So Disney and J.J. Abrams decided a couple years back that the way to revive the <b>Star Wars</b> franchise was make <i>new</i> movies continuing the saga… and by the looks of things <i>lot</i> of new movies continuing the saga, starting with December’s <b>Episode VII</b> – <b>The Force Awakens</b>. <p>And while the two properties may be somewhat apples and oranges, the decision of course contrasts the decision Paramount and the very-same Abrams made a few years before that, when they decided to reboot the <i>Star Trek</i> franchise from scratch. <p>Now given they’re both science fiction, and because it’s May the Fourth Be With You – Star Wars Day – we decided for this special day to visit an alternative universe in which Abrams decided to reboot the <b>Star <i>Wars</i></b> franchise too. <p>Though it may be akin to sacrilege in some fans circles to even consider a reboot of the original trilogy out loud, we're going to ask you to spend a few moments in a purely ‘What If?' zone, as we recast 10 key roles from the first three (and in some cases five and six) films with contemporary actors.
We're going with two picks here, either of which would work for different reasons. Craig would be a fascinating choice simply for the cold-blooded, steely-eyed edge he uses to create heroic effect as James Bond. <p>While Craig has stuck mostly to good-guy roles, he seems well-equipped to inhabit a screen villain, and he'd be our pick for someone with the presence to seem on equal footing as Vader, and would laser-beam Alderaan out of existence just because he could. <p>That said, just say this line in your head in your best Christopher Walken impersonation: "You're far too trusting. Dantooine is too remote to make an effective demonstration but don't worry; we will deal with your rebel friends soon enough."
He's already in Disney's stable of course, playing the role of Heimdall in MCU films, and has amassed further genre credibility with parts in <i>Prometheus</i>, and <i>Pacific Rim</i>. <p>Lando is a complicated dude, and it'd be cool to see his conflicted, duplicitous nature play out before doing the full-on hero turn. Elba's got the appeal to keep audiences from immediately hating him and range to take him on a little mini-journey to full-on one of the gang.
We considered Hopkins for Obi-Wan, and while quiet, gentle dignity personifies Hopkins as a man and many of his roles, let's remember his most iconic movie turn was as crazy-eyed Hannibal Lecter in <i>Silence of the Lambs</i>. Just imagine that level of evil-incarnate menace under the Emperor's black hood. <p>Heck, you wouldn't even need the makeup. Just those Lecter-ish laser-evil eyes piercing your soul would make most anyone turn to the Dark Side.
It'd likely be too jarring to hear any other accent coming from the perpetually anxious, motor-mouthed protocol droid than a British one, but it might be just as jarring to hear an iconic/distinctive comedic Brit like ...say just about any living member of Monty Python or Rowan Atkinson. <p>We considered Sacha Baron Cohen given his ability to invent distinctive accents, and Hugh Laurie (whose comedic roots would play well here) but decided to go with comedian/actor Eddie Izzard. Not as well-known outside of Great Britain as he is inside (at least in the U.S. anyway), Izzard, with his stream-of-consciousness style of delivery, would be able to create a unique take on the hyper-verbal Threepio while allowing audiences to maintain mental distance between the actor and the droid.
OK, we know we're going to take hell for this one, but let's face it; the original trilogy is a bit of a, pardon the expression, "sausage fest." <p>We also considered a gender switcharoo for Lando and the Emperor, but we couldn't come up with a single gender-specific argument for Yoda. Why the hell can't Yoda be female? Hell, who's to say Yoda's race (which has never been defined in any media) even has male-female distinctions, or why a male can't have a female voice in whatever neck of the galaxy Yoda hails from. <p>Dench's work as M in the <i>Bond</i> films shows she more than musters as much mentor-ish gravitas laced with dry humor as any male actor of her maturity and stature.
Here's an actor who can comfortably slip into the sage mentor role (see Lucius Fox from the <i>Batman</i> trilogy) and who seems to be equally comfortable playing edgy than he does playing gentle, soft-spoken, and dignified. <p>At a reported 6'2?", Freeman would make for a more imposing physical presence than Sir Alex Guinness did, adding a little credibility to the climatic lightsaber duel with the 7 foot-ish Darth Vader, in a day and age where moviegoers might expect a little more action than the original Obi-Wan/Vader showdown offered.
It almost seems an impossible task to try to get the world to forget the iconic pipes of James Earl Jones as the Dark Lord of the Sith, but then again, when you hear the actor's voice in CNN or Verizon promos, or The Lion King or his famous baseball speech in <i>Field of Dreams</i>, is it Jones' voice you're recognizing or Vader's? <p>With a little electronic filtering, we think a few actors could pull off a new take arguably the most famous screen villain of all time. So here's another listen to it in your head moment... imagine this well-known Neeson passage of dialogue with the infamous mechanical/respirator-filtering mixed in. <p>"I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you." <p>Sold! <p>Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know he played Qui-Gon in <i>Episode I</i>. But let's face it, this is just a fantasy exercise and what better way to exorcise the demons of those Episodes than by letting 'Neesons' go full villain. <p>His particular set of skills? The Dark Side of the Force!
We gave momentary consideration to Vince Vaughan ... yes, Vince Vaughan, for no other reason he's the guy who described the type of Han we'd like to see in a remake, while at the same time personifying the very type. <p>Recall his bar room pep talk to Jon Favreau in <i>Swingers</i> - "I don't want you to be the guy in the PG-13 movie everyone's <i>really</i> hoping makes it happen. I want you to be like the guy in the rated R movie, you know, the guy you're not sure whether or not you like yet. You're not sure where he's coming from." <p><i>That's</i> Han Solo the rogue ... the guy who (yes!) shoots first. <p>Vaughan could pull it off, but Jackman's got the action-hero chops already fine-tuned. A little more sarcasm and swashbuckle added to Wolverine and boom! That's Han. <p>Fassbender is just too dynamic a screen presence to ignore, however. He's so far played mostly serious or menacing roles, but is there any doubt he's sitting on a virtual well of heroic charm? He's the next big crossover action hero/heartthrob, just as soon as he decides he wants to be.
Leia may be remembered for her Cinnabon hairdo in <i>Episode IV</i> (and the slave bikini in <i>VI</i> for the XY crowd), but what makes her such a memorable movie heroine was in large part Carrie Fisher's spunk. Sure, she may have needed rescuing from the Death Star, but she stood toe-to-toe with both Darth Vader and Tarkin, apparently didn't crack during a interrogation process that involved a droid armed with a hypodermic needle, and could fire a blaster with the best of them and trade barbs with Han, often at the same time. <p>Anna Kendrick (known Star Wars geek) and Emma Stone currently have the market cornered on spunk and verbal wit among the young Hollywood starlet crowd, and we'd be happy to see either of them in the buns.
Both the easiest and the hardest shoes to fill, Luke was really one of the least distinctive characters in the original trilogy. Mostly what's required is someone who can play youthful and pining in the first half of <i>Episode IV</i> and then transition to credible action hero from then on. <p>A lesser-known face would probably help the re-suspension of disbelief for fans as well. But then what's the fun of casting an unknown for a countdown like this..? <p>So why not the Flash himself Grant Gustin? He's youthful (25 as of January), particularly in an industry where high schoolers are usually portrayed by actors close to 30, and heroic and would play even younger opposite Jackman or Fassbender. <p>Plus, he's got a little practice already tapping into a power-granting 'Force'... <P>C'mon, we had to.