With that in mind, we had to think--what actors, who have an existing relationship with J.J. Abrams, would we like to see in the films?
He's worked on a number of projects with some of the best casts in Hollywood, and so there's quite a wealth of options. Who are our picks? Well, not Tom Cruise and Laurence Fishburne, certainly--we want to see some of these characters recur in the Star Wars universe, after all.
(Also, it never occurred to us until we started looking over a cast list how much of what we want to see in Star Wars is the humanity, the humor and the cleverness, as opposed to the big explosions and the big effects that overwhelmed the prequels.)
Read on...but first consider this: after rumors that he was being courted to direct it, wouldn't it be kinda neat to see Ben Affleck (whose wife was the star of Abrams's Alias and who starred in the Abrams-produced Armageddon) appear in a brief role? Kevin Smith would be crazy with jealousy.
If for no other reason than because it would be delightful to see Pegg, whose character on Spaced famously joked that all of the odd-numbered Star Trek movies sucked and then went on to star in one himself, appear in the Star Wars franchise after having so...err...dramatically ended his relationship with them (his character on the show had a Darth Vader-style funeral pyre on which he burned his Star Wars stuff...but don't worry, he reconsidered).
“I was the exact demographic for that film,” Pegg told The Guardian. “I was a **** 1m-high target, and it got me right through the eyes. I can mark out my life from that point in terms of my relationship with that film.”
The good news? Pegg, who plays Scottie in the Star Trek films, has a great relationship with Abrams, who has also worked with the actor in the Mission: Impossible franchise.
The Fringe star has already taken on the role of Brainiac in the forthcoming animated feature Superman Unbound, so having played a supervillain, he's a natural for the Star Wars franchise.
Is that a stretch? Well, yeah. But it worked for Terence Stamp, who played Chancellor Valorum in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, and it's hard to deny that having Noble play an aging Sith Lord would be an incredible fit. We'd love to see him take a role that would keep him in the sequel trilogy right along, frankly, maybe standing in for the now-departed Emperor.
Between playing Walter Bishop and Denethor, Bishop has brought his considerable talent to two of the most popular genre franchises on television. Seeing him try his hand at one of the most popular sci-fi franchises on the big screen would be great.
Even though he's only played a minor role in an Abrams film (he was "ITF Agent" in Mission: Impossible III), Omundson's geek cred is firmly in place as Psych's Carlton Lassiter, Jericho's Phil Constantino and his brief-but-memorable stint on the comic book adaptation Human Target.
As Lassiter, Omundson has shown an ability to juggle drama, action and comedy with great skill, turning a character who is arguably the least likable in the series on paper into a fan favorite. That's essentially the exact same skillset that would be required to play Han Solo--and while he may be a few years too old to star as the young Solo in the film, the Star Wars universe isn't lacking in characters witha similar sensibility. We'd love to see him try one out.
Added bonus: Omundson has done voice work on a number of Star Wars video games.
While everyone has discussed the possibility of Keri Russell joining the cast--after all, she's age-appropriate to be the Solo daughter, she's a longtime Abrams favorite and she's a cute blonde, which apparently was part of some early pitches, when Chloe Moretz was tipped for the part--but there's another Felicity star we'd like to see get a shot at a galaxy far, far away.
Ian Gomez is a hugely overlooked talent in general, and among the roster of Abrams regulars he probably wouldn't register with most people--but he appeared in about half of the Felicity episodes with Russell.
Of course, he currently appears in another romantic TV series, this time the sitcom Cougar Town, so he might not be an immediately-obvious choice to make the jump to Star Wars...but he could pull off a Lando-type role really well, as he's great at delivering some honest character moments without ever letting the levity totally blow out of the scene.
Certainly this one can't be a surprise pick, right? In spite of having been the standout talent of Lost, Holloway hasn't committed to the next huge thing, opting instead to do some more episodic TV and a handful of movies, including Abrams's Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol.
With his smarmy charm, we lost track of the number of critics who pointed out that his Sawyer on Lost was a kind of latter day Han Solo, with an attitude that said "Don't believe anything I say" and a smile that said he was up to something, even though he ultimately always came through. What better opportunity to put that dynamic right back where it belongs and give him the next big thing he can hang five years of his life on?