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!