Listen, I know that there’s been a lot of Star Wars apathy lately. J.J. Abrams has kept that damn mystery box shut for close to a year and a half now, and in that year and a half we haven’t gotten a single solid name to attach to Episode VII (at least as far as actors are concerned). It’s put a bit of a damper on the rumor mill, recently. Gary Oldman gets a Star Wars phone call from J.J. Abrams? Shrug. Benedict Cumberbatch rumored for Oldman’s part, with both actors somehow playing the same character? Yawn.
Well, allow this sentence to (hopefully) clear away some cobwebs:
“Driver, 30, is the first cast member to be revealed for Walt Disney Studios and LucasFilm’s highly-anticipated “Star Wars” installment.”
It’s beautiful. Those seven, short, simple words: “the first cast member to be revealed.” It sounds like a confirmation. It sounds like we might actually have an actor set for the new Star Wars; an actor for the great Internet Photoshop Machine to dress up in tunics and lightsabers and in the cockpit of oh, so many alphabet-themed spaceships.
But of course that sweet sentence comes from Variety, not the studio or Abrams himself, sharing the news that Adam Driver, of Girls fame, is in talks to play the villain in Star Wars: Episode VII. The talks are said to be serious — Driver has apparently spent the last few weeks working out scheduling details, as shooting multiple Star Wars films would hinder his ability to appear on upcoming seasons of Girls. According to Variety, everything’s finally been worked out and the official OK should be coming in a few days. As a bonus, they’re also reporting that more casting announcements will be here next month.
What we don’t have are any real info on who this villain might be. Here’s the only detail Variety deigned to drop: that the baddie would be “in the vein of” Darth Vader. Astoundingly vague, I know. but I’m guessing it means he’ll be chasing the film’s heroes from planet to planet over the course of several films, much like Vader did in the original trilogy (especially considering Driver’s negotiations revolved around the scheduling of multiple Star Warses).
Driver, an indie film actor best known for the romantic lead on an HBO comedy, might not seem like choice villain material, but he’s got some genuine creep within him. When Girls wants to go for the uncomfortable sex vibe, it’s Driver who’s dark and domineering and little frightening, always ready to coerce other characters into creepy sex acts. He hasn’t had many opportunities to shift that kind of “funny/awkward/gross scary” into “telepathically murdering people scary,” but hey, that’s what big-budget opportunities like this one are for. Driver was also one of the fellows up for Batman vs. Superman‘s Lex Luthor, so clearly big studios see him as an intimidating kind of guy. And as a fun fact, Driver reportedly passed on Luthor because he “had a conflict.” One guess as to what that conflict might be.
Picking Driver says great things about Abrams and his choices for the future Star Wars movies. Driver’s extremely talented, and with a couple of big parts under his belt and a lot of upward mobility, he’s the dictionary definition of an up-and-coming star. Up-and-comers are what Star Wars needs- actors like Harrison Ford (a carpenter with one major film role, in American Graffiti) or James Earl Jones (a Broadway actor with one major film role, in The Great White Hope).
With luck, Driver’s career will go the same route as Ford’s or Jones’s, and not at all like the careers of several other Star Wars leads whose names will not be mentioned. And now that he’s been cast, it’s my sincere hope that he smashes that mystery box into pieces, once and for all. It’s what the world (or Star Wars, anyway) truly needs.