Confirmed: Original cast returning for Star Wars VII

Plus some newbies, of course. The biggest surprise? Ben Affleck as Boba Fett.

No, no, I kid. Anyway, I for one look forward to seeing my childhood idols ruthlessly diminished by age.

Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in the new film.

Director J.J. Abrams says, “We are so excited to finally share the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII. It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again. We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud.”

You know how I feel about this. If the original crew ends up as peripheral characters, it’ll feel like stunt-casting. You’ll get the big Han reveal at the beginning (audience ovation) followed by 20 or so minutes of twinkly-eyed mentorship of some younger, less charismatic character sprinkled throughout. Meh. If instead the original crew ends up as main characters, it’ll be the first ever sci-fi flick with senior citizens as its nucleus. (Well, maybe not the very first.) How’d you like to be one of the younger, lesser-known stars competing with Luke Skywalker for audience attention? How do you build a new franchise on people like that going forward? Unless these actors are exceptional, they’re going to be swallowed alive by the nostalgia surrounding Harrison, Mark, and Carrie. Maybe J.J. Abrams should have insisted on major stars in every role to hedge against that.

The more I think about it, though, the greater the odds that people will be pleasantly surprised by the results. It’s purely a matter of expectations. At first, everyone was excited to hear that a new “Star Wars” movie was coming. Then they were excited to find that Abrams was in charge. Then they were excited to discover that everyone from the first movie was coming back. Now the backlash will begin: It can’t possibly be as good as we hope. In fact, given the precedent set by the prequels, it might very well be terrible. Who wants to see Han Solo with gray hair and Chewbacca using a walker? It’s going to stink stink stink. And then it’ll be in theaters and it’ll be good-ish and everyone will decide that it’s so far above expectations that they should make a dozen more, even if Ford gets so old that he looks like Yoda. And so they’ll make a dozen more, and most of those will stink stink stink. But it’ll all have been worth it for that first Han reveal, amirite?