Minor news, but important enough for my top super secret source to send it to me with the subject heading “BEARD” in all caps which says it all, really. Luke Skywalker will have facial hair in the sequel trilogy!! He is now a true Jedi Master just like Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn OMG!
Actually there is a good bit of discussion about Episode VII in this BBC interview with Mark Hamill in London, at the UK premiere of Guardians of the Galaxy. He referred to his beard as “contractually-obligated,” but also spoke highly of the talent of the new young actors he was working with, who apparently are the true main characters of the trilogy (with him and the returning actors being supporting roles), and said that the most important thing about the movie, in resembling the original trilogy, is that the characters were relatable. This gives me hope.
As Rob Bricken pointed out on io9, the BBC reporter Lizo Mzimba mentions that Mark Hamill is still in the middle of filming Episode VII (apparently that’s why he’s still in London and not in San Diego for Comic Con), so what we see in the video is pretty much what we will see in the movie. Along with a badass costume, I hope.
Speaking of io9, I don’t plan to deal with rumors very much in my posts here, but if you clicked the io9 link above then you might notice that the article has another link to a rather weird rumor, so I will comment on that. There are details of the rumor that I find unlikely, but then again, I remember hearing strange things in the late 90s about the Prequels that turned out to be true, so don’t click there or continue reading here if you don’t want to be possibly spoiled! Discussion of the rumor follows:
I find it unlikely that the hand and lightsaber have been “chilling in space” for a while before falling to a non-Tatooine desert planet (which apparently was filmed in Abu Dhubai). Luke lost his hand in Cloud City, located in the atmosphere of the planet Bespin. Planets have gravitational pulls, and those of a giant like Bespin are even stronger. How could the hand/lightsaber have managed to break free of the planet and go out into space? Have you seen the power necessary to get one of our Earth spaceships to leave Earth? And even then, our ships do not leave orbit; they are still being controlled by Earth’s gravity.
Sorry for the science; and please feel free to prove me wrong somewhere. It’s been years since I took college physics. And in any case, there may well be a reasonable explanation given for how the hand/lightsaber managed to leave Bespin.
Another interesting idea brought up is that the new young heroes of the trilogy (played by Daisy Ridley and John Boyega) find the lightsaber (not clear if the hand is still attached), decide to try to return it to its owner, and run into Han and Chewie. This sounded strange to me, as if Ridley’s character is not already Han and Leia‘s daughter. As a member of their family, it shouldn’t be hard for her to contact Luke, nor should visiting her father be described as “running into him.” Are they all separated or estranged? Is Luke a Jedi hermit? Do Han and Leia know where he is? Is it simply a huge, huge galaxy? Is Daisy Ridley’s resemblance to Carrie Fisher and Natalie Portman a total red herring? Is this whole rumor a red herring?
Other details: the idea of a Sun Crusher-type weapon is amusing. For those who didn’t read the early Expanded Universe, this weapon appeared in the Jedi Academy trilogy by Kevin J. Anderson, not long after Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy, around the time that many fans were starting to complain about “too many superweapons!” so I agree, I wouldn’t have expected this one to survive the “EU purge.” But again, the sequel trilogy is supposed to have a lot in common with the original one, and didn’t the original have two Death Stars and a few Star Destroyers? We will see.
I like the idea of the desert planet being one other than Tatooine — I love Tatooine and wouldn’t mind seeing it in the movie but again, the galaxy should be huge with the possible existence of other desert planets. And there’s also mention of an ice planet. But I would love to see a more realistic planet, like Earth, one that doesn’t have a single type of climate/ecoregion/terrain.
Character-wise, I also like the idea of a stormtrooper who switches sides. That would suggest that the Empire or its supporters continued on for quite a while, and I would like to see a “conflicted or changed loyalties” psychological plotline played out in a way that, as Hamill suggested, we could relate to.