Sony Pictures Classics
Star Wars: The Force Awakens just advanced a bunch of spots on our list of most anticipated movies of 2015. All of you who were shocked to see the upcoming “Episode VII” only place at #12 instead of #1 can rest easy today. We were obviously just keeping things in perspective so that we’d have room for growth when the movie dropped its next casting bombshell. And here it is: according to Twitch, three stars of Gareth Evans’s The Raid movies have joined the ensemble in J.J. Abrams’s Star Wars sequel. Hell yes.
Those leaping into the Galaxy Far Far Away are lead ass-kicker Iko Uwais along with Yayan Ruhian (“Mad Dog” in The Raid: Redemption and “Prakoso” in The Raid 2) and Cecep Arif Rahman (“The Assassin” in The Raid 2). There’s no information on who or what they’ll be playing, but we can assume that this late in the game they’re not major characters. Chances are they’re making cameos for some sure-to-be-great action set-piece where they’re showing off their martial arts skills, maybe while wielding lightsabers.
In the report at Twitch, the trio’s casting is chalked up to Abrams’s clear preference with The Force Awakens to do more practical effects than CGI, to be closer in spirit to the original Star Wars trilogy versus the prequels. But their involvement also reminds me of The Phantom Menace featuring martial artist and stuntman Ray Park flipping about as Darth Maul. If anything, it’s just more proof that this episode is going to be awesome, in part thanks to its casting of all our favorite action stars of things from 2011 – others being John Boyega of Attack the Block, Andy Serkis of Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Gwendoline Christie of Game of Thrones (never mind that she didn’t join the cast until 2012).
Now it’s time for more of these videos where characters from The Raid and The Raid 2 are given the signature Star Wars weapon: