Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens won’t hit theaters for almost half a year, but casting on Star Wars VIII has already begun, and if the news out of Hong Kong is to believed, director Rian Johnson (Looper) scored a critical hit with the signing of martial arts film legend Donnie Yen (Ip Man, Iron Monkey) to the film.
According to Hong Kong tabloid Apple Daily, Yen beat out Jet Li, Stephen Chow and six other actors for the role of a Jedi in exile who lends aid to Han Solo. Granted this is the Hong Kong version of National Enquirer, so the rumor is either 100% true, or 100% bantha-fodder, but if I were a sabbac-playing man, I’d make my bet on its authenticity.
Yen’s on-screen charisma is fantastic, yet unlike many other martial artists, he’s always maintained a quiet sense of calm about him — even in fight scenes — that easily lends itself to the persona of a force-centered jedi. His physical chops are unparalleled, and even though he’s 51 now, that can only add to the gravitas of his choreography. I can only imagine his fight scenes will look more like Yoda’s, than Dooku’s.
If there is any question how Yen can handle a lightsaber? This scene from Kill Zone will answer it.
Oh yes. the Force is VERY strong in this one. Someone get me a Tardis. I can’t wait to see this movie.