I know it's pretty much blasphemy to even discuss this, but I'm going to set up a scenario where it's pretty much okay to talk about it.
Okay, imagine that something terrible has happened, everything Star Wars-related has disappeared from the face of Earth and nobody misses it because no one remembers it...except you. Your collectors edition blu-ray box set of all six films, your original VHS copies of the original films, your endless collection of novels and comics (including the Thrawn trilogy), are all gone. No posters on the wall, no Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, or Carrie Fisher autographed goodies sit proudly on your shelves, not even your lightsaber key-chain hangs from your keys. It's all gone without a trace. Even your Stormtrooper cosplay that you spend $1,000 making, has vanished and there's no photo or video evidence to prove you ever had it.
The fate of the future of the Star Wars franchise is gone completely and you no longer have December 18th, 2015 to look forward to. The entirety of your Star Wars fandom, 40 years of endless hunting for collectibles and anticipating more has gone down the drain.
This has even caused an alternate series of events. Sci-fi has been pretty much dead and a lost genre to Hollywod. People know who George Lucas is, but that's only because of his Indiana Jones films, which starred Tom Selleck (who CBS had no problems allowing to do the film despite his obligations to Magnum PI).
That's right, Harrison Ford never made it to the big screen, Carrie Fisher continued to pursue acting but would never become the center of many Star Wars fanboys' fantasies, and Mark Hamill would never make it big enough to voice the Joker in the 1990's Batman: The Animated Series.
Yeah, we know what your reaction to this discovery is...
A New Hope
But wait, something miraculous has happened, a possibility has presented itself to you that you never thought would happen. You come home to find a large package sitting on your doorstep. You take the package inside and you open it up to find scripts, sketches, concepts, paintings, and other things that all relate to one thing: Star Wars.
You found it! You've found the key to reviving this long lost, but amazing franchise!
Now, you have to do something with this, you find an anonymous note inside that tells you that it is up to you to make Star Wars big again. You have to go out and remake the first three films. You have to try and use your photographic memories of the awesomeness of the original trilogy utilizing what we have for movie-making today.
Choosing a Modern Cast
Obviously this whole thing could get a lot more in-depth with directors, producers, writers, etc. But, for the sake of this article and its title, I would like you to choose who you feel would be the best actors/actresses to take up the roles of these amazing characters.
The whole reason that I was inspired to do this is because I saw Newsarama do it first and quite honestly, I didn't very much care for their choices of these roles and thought that it would be fun if we, at Movie Pilot, got our heads together and created articles of our own ideas of what a modern-day recasting of Star Wars would (should) look like.
So, let me give you a rundown of who I would choose to play these characters if Star Wars was completely unknown to anyone and I knew I could get any actor/actress to play these characters.
Here we go:
Grand Moff Tarkin - Ralph Fiennes
The role of Grand Moff Tarkin may seem "insignificant" to some but Tarkin is actually an essential piece to what launched the Star Wars franchise. He's a cunning and ruthless enemy who is depicted as being of a superior intelligence than most of his peers. His relationship with Vader is also a great thing to see on screen since they are from two different worlds, fighting for the same cause. A lot of the charisma that Tarkin seemed to have was due to the actor that played him, Peter Cushing.
Peter Cushing had a wily demeanor about him, he was eccentric and had a very gaunt, almost dracula-like sort of appearance that helped add intimidation to his character. I feel that out of the modern-day actors that we have now, Ralph Fiennes would make a great Grand Moff Tarkin considering that we've seen him play a variety of roles and a few times as the villain. He's also one of those eccentric and wily actors who can have an intimidating on-screen presence when he wants to (just watch him as Voldemort in the Harry Potter franchise).
Lando Calrissian - Chiwetel Ejiofor
Lando is a suave dude who is both extremely likable and extremely untrustworthy. Billy Dee Williams did a great job at making this role as cool as it was. I don't know what it is about Billy Dee Williams, but he just seems like he might have just been behaving as himself in that role considering cool he seemed to be a majority of the time. The role he established and the type of character he created is the very reason I chose Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Chiwetel Ejiofor has an extremely likable on-screen presence, he's the kind of guy you root for even if he isn't the main character in a film. He's got a suave side to him to, a classy feel that is essential to playing a good Lando Calrissian.
