Canon Casting – Last Shot

It’s been a minute since our last update to our ongoing fan casting series, lovingly called Canon Casting. As always, we love all the feedback we get on this feature to the site, keep it coming! This month’s addition – Last Shot, the Solo, a Star Wars Story tie-in by Daniel Jose Older! If you’re new to the site and/or column and need an explanation on how all of this works, have no fear, we have you covered:

We tackle a non-film project and fan cast it – with a few rules. Actors have to be alive, and age appropriate. So, in other words, you can’t cast an actor who’s passed away, even if it means a recast. Same deal with not being able to ‘time travel’ to find the perfect actor – no, Marlon Brando isn’t available… Lastly, if one of my current or previous Canon Casting choices actually gets cast in an official Star Wars film, I have to recast them. Yes, it happens, ask Thandie Newton… Make sense, good? I also approach each Canon Casting project with what I feel is an appropriate budget, etc., as not every story will be made into a billion dollar movie. For Twilight Company I’ve chosen the route of a premium, direct-to-consumer movie (i.e. Disney Now, Netflix, HBO, Showtime, etc.) OK, let’s get to it:

Budget-wise, I’m viewing this project as a made-for-streaming film on a premium service – with the quality reflective of what HBO typically does or what Netflix has done with Altered Carbon and Lost in Space. While there aren’t necessarily a ton of characters in Last Shot, there are some biggies. Typically there are mainly new characters to cast, with only a few familiar names & faces returning to action. However, out of the twelve roles we cast for this project, four are very familiar, leaving eight as new characters. This can present challenges of a unique nature, especially given the age of the actors in the original Star Wars trilogy. Fortunately, we are right on the heels of Solo, a Star Wars Story so Lucasfilm has done some of the heavy lifting for us. So let’s get the obvious characters out of the way:

Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, Chewbacca, and L3-37

These are easy, and although they would have to be aged-up a bit (well, Alden and Donald, anyway…), I would be more than happy to see them reprise their roles, along with Star Wars veteran Joonas Suotamo, of course. We are also stoked to see Phoebe Waller-Bridge suit back up as L3-37 again, as her time on-screen was painfully short in Solo (one of my very few complaints about the film, by the way). Ellthree gets a lot to do in Last Shot, and you get a ton of background and insight into her revolutionary tendencies that were briefly touched on in Solo. In all honesty, this book is really hers and Lando’s story, with their flashback parts being among the strongest in the novel. Next up, let’s cast some of the lovable crew that helps Han and Lando along the way.

Peekpa and Florx Biggles

For the role of the Chewbacca-loving Ewok slicer Peekpa, I tapped Arti Shah, who has also appeared in multiple Star Wars roles during the era of the sequel trilogy.  I thought I would hate Peekpa at first, given my well-noted disdain for Ewoks in general, but she really grew on me. And hey, she’s a slicer – an Ewok slicer! How rad is that?! Next up is the grumpy Ugnaught Florx Biggles. Wherever Lando goes there’s sure to be an Ugnaught, right? For this role I went with Kiran Shah, another Star Wars veteran (and conveniently enough, Arti’s dad) who has appeared in tons of films – including every Star Wars production in the Disney era. I have to admit, these were easy choices. Let’s move on to Han’s wives. Yeah, BOTH of his wives!

Leia Organa and Sana Starros

Alright, now we’re getting somewhere! If you’ve been following Canon Casting, then you know I have had to cast the role of Leia Organa multiple times, spanning two eras. Well, I’m pulling an executive decision and doing a Canon REcasting moving forward, and I think I’ve found a winner. Katja Herbers is PERFECT. She looks like her. She sounds like her. And I hope that if Lucasfilm tackles a project in the near future during this era they give her strong consideration. To me, this is one of my best castings to date (although, it took me a few tries to nail it…). ‘Nuff said there. Sana Starros, well hello there. If you didn’t know Han was previously married, you’re probably not alone. Although the marriage was a sham, arranged as part of a scam the duo was attempting to pull off, he was married nonetheless. And if you haven’t heard of Sana Starros, get with the program. She first appeared in the new canon in the ongoing Star Wars comic series, making stops in the Doctor Aphra comic series, as well as Last Shot along the way. I’m also fairly certain that at some point she will appear on screen, and I’m confident if called upon that Hayley Law could crush this role! She certainly has the look, and if you’ve seen Altered Carbon then you know she has the chops, too. Sana is beautiful but has a definite edge (to put it lightly), and I would love to see Hayley in this role. 

