Rumor: Star Wars Episode VII De-Aging Han, Luke, and Leia?

As we’ve discussed intermittently on the Now, This is Podcasting!, there are lots of crazy rumors flying around. It isn’t so much that I believe the rumors, I find them unlikely, but I also find them possible. I find them crazy enough that they just might be accurate and if they aren’t happening now, I question why they can’t happen in the very near future?

The gist of the rumors are that the sequel trilogy does not start as far after Return of the Jedi as we might think. The gamut of the rumors say Episode VII starts anywhere from five to twenty years after Return of the Jedi. Part of the casting that has been occurring has been for body doubles of Han, Luke, and Leia. Supposedly, those getting call backs often fit the dimensions (but I have no way of verifying that so…) The rumors runs deeper though and says that people from the productions of Forrest Gump, Tron, and Benjamin Button where hired to help facilitate ILM’s new visual “de-aging” technique.

Don’t shoot the messenger. I’m just passing on what is continually being discussed here and there. I’ve now heard this rumor multiple times with minor deviations.

A big reason I am not all in on this rumor, besides a lack of evidence beyond coincidental hires in the film industry, is because it isn’t necessary. We don’t need a young Luke Skywalker, or a younger Luke Skywalker for that matter when everyone is totally happy with getting a sixty two year old Luke Skywalker. If the Star Wars PR machine wants to ensure everyone they are using more “traditional” film techniques unlike those of the prequels, making CGI people certainly runs in the prequel direction to the extreme. Also, why have such a huge casting search for doubles? That also seems excessive and unnessary.

The big question, if not the fun question is can this even happen?

I think it can.

Check out this ad using Audrey Hepburn’s likeness:

Sure, sometimes it looks creepy. But that wasn’t done by ILM. This was done for ad on television in Europe. It certainly rivaled the work done for Jeff Bridges in Tron: Legacy. A few years have gone by since the production of that film and we could expect the techniques and possibilities in de-aging have progressed. The Hepburn ad says a lot about what can be done in a feature film that has a solid budget. But unlike the Hepburn ad, Star Wars will have the original actors available for reference and that probably counts for a lot.

Once again, this rumor is out there. I’m just addressing it for fun.  I would not bet the moisture farm on it being accurate. At the very least, I find the rumor to be fun. I also find it to be possible and even likely one day. Maybe one day we will see Heir to the Empire starring a 30 year old Mark Hamill. I have my doubts that time is now. But I love this “dream,” and look forward to the day when the technology allows us to never lose our favorite characters because of reality and time.

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