Earlier this week, James at Cinematical.com put out an interesting challenge. Well, interesting to people like me who have a collection of ’80s Hasbro toys in a safe box downstairs – how would you re-cast the Stars Wars Triology? The query has been running around my subconscious like a Jawa chugging Red Bull. I now have my seven characters cast, with two Cinematical somehow neglected.
One caveat – Given the incessant whining of so-called hardcore X-Men fans to some aspects of XIII, I will not tinker with the gender or race of the original cast. James made an inspired choice of Jason Lee as his Lando, but death by irate spam does not interest me so I won’t stray too far from the originals.
Now then, Star Wars 2006 as cast by myself:
Luke Skywalker: Topher Grace. His Luke-like hairstyle on That 70’s Show sold me. That, and I’m confident he has the perfect voice to give the proper immature inflection to such classic lines as “But I wanted to go to Tashi station to get pick up some power converters!” My backup choice – Smallville’s Tom Welling.
Princess Leia: Jennifer Morrison. I only know her from her work on House, M.D., but I can see her carrying well the brunette doughnuts. She has an air of strong resilience with a tiny threat of danger. Plus she could fill out a white robe as befitting a princess of Alderan. I’d also like to see her with a gun in her hand. My backup choice – Neve Campbell.
Han Solo: Josh Holloway. This is my third straight casting call from television, but Sawyer from “Lost” is really Han Solo on an island. The charm, the swagger, the scruffy look – there’s no doubt he’d fire first. He’s also a bit older than my Leia, which is how it should be. My backup choice – Viggo Mortensen (More “History of Violence” than LOTR). My cliched choice – Hugh Jackman (Is there any cool role he couldn’t do?).
Obi-Wan Kenobi: You’re gonna have to hear me out on this one. Sir Alec Guinness added major gravitas to the original Star Wars cast. For high-minded, old-school theatre goers, he was the name on the marquee. The character called for someone who could portray a heroic, but tried and forgotten, old solider. In that tradition, I’d recommend Clint Eastwood. I can see him first appearing on screen, stumbling over rocks like the town drunk and later reacting to the call of more Sand People with that laser-like cowboy glare. He could make it work. My backup choice – Gary Oldman.
Darth Vader: Heeding James’ request that “why not hire someone who’s got the bulk and the bass voice,” I’d go with Dennis Haysbert, President Palmer from “24.” (Or if you prefer, Pedro Cerrano from “Major League”). He’s a big dude, and he can speak with the deep bass of pissed off regality – “Commander, tear this ship apart until you’ve found those plans.” My backup choice (voice only) – Edward James Olmos of SciFi’s Battlestar Gallactica.
Lando Calrissian: Rick Fox. Maybe it’s the Carolina fan in me (I still remember that layup to beat Oklahoma in the NCAAs), but this is a guy who charmed Denise Williams into marriage and portrayed a character on prison-drama “Oz.” It’d be a risky call, but I think Fox could fill out a cape. My backup choice – Mekhi Phifer of “ER.”
The Emperor: James asks “who better than Christopher Walken?” I’ve got two names, two names so strong it’s hard to pick a lead choice and backup – Hugh Laurie and Ben Kingsley. Both would bring the character a distinctly different flavor. Laurie is brilliant as Dr. Gregory House. Let him really unleash that linguistic bile as a Dark Lord of the Sith – “So be it ….. Jedi …” Cue crouching emperor, hidden lightning bolts. Chills. Kingsley would be more of a quiet, menacing and cold – so very cold – presence. His glare alone would freeze a lightsaber.
Whoever between my two Emperors didn’t get the role would be cast as Grand Moff Tarkin.
James’ list ended here, but I want to add two more wrinkles:
C-3PO: This one’s tough. Anthony Daniels only lent his voice, but he truly created a timeless character. Go ahead, imagine any other sound coming out of Goldenrod’s head. Nonetheless I will try to cast his call. I would suggest Goran Visnjic from “ER.” His accent has much to do with it, but his voice also has a kind of a prissy nature about it (Sorry Goran). My backup choice breaks my caveat – Minnie Driver. Maybe LucasArts could make her sound more like a man, but I can hear her inflection – “Ahnd I don’t like you I-ther.”
Wedge Antilles: I’ve always had a soft spot for Wedge, given that he’s the only Rebel character outside the primary heroes to make it from ANH to the end of ROTJ. The perfect choice is Luke Wilson, the guy who played Cameron Diaz’s boyfriend in the Charlie’s Angels movies. My backup choice – Gil Bellows, Billy from “Ally McBeal.”