Back in May, production on J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII scored a coup by picking up Game of Thrones swordswoman Gwendoline Christie in a purportedly commanding role; scuttlebutt has her currently playing one of the film’s heavies. The move came after roiling discontent over the initial male heavy casting, either to mollify an unhappy fan base or as a part of their original design, and has won the ever popular Christie even more cultural cachet on top of the newfound visibility HBO has lent her.
But she’s not the only refugee to flee the war torn lands of Westeros for, well, the war torn galaxy of the Star Wars franchise. Turns out that Christie has a compatriot jumping ship with her, though one with a far lower profile. Veteran viewers may fondly remember Miltos Yerolemou, the man who portrayed Braavosi “dancing master” Syrio Forel in the show’s first season; after making a splash in his few moments with Maisie Williams, poor Syrio was shuffled off his mortal coil in the eighth episode, bravely fending off a coterie of Lannister guardsmen.
There will be no lions or wolves in Star Wars: Episode VII, of course, so Yerolemou may have less reason to fear for his life in Abrams’ hands. Then again, he might, but according to BBC News, his role won’t be major; it’s also unspecified as of yet, though any betting man will immediately put Yerolemou in a combat oriented capacity here. No one wants to comment on the specifics of his participation as filming resumes following Harrison Ford’s leg injury, so the most anyone else can do is speculate.
That being said: c’mon. You don’t hire a person with Yerolemou’s skill at swordplay for a role in a Star Wars film without intending on putting a lightsaber in their hands. Grant that Yerolemou infused Forel with a disarmingly roguish brand of charm that gave the character surprising warmth and depth considering his minor impact on the story; with only scant screen time accorded him, he really made the First Sword of Braavos feel rounded, compelling, and human, at least enough so that his eventual demise hits surprisingly hard.
So let’s temper expectations and assumptions by acknowledging the possibility that Yerolemou is just here to play a charismatic somebody or other; weirder things have happened in blockbusters (say, Ian McKellen playing Magneto in the X-Men films), after all. But if Yerolemou doesn’t wind up igniting a lightsaber and dazzling us all with his gifts as a fencer, it’ll be a bummer. The Greek thespian has honed his craft as a sword master of stage and screen over ten years working with the Royal Shakespeare Company, which as one might imagine involves more than its fair share of sword fights. The man knows his way around a duel.
Which should mean that we get to see him in action once more in Star Wars: Episode VII, but the jury’s out on that for the time being (even if it’s the most obvious conclusion one can draw here). Could be that we find out more detail tomorrow, could be that we don’t know for sure until the movie’s premiere date arrives. Either way, Yerolemou is going to be in the picture here, and that’s splendid news no matter what sort of part he’s playing.
Star Wars: Episode VII opens in theaters on December 18th, 2015.