J.J. Abrams has quite a few heads turning on the internet with a remark he made apparently to Dominic Monaghan who he has worked with before on Lost. The comment made by the LOTR veteran to Dweebcast recently right out said that Abrams was looking for unknowns to spearhead his coming Star Wars debut.
Monaghan on Dweebcast
We’ve talked a few times about it and he said, ‘We’re putting together a cast of unknowns – we want to follow the ’77 New Hope cast because obviously Harrison Ford wasn’t well known at that point, Mark Hamill wasn’t and Carrie Fisher wasn’t either. What he said was, we don’t want to fall into that mistake of people going, ‘Oh it’s that guy from that thing!’ and then you’re completely out of the Star Wars universe.’
But does this call into question all of the news we've gotten on the casting moves so far? What of Zack Efron, Micheal B. Jordan or even Gary Oldman and Benedict Cumberbatch? Or will Abrams do what the prequels did and cast relative unknowns like Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christiansen into key roles and surround them with the likes of Ewan McGwegor, Samuel L. Jackson and Liam Neeson?
Screenrant.com reports 'what we know'
by now we know a few more things than we did at this time last year. Episode VII will take place 30 years after 1983′s Return of the Jedi, Girls star Adam Driver is reportedly in final talks to play the main villain, there’s a chance that Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhem may return as the fan-favorite Wookie alongside original stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford, and [Star Wars: Episode VII](movie:711158) will be followed by standalone “origins” movies possibly featuring Han Solo and bounty hunter Boba Fett.
The first point Abrams made to Monaghan was that the original cast back in the 70s was total unknowns also. Star Wars: A New Hope made them stars! Actually a good point. You write a great script and keep an eye for detail and Star Wars Continuity and the players aren't the thing. The issue is good unknown actors.
Secondly, Abram's thought process was that it would be detrimental to the project to bring someone in that has too much recognition as 'that guy' or 'that girl from that movie or show'! Another good point, actually. If he can find talented actors that don't carry with them the 'stench' of a previous franchise or film/tv success, that would be optimum. That way, they would become a part of the Star Wars mythos much like Ford, Fisher and Hamill did. But did adding stars like McGwegor and Neeson actually that detrimental to the prequels. Did not their failures fall on script mainly?
Some would say that the unknowns like Christiansen and Lloyd harmed the story more than they helped. So, is it a gamble? Probably. Will it pay off? Won't know till the die is cast. We can only pray for the best.