Perhaps he’s only down for a cameo, but there’s little chance we see an older Han without checking in with his buddy.
If someone is going to come back as a Jedi ghost, it’s going to be this little green guy. Especially after the prequels, Master Yoda has become an integral part of the series’ imagery. Part of the promise of more “Star Wars” is the unspoken agreement that the new installment will have all the hallmarks of a “Star Wars” movie, and since “The Empire Strikes Back,” that has meant a visit from the backwards-talking Jedi master.
For the same reasons that Yoda has to show up in “Episode VII,” that goes double for the world’s most famous wookie. All of the novelty of continuing the story from the original trilogy is to see the characters we love interacting once again. A cheap cameo in “Episode III” doesn’t do that, so fans are going to expect the goods come December 2015.
Han, Leia and Luke
For the sake of brevity, we’re going to group these three together. There is simply no way that Lucasfilm continues the story of “Star Wars,” post-”Return of the Jedi,” and doesn’t include the three humans that were the reason we’re all here in the first place.
The droids of “Star Wars” are a package deal. It’s as simple as that. If R2 is there, 3PO isn’t far behind, probably complaining about something.