Dream Casting: The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi

Contributed by
Jan 4, 2018

Dream Casting is an imaginative look at the casting process of potential Hollywood projects based on comics and other media. This isn't just about what is being made; this is about what should be made, and who we think should be the stars.

Last week, just for fun, I imagined a modern remake of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. That column got a lot of different reactions from different people, so I thought it would be fun to continue. The idea here is that Kaluuya, Clemons, Plaza, and the rest of the cast whose characters survive that movie (plus Mandy Patinkin in ghost form) will play the same roles in new versions of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. That's why I'm only casting characters introduced in those two movies. Combine this column with that first one for a full mental image of this imaginary trilogy.

Tessa Thompson as Lando Calrissian

Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok) has charm to rival a young Billy Dee Williams, and it's easy to imagine her youthful adventures with Aubrey Plaza's Han.

Jason Momoa as Boba Fett

If Jason Momoa (Justice League) is going to play Fett, the helmet's going to have to come off at some point, just so we can see those curls spill out. There's really no reason he needs to be wearing it inside Jabba's palace anyway.

Stephanie D'Abruzzo as Yoda

I'm not saying the new Yoda needs to be a female character—I think you could go either way with that (or make Yoda non-binary; that could work too). However, I definitely wanted to continue the tradition of Yoda being a puppet, and Stephanie D'Abruzzo (Julie's Greenroom) is an underutilized talent in that field.

Laura Fraser as Admiral Piett

For such a minor character, Piett is strikingly complex if you pay attention. He survives longer than anyone else under Darth Vader's command through a very careful mix of competence and obsequiousness, which I think Laura Fraser (Breaking Bad) could make her own.

Bill Nighy as Emperor Palpatine

Bill Nighy (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) can handle a serious, scary role, but when a project calls for it, he can also chew scenery with the best of them. Because a Palpatine without a little ham just wouldn't seem like Palpatine.

James Spader as Jabba the Hutt

James Spader's voice was one of my favorite things about Avengers: Age of Ultron, and I think he could bring something new to the slimy ganglord of Tattooine.

Doug Jones as Bib Fortuna

Casting Doug Jones (The Shape of Water) as the skinny monster guy feels almost too on-the-nose, but I couldn't resist because I think he'd be so great at Fortuna's delicate mannerisms and voice.

Yolandi Visser as Oola

I just think Yolandi Visser, of the South African hip hop duo Die Antwoord, would jump at the chance to dance around half-naked and painted green with tentacles on her head. She'd also probably be very memorable in the part.

Laverne Cox as Mon Mothma

Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black) is exactly the actress you want to show up just long enough to deliver a rousing speech before the fight for freedom, and she'll look amazing in a flowing space gown.

Nick Offerman as Admiral Ackbar

I think this column has long since made clear that I'm quite fond of Nick Offerman (Parks & Recreation), and I particularly love the thought of his authoritative voice booming from the mouth of a stately fish-man.