According to reports by Hong Kong tabloid Apple Daily, it looks like yet another Chinese actor is set to conquer Hollywood: The Hong Kong Ip Man star and master martial artist Donnie Yen is said to star as a Chinese Jedi in the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VIII.
The reports also claim that the choice was between Donnie Yen and the even more famous Jet Li (you'll know him from The Expendables). However, the superstar also turned out to be super expensive, which is why the role ultimately went to Yen instead, or so the rumors have it. Other contenders for the role apparently were Tony Leung, Chiu Wai, Wang Leehom, Chang Chen, Daniel Wu and Stephen Chow.
The reports aren't confirmed yet but we sure do hope the rumors will turn out to be true. Yen has some mean moves on him and would make a fantastic Jedi for sure! If you haven't yet, watch the iconic 2008 Hong Kong movie Ip Man and see for yourself; that guy can move and spin in a dizzying Kung Fu supreme delight.
Hollywood realizes how much sense it makes to cast more and more Chinese stars. The Chinese market is enormous after all and American blockbusters like Furious 7 and Jurassic Park have been huge box office hits there lately. With more Chinese actors starring in them, those movies could take off faster there. Also, no one knows how to put on a better fight than Chinese martial artists!
According to some reports, Yen has been cast for the standalone film Star Wars: Rogue One, the first Star Wars anthology that started shooting lately. So who knows? Donnie Yen might have been cast for either or for both movies; reports are still hazy. As long as we see him in one of them, we'll be in for a treat though, that much is for sure.
Star Wars: Episode VIII is scheduled to be released on May 26, 2017 and shooting will commence next month in London. Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens will open in the United States on Dec. 18 and will feature Asian-American actor Lost star Ken Leung.
May the Asian force continue to be with us!