As you know, the internet enjoyed a great sigh of relief this morning in the wake of Star Wars: Episode VII's big casting announcement. Finally, we can stop debating who might actually be in this goddamn thing. The news was accompanied by a photo of the cast at their first table read of Episode VII's screenplay (written by Laurence Kasdan and Abrams), and follows months of radio silence from the production.
As expected, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford (now rumored to have a sizable role in Episode VII, a bit of gossip that also suggests Han Solo might not be around for Episode VIII) are headlining the film, accompanied by a small army of actors (and one actress) who run the gamut from "virtual unknown" (Daisy Ridley) to "holy shit, really?!" (Max von Sydow). All in all, it seems like the internet's pretty excited about the cast Abrams has assembled, which is a nice change of pace.
Chief among the reasons to be excited today: the casting of Oscar Isaac. At present, we have no idea who Isaac will be playing in the film-- that information still lies deep within the untold depths of the Mystery Box-- but given Isaac's talent, there's still plenty of reason to feel enthused about his involvement here. For the past ten years, Isaac's been working his way up the Hollywood ladder, collaborating with a number of talented, big-name directors (including Steven Soderbergh, Nicolas Winding Refn, Ridley Scott, the Coen Brothers, and, uh, Madonna) and pushing himself onto our radar with a series of increasingly impressive performances.
The big one, of course, was in last year's Inside Llewyn Davis. Under the direction of Joel and Ethan Coen, Isaac delivered what may very well be the best performance of his career to date. The performance was rewarded with a Golden Globe nomination (he was kinda-sorta-flat-out snubbed by the Oscars) and is said to have put him heavily in-demand with studios, and rightfully so: Inside Llewyn Davis showcases an actor with a wide range of talents. Dude sings, plays the guitar, can pivot on a dime from heartwrenching melodrama to dark comedy, and holds his own against noted scenery-chewers like John Goodman. Here's him performing the film's impossibly catchy "Please Mr. Kennedy", alongside Justin Timberlake and Adam Driver (who we've also just learned is part of the Episode VII cast):
Prior to Llewyn Davis, Isaac was probably best known to half the population as Blue in Zack Snyder's Sucker Punch (not a fan of the film, but Isaac is without question one of the best things in it); to the other half, he's probably best known as Joseph (yes, that Joseph) in Catherine Hardwicke's The Nativity Story). To people who like watching really great movies, he's probably best known as the duplicitous Standard in Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive.
In addition to memorable work in Soderbergh's Che and Ridley Scott's Robin Hood, a quick trip to IMDB also reveals that Isaac's got a number of high-profile projects on his plate post-Llewyn Davis. He'll star opposite Domhnall Gleason (who also, oddly enough, was just announced as part of the Episode VII cast) in writer/director Alex Garland's Ex Machina (not based on the outstanding comic of the same name, sadly, but still...any new sci-fi thriller from Alex Garland deserves your attention), alongside Jessica Chastain in J.C. Chandor's A Most Violent Year, and for director William Monahan in the bizarre-sounding thrillerMojave.
So, who might Oscar Isaac be playing in Episode VII? It's anyone's guess, really. Might be easier to just say who he won't be playing. For instance, it's probably safe to assume he's not playing one of the original Star Wars triumvirate's children (though, honestly, who knows?). It's also probably a safe bet-- given his recent high-profile-- that Isaac won't be playing a character buried under latex, makeup, or a cumbersome droid costume. Also unlikely to be played by Oscar Isaac: Son of Salacious Crumb.
A look back at Isaac's filmography seems to suggest that he'd be more likely to play a villainous character than an honorable one, but of course that's just idle speculation. For now, all we have to go on is that big-ass black-and-white photo that got released this morning. Honestly, though, I'm not nearly as concerned with who Isaac is playing in the film as I am happy to hear that he's a part of it. Whether his character turns out to be good, evil, or something in-between (perhaps a rapscallion-type, a ne'er-do-well in the vein of Han Solo? I could see that), for now we oughtta just be happy he's involved.
What do you guys think? Pumped to see Isaac in that photo this morning, or wish that spot had been filled by someone else on at the top of your wish list (reminder: Don Knotts is quite dead and could not have taken any role in the upcoming Episode VII)? Think you know what character he'll play, or do you want to avoid the slippery slope of speculation? Sound off below, folks: we're curious to know if you're as excited about Isaac's involvement as we are.