When screenwriter Michael Arndt left Star Wars: Episode VII last year, allowing for director J.J. Abrams and Empire Strikes Back writer Lawrence Kasdan to take over, rumors began circulating that all of Arndt’s work would be scrapped and the duo would be starting from scratch. While that may not have been entirely true, according to new information from The Hollywood Reporter, it may not have been entirely false, either.
THR’s sources say the project has “changed significantly” from the original draft. While Arndt focused the story on the offspring of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), it seems that Abrams wants to keep the original trio in the forefront of the new film, with the younger characters relegated to supporting roles before taking the reins in Episode VIII and Episode IX.
With the script receiving a major overhaul and characters being rewritten or dropped completely, many actors who had met with the studio or screen tested for roles are no longer under consideration. But this also paves the way for a new batch of casting rumors: THR’s sources confirmed earlier reports that Breaking Bad star Jesse Plemons was in contention, and will be meeting with Abrams this week.
Two more names that are being tossed around are Michael Fassbender, who allegedly sat down with Abrams last month, and Girls star Adam Driver, who was previously rumored for a role in the Man of Steel sequel. And two different sources say that Hugo Weaving is in talks to play an Imperial commander (excellent choice, in my opinion), while the latest character rumors say that Abrams and the studio are seeking “a 20-something female actress who is either of mixed race or black” to portray the daughter or granddaughter of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
As usual, Disney and Lucasfilm have declined comment on any of these items, but THR’s sources have been responsible for plenty of major news in the past. With the start of production looming on the horizon, it shouldn’t be long before we start seeing a few official announcements.