In this series, we speculate on what actors would be the perfect choice to play an upcoming character, or what type of character a particular actor is best suited for. Feel free to
unilaterally agree with all our picks voice your opinion in the comments!
We are going to have a lot of Star Wars coming at us in the next ten years or so. The level of saturation that the Marvel superheroes are enjoying now… that’s how much Star Wars is being planned. We have the core movies in the new trilogy (dubbed “Legacy” by the folks at Disney and Lucasfilm) and we also have the one-shot anthology films that take place elsewhere in the universe and the timeline.
There’s also television to think about, as I’m sure the Disney-owned ABC network will feature some sort of supplemental storyline that takes place in the background of the series. I’d like to see a show about the fall of the Galactic Senate, starting after Palpatine has declared himself Emperor and following the senators trying to maintain some form of democracy for individual worlds. But that’s neither here nor there.
What Star Wars requires, in terms of actors, is an ability to give emotion and gravity to the sometimes nonsensical dialogue and convoluted world-building that the series necessitates. The reason everyone loves Han Solo is because Harrison Ford painted us a lovely picture of an easygoing pirate caught up in the middle of all this “save the galaxy” mumbo-jumbo. The ability to swing a wicked lightsaber or look good in those starched up SS-style Imperial uniforms doesn’t hurt.
Here are five known actors who would be great for the series and some speculation as to who they could play.
1. Michael Keaton
The hyperactive comedian-turned-superhero has recently taken a new step in his evolution as a performer. In his Oscar-nominated performance in Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Keaton has shown a type of self-aware, wry weariness that has been missing from Star Wars since Alec Guinness played Obi-Wan Kenobi. But Keaton has something else: an ability to be likeable even under a thick layer of sleaze.
Ideally, Keaton should be featured in the anthology film that has been announced to focus on a young Han Solo. Imagine our OG Batman as a grizzled old space smuggler who controls an entire hyperspace trade route and acts as a mentor and surrogate father for the young rogue. He could teach him how to foil Imperial pursuits, how to play cards, and how to smooth-talk ladies. He’d be the Star Wars franchise’s answer to Marvel’s Michael Rooker character Yondu. Sounds like lots of fun, I think.
2. Alan Rickman
Boy, if there’s any actor alive who could deliver silly dialogue with the gravitas of this man, I submit they are not human. Rickman can make any silly fantasy into an engaging dive into a fictional person’s very real struggle. Be he the cynical angel acting as the voice of an absent God in Dogma, the head-spinningly psychotic Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, or the comically pompous thespian trapped in a silly sci-fi role in Galaxy Quest, Alan Rickman can always find some truth in the most over-the-top preposterous characters. He also is so captivating and enigmatic that he steals every scene I’ve ever seen him in.
Because of his experience teaching Harry Potter the ancient arts of mind magic as Professor Snape, I think the best way to utilize Rickman is to give him great big monologues on the nature of the Force, good, evil, destiny, life, the universe, and everything. He should play a mysterious hermit akin to Yoda, only without the orthodox view of the Light side. I’d love to see a “grey” Jedi, if you will, who controls both sides of the Force in an effort to bring actual balance between raw emotion and spiritual detachment. The best part is that he could even play an alien of some sort… that voice is all you truly need.
3. Rachel Weisz
Stunning, such poise, and an amazing range that has seen her playing a conniving journalist, a tragically-fated humanitarian activist, and most famously an adventurous archeologist in the Mummy franchise. Weisz exudes a class that would be right at home in the opulent courts of intrigue on “Game of Thrones” or in the posh highrise offices of “Mad Men.” This is something Star Wars has always required in order to sell the galaxy-wide conflicts that bring our favorite characters into battle with each other. There needs to be an authoritative presence to assure us that this silly space movie is about serious stuff. And yet she also can handle light-hearted genre fare with stunts and quippy dialogue, as The Mummy and Star Wars both evolved from similar old television serials.
Weisz would be perfect as the first female Moff in the Empire. I’d watch that in a heartbeat. Imagine her deftly circumventing the double-standards of the Imperial Navy while simultaneously leading a star destroyer fleet into battle against Rebel forces. She even has the requisite British accent that must be on your application before applying to the bad guy military.
4. Rinko Kikuchi
Since Pacific Rim 2 may or may not be dead, it’s safe to say Kikuchi should be looking for a new starring vehicle to replace her run as Mako Mori, Badass Giant Robot Pilot. We know from that role and her turn in 47 Ronin that she’s comfortable with physical roles, complete with elaborate fight choreography and some silly outfits. Sounds like Star Wars to me.
The haunted fear and quiet restraint she showed in Pacific Rim coupled with the badassery on display during her fight with her copilot makes her a fantastic candidate for a dark side apprentice. Perhaps someone who lets her emotions overtake her connection to the Force when she is threatened. Too often we’ve seen Sith and fallen Jedi who are perfectly deliberate and comfortable with their evil ways; it would be nice to see someone who is not in control of her dark power, but consumed by it.
5. Michael B. Jordan
Jordan is a great young actor with a very naturalistic, understated style of performance. During his run on “Parenthood” as a young man with a lot of adult mistakes under his belt, he made a lot of bold, philosophical declarations without sounding like a blowhard or a zealot. More recently, Jordan has taken a big blow to his career thanks to the complete disaster of Fantastic Four, and it would be good to erase that from the memories of audiences by hooking onto a franchise that might use his potential to the fullest.
As Jordan has played tragic characters in the past in Fruitvale Station and “The Wire,” I think it would be fitting for his Star Wars character to have a tragic fatalism as well. You know, now that fans are finally admitting that Boba Fett has done very little to earn his rabid following, I’d like to come forward and call out the Emperor’s red guards. Those guys did absolutely nothing, except look really cool. Maybe Jordan could play one of the red guards who failed to prevent Palpatine’s demise. Wracked with guilt, he could travel the galaxy looking for a way to restore his honor…before being frozen in carbonite for his devotion to a dead dictator. In between, we’d be sure to get plenty of awesome duels and assassins trying to best him.
Agree? Disagree? More ideas? Got a good deal on some slightly used power converters? Let us know in the comments.