Emperor Palpatine - Bill Nighy
Emperor Palpatine showed us what true evil looked like. He encourage the hate to flow through Luke, he encouraged the embracing of the Dark Side of the Force. With his sinister voice and his grotesque looked, we could have all swore we saw the true face of evil when we saw the Emperor for the first time. This is largely credited to the amazing performance from Ian McDiarmid who has given us such an amazing opportunity to try and attempt impressions of such a sinister character.
Who else could pull of such a sinister and vile role? None other than Bill Nighy. It's no secret that Bill Nighy has a certain air of eccentricity about him, from his constantly arching eye-brows and his devilishly twitchy lip to his odd pattern of speech. It's not to say that he is not well-spoken in any way, it's just enunciates things a certain way that is uncommon. I think he's played many roles that have showed how villainous and evil he could be, whether it was his role as Davy Jones in the Pirates films or his role as Viktor in the Underworld movies. There's no denying (in my opinion) that Bill Nighy would make a great, modern-day Emperor Palpatine.
C-3PO - David Tennant
Despite being a lifeless protocol droid, C-3PO has shown more emotion than one could have expected. Anthony Daniels, who voiced C-3PO for 40+ years now, has done a fantastic job of creating a character that should, by all rights, be an unlikable character; I mean he's very annoying, I think that Han Solo's reaction to C-3PO kind of reflects the way we all would react to a nagging, worry-wart of a droid.
So, you need someone who can nail that twitchy motion, who can also speak with an over-articulation with an obnoxious voice. I think David Tennant is the man for the job, obviously he's not quite obnoxious in real life, he actually looks to be pretty cool and calm. But I think that he could definitely pull off the voice and fit in the suit with no problem.
Yoda - Frank Oz
This is the only character that I'll keep the same, only because Yoda has such a distinct voice (even more so than Darth Vader) plus, the timeline would allow for such a thing to take place because the Muppets (where Frank Oz voiced characters like Miss Piggy and Fozzie) came out in 1976 which I feel like justifies him being sought to play the role due to his experience with bringing puppet characters to life.
Obi Wan Kenobi - Gary Oldman
To cast someone in the role of Obi Wan Kenobi, you need to have some just as stoic and profound as Alec Guinness, or as close as you can get. Someone who can play the type of character you can find yourself rallying behind and rooting for, someone who commands an extreme amount of respect on-screen. There's not many I could think of other than Gary Oldman.
Gary Oldman is an extremely profound actor who has acted many different parts over his career and everything I see him in, he impresses me. Even if I'm not the biggest fan of the movie he's in, he always impresses me as an actor. I loved him in The Dark Knight Trilogy, I loved him in the Harry Potter franchise, and he's impressed me with many other roles along the way. I think he has a lot he could teach younger actors and that same wisdom could be transferred into his role as Obi Wan.
Darth Vader - Idris Elba (Voice and Physical Actor) & Daniel Day-Lewis (Unmasked Vader/Anakin Skywalker)
How do you recast Darth Vader? How do you replace James Earl Jones? Well, you can't, you just...can't. But you can offer your best, most inspired choice and hope not to be judged.
Darth Vader has just a commanding presence, he's authoritative, intimidating, threatening, etc. Part of that is credited to the powerful, booming voice of James Earl Jones who has a voice that no one can imitate. The best actor that I could think to do the role of Darth Vader's voice would be Idris Elba. He has a very booming voice when he chooses and it's scary deep at times, but never gravely, it's still a smooth, articulate voice, that could easily be a horrifying voice coming from that horrifying helmet.
Plus, Idris Elba stands at a full height of 6'3" which would help provide the physical on-screen dominance that would be needed.
As for who would play the role of Anakin Skywalker when he removes his helmet at the end of 'Star Wars - Episode VI: Return of the Jedi', I'd choose Daniel Day-Lewis. I think he's also an amazing actor and would be good for the part of an older Anakin. Plus, he's only one inch shorter than Idris Elba which would not seem off seeing his face in the suit as it might if there were a much shorter actor chosen.
Han Solo - Garrett Hedlund
I can't say it enough, so I'll just say it here: There is no actually replacing any original Star Wars cast member. Every character in Star Wars was made iconic by the actors that played them.
One such iconic character is that of Han Solo. He set the standard for those men who aspired to sport a rugged look and a sarcastic wit. Harrison Ford's Han Solo has become one of the most popular movie characters of all time and is many, many Star Wars' fans favorite character.
