‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ Director J.J. Abrams Still Has Casting Tricks Up His Sleeve

Forced to announce the ensemble early, expect more surprises from Disney and Lucasfilm soon

Disney and Lucasfilm were planning to announce the “Star Wars: Episode VII” cast on Sunday, May 4, which is widely known as Star Wars Day (“May the fourth be with you”), but casting rumors grew to such a fever pitch this week that the studios decided to reveal the ensemble early, lest the announcement continue to be spoiled one actor at a time.

Several media outlets were primed to report Daisy Ridley’s casting on Tuesday morning, and with Disney aware of the steady stream of leaks, they moved quickly to counter the press.

Also read: ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ Cast: Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, John Boyega

While many publicists and reporters (including this one) were no doubt relieved by the announcement, which lifted the veil of secrecy, the premature reveal leaves room for more cast members to be announced in the coming days and weeks.

After all, it’s extremely rare for an entire cast to be announced in one fell swoop, as some deals take longer to close than others — and “Star Wars” was cutting it extremely close with regards to casting several key roles.

Also read: ‘Star Wars’ Casting News: The Agony and Ecstasy in Hollywood’s Reactions

Abrams likely has several other surprises up his sleeve, so fans who were outraged over the male-to-female ratio (six-to-one) amongst new cast members would do well to relax. Abrams is still looking to cast a major female role, which will likely be filled by an actress of mixed race.

Unknown British actress Maisie Richardson-Sellers has been widely rumored to be the frontrunner for that role, though her absence from Tuesday’s announcement indicates one of three things — her deal hasn’t closed, the part went to someone else, or the character has been written out of the script, which was recently retooled by Abrams and “Empire Strikes Back” writer Lawrence Kasdan.

Also read: ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ Box Office Could Hit $2 Billion, Analysts Say

“Star Wars: Episode VII” will surely lead to a sequel, so it’s possible that Abrams could introduce new characters in the final reel that will play a bigger part in future films. Those roles may not be filled yet, or the actors in line for those roles may not have been required to participate in Tuesday’s table read.

Remember, for all we know, a performer could have been unable to attend the monumental event, and a member of the crew could’ve read some of the lines that went unaccounted for.