Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The Inevitable Star Wars Remake

It's going to happen, right? I mean, we all know that sooner or later, someone is going to remake "Star Wars". They remade "Psycho", they remade "The Manchurian Candidate", they remade pretty much every iconic horror movie of the last century...it's only a matter of time before someone says, "Hey! 'Star Wars' was good for its time, but that was almost thirty-five years ago. Who can relate to this Mark Hamill guy nowadays?"

And I figure, let's go ahead and embrace it. If it's gotta be remade, let's have a good remake. One with a good cast and a good director who can handle the material well. My choice for director is simple: J.J. Abrams. He did a good job with "Star Trek" (lens flares aside), he's got some solid sci-fi chops apart from that, and I think he'd make just the right changes. (Which, frankly, are minimal. It's a good movie that holds up even now.)

As to the cast...let's go role by role, shall we?

Tobey Maguire as Luke Skywalker. You need someone with that air of youthful naivete, and Tobey Maguire does that very well (as evidenced by the fact that he's my age and still playing high-school kids.) The only question is, would he be able to pull off the cockiness that Hamill displays? After all, Peter Parker isn't exactly Mister Overconfident.

Maggie Gyllenhall as Princess Leia. This is actually the genesis of the post; I saw her in "The Dark Knight" and thought, "She would be perfect as Princess Leia." She's smart and pretty, which is absolutely vital to the role--the last thing you want is some eye-candy starlet who's reading all her lines phonetically. The thing that set Leia apart from every other sci-fi heroine at the time was grit, and Gyllenhall can play grit.

Chow Yun-Fat as Obi-Wan Kenobi. Yes, I know, he's not Toshiro Mifune. But he's awesome, and the perfect age to play the Old Master/Wise Mentor figure for the movie. And if you could level a single criticism at the original "Star Wars", it's that it wasn't exactly a model of diversity. Having a major character played by an Asian can only help.

Leonard Roberts as Han Solo. Not exactly a marquee choice (but then again, the only big names in the original "Star Wars" were Sir Alec Guinness and Peter Cushing) but he's charming, suave, charismatic, and has made a good career for himself in TV (if you've seen "Heroes" or Season Four of "Buffy", you know who he is.) This could be the break-out role he needs, and he's exactly the kind of person needed to play the part.

Alan Rickman as Grand Moff Tarkin. Let's face it, it's the role he was born to play. A lifetime of being suave, sneering British villains has been leading to his destiny, that of reprising the role of one of the greatest British character actors ever to politely condemn his enemies to death.

Jason Statham and Samuel L. Jackson as Darth Vader: Yes, I know, Statham's not quite as tall as Prowse; but I'm picturing a slightly sleeker re-design of Vader, one more in keeping with modern action-movie styles that makes him into a lethally quick cyborg Sith Lord. Less of the "massive and powerful" and more of the "across the room and cutting his way through six guys before you can blink." For that, Statham works better. As to the voice...part of me is tempted to just say, "Heck with it," and stick with James Earl Jones. But I am determined to recast the major parts, and so Jackson it is. (If the remake goes all the way to "Jedi", I'd pull a Sebastian Shaw and put a different actor into the suit for the final reveal. Probably Daniel Day-Lewis.)

David Tennant as C-3P0. Oh come on. How can I resist?

Of the other parts, most of them would probably be unknowns and character actors. And of course, I'm open to suggestions...after all, that's what comments sections are for!

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tony Todd (Candyman) for Vader's voice.

JNG said...

Thing is, remakes can happen to any corporate owned property. But Star Wars isn't owned by Fox. Its owned by George, who by the miracle of some hideously bad negotiating by the Fox guys back in the '70s, owns all the rights to Star Wars.

And while George may tamper with his films, he isn't going to remake any of them. Not while he's alive, anyway. He's much more likely to do episodes VII, VIII, and IX than do a remake of IV...and the chances of him finishing his long promised and then denied "trilogy of trilogies" is vanishingly small, so the percentage chance of him remaking IV approach 0.

Now I'll grant you that its possible, probable even, that some kind of Star Wars remake will happen after George becomes one with the Force, but not before then.

Which means that this list, while interesting, is premature. George is 66, and the average life span of an American male is 74. So its likely that George has at least 8 years left, and probably more given the amount of 1st class medical care he can afford.

Also given that its likely the rights would take some time to transfer to George's heirs, plus the usual legal wrangling involved in who would actually distribute the film, not to mention 2-3 years to actually make the movie if they got going the day the lawyers were done, and I'd say its at least twelve years before you could realistically see any kind of remake, and probably more like 15 to 20. (Unless George gets hit by a bus or something.)

And by that time pretty much everyone on this list would be either too old for the part, retired, or with George in the Force.

All that said, if you started a JJ Abrams remake tomorrow, I think I'd still prefer a cast of relative unknowns who were perfect than proven stars who are just in the ballpark. Chris Pine wasn't a household name before Star Trek (and arguably he still isn't) but he was right for Kirk.

Let hypothetical Star Wars directing JJ pick the right people from folks he's heard of that I haven't.

Though I have loved Maggie Gyllenhall since Secretary, so I'll concede that one...even if at 33 she may be a BIT old to be the twin sister of teenage Luke.

John Seavey said...

I love the fact that you're just fine with 35-year-old Tobey playing teenage Luke, but you're a little unsure about a 33-year-old playing his twin sister. :)

As to the likelihood of a remake...this is Lucas we're talking about, here. Love the man like a brother, but when has he ever been shy of making a quick buck off of the Star Wars property? His basic philosophy towards the entire Expanded Universe has been, "Sure, do what you want, it's a good moneyspinner, if there's anything I don't like I'll just contradict it later." I don't see why he wouldn't take the same attitude towards a remake.