Fyzen Gor and Seven-Seven Dirgeos

Who doesn’t love a bad guy, right? The story of Last Shot really revolved around Han and Lando, with the big baddie serving a secondary role in my opinion. For the role of the lead bad guy, the jaded, Pau’an doctor-turned-droid-revolutionary Fyzen Gor, I went with a Skarsgard brother – Gustaf to be exact. Gor was a tall and imposing villain, yet very cerebral at the same time. And while I feel he’s certainly been the most cartoonish and ‘Legends’-inspired villain in the new canon, he still had his moments. Gustaf was great in Westworld, and I’d love to see him tackle the role of Fyzen Gor in Last Shot. As the former Imperial Admiral who was obsessed with Gor and his device – the Phylanx Redux Transmitter, eventually transforming into the droid Seven-Seven Dirgeos, I went with veteran character actor Joaquim de Almeida. Dude has been in a ton of stuff, and for some reason when was reading Last Shot he popped into my head. Maybe it was subconscious, but it was kinda like what happened with Shohreh Aghdashloo when I did the Canon Casting of Bloodline – it just worked.

Taka Jamoreesa

Aubrey Joseph as Taka Jamoreesa
Aubrey Joseph as Taka Jamoreesa

Man, this was a tough one. Taka Jamoreesa is one of the most unique characters in the new Star Wars canon, and I agonized over this one for a minute. Taka doesn’t directly identify with either gender, so nailing that look from my head-canon was very important to me. They’re also a super cool mofo who makes Han feel old and loves space heavy metal (FREMA FREMA!!!), which is rad. But beyond all that I needed a young actor that can go toe-to-toe with the legendary scoundrel himself, and I think I found that in Aubrey Joseph. I’m not super familiar with his work, but after watching him in Cloak and Dagger (yes, the series sucks but he’s decent in it) I feel confident he could pull it off. Also, if anyone else out there has opinions, feel free to hit me up, I’d love to hear who you guys would tap for the role of Taka! Which brings us to the Twi’lek who seemingly tamed Lando Calrissian’s heart…

Kaasha Bateen

Alexa Davalos as Kaasha Bateen
Alexa Davalos as Kaasha Bateen

You can almost always tell what show I’m currently obsessed with when you check my Canon Casting choices, and this is definitely no exception. For the role of Kaasha Bateen I went with Alexa Davalos, currently the star of The Man in the High Castle. I love Alexa, she literally carried the first season of that show, and she has a very unique look, a look that I feel can hold up under the makeup and prosthetics on a Twi’lek. Kaasha Bateen is no slouch. She’s a very confident character, having been a member of Cham Syndulla’s revolutionary Free Ryloth Movement in her teens, and goes toe-to-toe with Lando throughout the book – tough-as-nails and beautiful to boot! I would be stoked to see Alexa take on this role and hope that she will land a real role in a Star Wars project in the coming years.

So there it is, my fan casting of Last Shot. If you’re wondering about the book itself, it’s a good read. As far as my Reading Guide goes, it didn’t’ make the cut on my ‘Essential Reading List’, but landed firmly in the ‘Expanding Your Universe’ category. Lando is the real star, with Han taking a back seat through most of the book. Also, make sure to check out all of our Canon Casting articles and our podcast, The Exhaust Port! Lastly, feel free to drop us a line if there’s a book or comic you’d like for us to cover!