So it's with a cautious hand that I type who I think would make a good Han Solo in the vein of Harrison Ford's previous depiction: Garrett Hedlund. For those of you who read my Star Wars article from December 2014 where I chose ten characters to base a Star Wars spin-off film on (you can read that by clicking HERE), you'll know that I was an advocate for Garret Hedlund even then.
I feel like Garrett Hedlund is really coming up as an actor, having recently played a part in Angelina Jolie's 'Unbroken' film and now starring as Hook in the upcoming 'Pan' film. He's got a charm to him that I think would make for a good Han Solo, plus, I feel that Hedlund looks like a younger version of Ford, easily.
Princess Leia - Jennifer Lawrence
When I attended the Indiana Comic Con this past March, I sat in on Carrie Fisher's Q&A where she was obviously asked a plethora of Star Wars questions. One such question why she thought she was given the role and she stated:
"Because I wasn't squeezy and tilty."
An obvious jab at the typical girly-girl princess that were popular in that day and age. But that's extremely true of Princess Leia's character, she set the standard for future female characters that kick butt.
The thing about Carrie Fisher's Princess Leia was that she didn't look super dolled up, she wasn't fake, she didn't encourage an impossible standard for girls. She had a natural beauty to her.
All of the above reasons are why I chose Jennifer Lawrence. She is a wonderful actress who has a lot of spunk and doesn't necessarily fit into the girly-girl standards that are so often depicted in movies like 'Mean Girls'. Plus, I feel that she could wear any of the Princess Leia outfits and bare a strong resemblance to Carrie Fisher's depiction.
Luke Skywalker - Nicholas Hoult
To cast someone in the role of Luke Skywalker, you have to get someone who brings a touch of youthful, heroic naivety to the film. Mark Hamill gave us the starry-eyed youth who became the hero of the galaxy at the end of 'Star Wars - Episode VI: Return of the Jedi'.
I chose Nicholas Hoult for the role. This was probably the hardest for me to cast when I was thinking about it but when I cast these actors in my mind, I picture them in the classic scenes from all three original films. Nicholas Hoult was by far, the best that I could have imagined. He's an amazing actor and is definitely on the rise in Hollywood having starred alongside Jennifer Lawrence in 'X-Men: First Class' and 'X-Men: Days of Future Past', leading a zombie/rom-com in 'Warm Bodies' (which I loved), and getting a role in the recently released 'Mad Max: Fury Road'. He deserves the publicity he gets and I think that's obviously credited to his acting ability which is also the reason I chose him for the lightsaber-wielding hero.
Congratulations, after the release of your final installment in the Star Wars trilogy, you have created a hit. It's the biggest film ever, breaking all of the top records at the box-office!
Then you wake up the next day to discover it was all just a dream. Everything is back in order. Your collectors edition blu-ray box set of all six films, your original VHS copies of the original films, your endless collection of novels and comics (including the Thrawn trilogy), are all right where you left them. Star Wars posters are plastered back on the wall, your Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher autographed goodies sit proudly on your shelves once again, even your lightsaber key-chain hangs from your keys. It's all back with no threat of loss. Even your Stormtrooper cosplay that you spend $1,000 making, is standing proudly in a corner of your bedroom/office/den/(whatever). You don't refrain from putting it on and doing a celebratory dance.
You do find one odd thing though when you walk out of the bedroom. Sitting on your living room table, is a blu-ray collectors edition of the original Star Wars trilogy, only, it's not the same as the one you have with the rest of your Star Wars blu-rays and dvds. No, this is the one you remember making in your dreams. It's the only copy in existence, a physical souvenir from your dream. Do you keep the one-of-kind blu-ray set? Do you show your friends and family? Do you try to get in-touch with Disney or Lucasfilm to show them your discovery? Or do you throw it away and try to forget the awful scenario?But seriously, let me know in the comments what you thought of my cast and who you would cast as these amazing character if you had to.
So what did you think of my fancast? Let me know in the comments section below! Try to remember this is all hypothetical, I'm not saying they need to reboot the original trilogy so don't get all self-righteous on me about this, it's for fun. I just wanted there to be a better recast of the Star Wars original trilogy than Newsarama's where Judi Dench was Yoda, Morgan Freeman was Obi Wan, and Liam Neeson was Darth Vader (try not to imagine that).