After a decade of waiting, Star Wars fans all over the world will be able to enjoy their favorite sci-fi film franchise. According to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan F. Horn, Star Wars: Episode VII has already begun production and that majority of the cast members was set. The trio of new lead actors has yet to be revealed, although the original cast members – Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, and Mark Hamill – are said to be playing important roles in the movie. The most exciting news, however, is Peter Mayhew’s reprisal of his role as the massive Wookiee warrior Chewbacca.
The 69-year-old English actor played Han Solo’s hairy co-pilot in the original Star Wars trilogy, starting with the 1977 film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Rumors of his participation in the new Star Wars film surfaced when he canceled a scheduled appearance at the Comicpalooza convention in Texas “due to filming”.
— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) April 8, 2014
Episode VII director J.J. Abrams had been very discreet about the casting details of the film prior to filming, although actress Carrie Fisher had been quoted several times regarding her appearance in the new film.
Despite several rumors that Mayhew might be replaced with another actor in the Chewbacca role, the 7’3” actor addressed his fans by saying that he intends to reprise his iconic role for Episode VII. Mayhew has gone through double-knee replacement surgery in order to restore his ability to walk, after two years of being in a wheelchair.
Star Wars: Episode VII is set to hit cinemas on December 18, 2015. A growing list of well-known actors have either auditioned for a role in the film or are heavily rumored to be part of it officially. English actor Benedict Cumberbatch, whom Abrams also directed in Star Trek Into Darkness, is reported to play the role of a Sith Lord in Episode VII, although there have also been rumors of a female Sith being introduced in the film.
Image via Peter Mayhew, Twitter