Chris said...

I also vote for unknowns for the lead trio, but Tennant as C3P0 is brilliant. Now, is R2 purely CGI or a mixture of CGI and practical effects?

magidin said...

If you are going to put Maggie Gyllenhall as Leia, shouldn't you be casting Jake Gyllenhall as Luke?

Too much on the nose?

John Seavey said...

R2 should be practical where possible, I think. He's not a very complex effect, so he can be done practical, and I think there's a certain part of the brain that knows when something's not really present with the other actors...and, conversely, when it is. :)

Allegretto said...

I know this sounds like nerd-speak, but wouldn't Nathan Fillion be a really good Han Solo?

I'm really, really not talking from my nerd-filled core here. I don't really like the guy, and i think the nerd community has too much of a hard-on for him, but i absolutely believe he'd be perfect for the part.

Maggie is spot on, and i love Rickman as empire guy. Lastly, for whatever reason, when i saw Roberts in your list i thought "Boba Fett". Cause just the kind of cool he should be. Should also have more lines.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if this would work better as an original property. If the remake is more evitable than we think. I know I'd love to see Roberts, Tennant, Rickman and Statam in a scifi adventure movie together.

Anonymous said...

George has talked about remaking Star Wars in the Avatar 3D style. I just wonder if he really will.

I agree that JJ Abrams would be the best choice to do that. I was already thinking along those lines when I did a Google for Star Wars Remake.

I think no-name actors would be the best choice for the trio but at the same time, I'd hate to see them eternally type-cast as Luke, Leia and Han.

I can't agree on Statham for Darth Vader, however. They already had the sleek, acrobatic Sith Lord in the form of Darth Maul, played exceptionally well by Ray Park. But remember how Emporer Palpatine thinks - the Death Star (so damned big it was mistaken for a moon for crying out loud), a Super Star Destroyer (some 15 miles long), etc. I think Maul's successor would have to be massive and yet fast. My primary choice for Darth Vader is Conan Stevens. For the voice, yes, I think James Earl Jones is the best choice. The reason is because his voice could be remade from Episodes 4 and 5. Vader's voice needs to sound like it did in ROTJ. ANH and ESB had a Vader whose voice was too intense. Vader is a character of massive power to the point where he can be casual about using it, and he knows it. If they redo the intensity of Vader's voice to that level, the remake will be achieved in spite of having the same voice actor. Think back to ANH when he said to tear the ship apart and bring him the passengers, JEJ basically shouted those lines. He could re-do those kind of lines with a more relaxed - and thereby more sinister - attitude, with his voice recorded with the more basso booming sound it had in ROTJ.

My only other choice for Vader's voice would be, well... me. My voice is actually nearly (but not quite) as deep as Jones'. I'd love to take a class on voice acting and give it a shot. Tony Todd is an awesome actor, but his voice is too gravelly and doesn't have the darkness needed for Vader.

Rickman would most definitely be a fantastic choice for Tarkin, I wish I would have thought of that.

The only problem with casting Jake and Maggie G. is that she has to lay one helluva smooch on him when he's recovering on Hoth. Ewww....

I guess I should give George a call and let him know my choices.

Now if you believe that, I have some prime real estate in Florida I'll sell you by the quart.

Anonymous said...

George has talked about remaking Star Wars in the Avatar 3D style. I just wonder if he really will.

I agree that JJ Abrams would be the best choice to direct, and I was already thinking along those lines when I did a Google for Star Wars Remake. I could live without all of the lens flare, too. Some is ok, but it was too much in Star Trek.

I think no-name actors would be the best choice for the trio but at the same time, I'd hate to see them eternally type-cast as Luke, Leia and Han.

I can't agree on Statham for Darth Vader, however. They already had the sleek, acrobatic Sith Lord in the form of Darth Maul, played exceptionally well by Ray Park. But remember how Emporer Palpatine thinks - the Death Star (so damned big it was mistaken for a moon for crying out loud), a Super Star Destroyer (some 15 miles long), etc. I think Maul's successor would have to be massive and yet fast. My primary choice for Darth Vader is Conan Stevens. For the voice, yes, I think James Earl Jones is the best choice. The reason is because his voice could be remade from Episodes 4 and 5. Vader's voice needs to sound like it did in ROTJ. ANH and ESB had a Vader whose voice was too intense. Vader is a character of massive power to the point where he can be casual about using it, and he knows it. If they redo the intensity of Vader's voice to that level, the remake will be achieved in spite of having the same voice actor. Think back to ANH when he said to tear the ship apart and bring him the passengers, JEJ basically shouted those lines. He could re-do those kind of lines with a more relaxed - and thereby more sinister - attitude, with his voice recorded with the more basso booming sound it had in ROTJ.

My only other choice for Vader's voice would be, well... me. My voice is actually nearly (but not quite) as deep as Jones'. I'd love to take a class on voice acting and give it a shot. Tony Todd is an awesome actor, but his voice is too gravelly and doesn't have the darkness needed for Vader.

Rickman would most definitely be a fantastic choice for Tarkin, I wish I would have thought of that.

The only problem with casting Jake and Maggie G. is that she has to lay one helluva smooch on him when he's recovering on Hoth. Ewww....

I guess I should give George a call and let him know my choices.

Now if you believe that, I have some prime real estate in Florida I'll sell you by the quart.

Anonymous said...

Peter Cullen's voice for Darth Vader it would be perfect!

Skyhawk said...

Sir Michael Cain as Obi Wan for sure!