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Seniors headline new "Star Wars" cast

April 30, 2014

It has been nearly 40 years since the original "Star Wars" movie graced the silver screen. While creator George Lucas told fans that there would be no additional films following the conclusion of the millennial trilogy, once the franchise was bought out by Disney, the corporation began setting new sequels in the works.

Fans have been buzzing for months trying to guess which Hollywood stars would be cast in the revamped series, and, just five days before International Star Wars Day, director J.J. Abrams announced the new film's cast. While some entertainment sources may have assumed the headliners would be among Tinsel Town's youngest stars, the new cast is replete with actors over the age of 50. 

The old gang is back
Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill confirmed what fans have been suspecting for months: Han, Leia and Luke will be back. The three leading actors may have been in their twenties and thirties while filming the original trilogy, but this time around, they will be 71, 57 and 62 years old, respectively. Joining the trio will be 69-year-old Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca, 68-year-old Anthony Daniels, who played C-3PO, and 79-year-old Kenny Baker, who played R2-D2.

While this group of seasoned actors has remained an active presence in the acting realm since the series concluded in 1983, few have received the same amount of press that they did during the height of the "Star Wars" fandom. Despite the fact that these actors made enough money from the franchise to retire, they continued to pursue their passions following the series, something that is key for maintaining a healthy lifestyle for seniors. Hamill made a new career doing voice-over work, lending his vocals to roles in both video games and animated TV series. Fisher appeared in a handful of movies and television shows throughout the years, but achieved critical acclaim for her books "Wishful Drinking" and "Postcards from the Edge," which chronicled her "Star Wars" years and tumultuous relationship with her mother and fellow celebrity Debbie Reynolds. Ford continued to act in a series of famous films that achieved commercial success, including the "Indiana Jones" franchise and "Witness," which earned him a best actor nomination at the Academy Awards.

Senior additions pack powerful resumes
Along with the veteran actors that will make an appearance in the new films, Abrams announced several new older adults who will lend their talents to the tale. Andy Serkis, a 50-year-old actor best known for his portrayal of Gollum in the "Lord of the Rings" movies, and Max von Sydow, an 85-year-old actor who starred in the original version of "The Exorcist," both landed leading roles in the new film, which is set to be released at the end of 2015.