Will Ip Man himself be wielding a lightsaber in the fight against the First Order? Let’s find out.
In a report from the Hong Kong tabloid Apple Daily, it’s being claimed that Donnie Yen will be playing a Jedi in the next episode of the Star Wars sequel trilogy and will be shooting scenes with Harrison Ford next month.
Next month? Isn’t that a little early?
It’s VERY early.
So, how true could this rumor be?
While we would absolutely love Donnie Yen to play a Jedi (seriously just watch this clip and tell us he wouldn’t be incredible), we are forced to call shenanigans. First, this comes from a Hong Kong tabloid which is a dubious source at best. Second, there’s just no way they’re going to start filming Episode VIII next month when the sound stages they would be using are currently holding sets for Rogue One.
Furthermore, the general implications regarding The Force Awakens are that Jedi are still extremely rare, so to have a guy zipping around with a lightsaber like Donnie Yen would undercut the importance of our heroes. The team behind the new films also seems interested in returning to the slower and more emotionally charged duels of the original trilogy rather than the flashy acrobatics of the Prequels.
Could Donnie Yen not be playing a Jedi?
Assuming he were in a Star Wars movie? Of course. But the simple fact of the matter is until we know more, we can’t really assume anything. We’re still not even entirely sure what the setting of The Force Awakens is like.
Could he be in Rogue One?
Well, if he is in Rogue One it won’t be as a Jedi as that movie will not have any. However, Twitch is reporting that Rogue One’s director Gareth Edwards is looking for a Chinese actors for one of the film’s roles. Some names that have been tossed been tossed around in addition to Mr. Yen are Jedi Li, Stephen Chow, Tony Leung, Chiu Wai, Daniel Wu, Wang Leehom, and Chang Chen.
Just between us… as much as we love Donnie Yen we’d be thrilled to see Tony Leung in a Star Wars film.
Why are they looking at Chinese actors?
Several reasons, most likely. You may have noticed that the new Star Wars films are really working to diversify their casts. Rogue One especially is showing that they want the galaxy far, far away to be more than the rally of white people at the end of A New Hope. Seriously, look at this:
Lastly, a Chinese actor may be important for box office revenue in China, which has become an important market for tent pole films. More and more Hollywood productions are casting Chinese actors in supporting roles to drum up interest in their films overseas, so Star Wars is no exception.