“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has just added one more reason to grab a ticket for the first midnight showing as soon as possible – three stars from “The Raid” films, Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, and Cecep Arif Rahman have officially been confirmed as joining the cast of the film!
The film officially wrapped up this past November, and it’s rather astonishing that news of the trio’s involvement is only breaking now. Iko and Yayan first came to the attention of martial arts fans after their appearance in “Merantau” under the direction of Welsh-born filmmaker Gareth Evans. They would later blow audiences away once again in 2012 with the release of “The Raid: Redemption“, which re-teamed them with Evans. Following Iko’s brief appearance in Keanu Reeves’ “Man of Tai Chi“, the three would team-up once again for yet another critically acclaimed hit, “The Raid 2“, this time joined by Cecep Arif Rahman. Iko and Yayan will also soon be seen in another sci-fi adventure this year, “Beyond Skyline”, as well as serving as fight choreographers for the upcoming English-language remake of “The Raid”. As anyone whose seen any of the aformentioned films can tell you, this trio of Silat masters is more than capable in taking on the demands of the seventh “Star Wars” film. You might like to know, Iko, Yayan, and Gareth Evans each had a chat with us before.
Martial arts of course, is and always has been one of the strongest influences in the “Star Wars” films, a fact reflected in the choreography of the series of lightsaber driven action sequences. The Jedi and Sith in the original trilogy were heavily influenced by the Samurai and Japanese Kenjutsu. Later, “Star Wars: Episode One – The Phantom Menace” introduced the character of Darth Maul, a Sith apprentice portrayed by the great Ray Park, who based his character’s approach to combat on various Northern Chinese styles, ultimately resulting in one of the best lightsaber duels in the entire series.
Imagine what kind of influence the art of Silat will now have on the action in “The Force Awakens”. Perhaps a lightsaber version of the insidious dagger, the Kerambit? Or even better – how about Jedi or Sith using two lightsabers in concert? The seventh “Star Wars” film was always going to be one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2015, but now, martial arts fans have more to look forward to than anyone. It is still slightly disappointing that Master Ken, whose skill in the art of the lightsaber is well-known, won’t appear in the film as the mentor of Iko, Yayan, and Cecep, but hey what can you say?
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” will be released on December 18th. Be sure to give the trailer below a look and see if you can find the three stars of “The Raid” films anywhere in there.