'Sharknado 4' Receives 'Star Wars' Inspired Subtitle And July 31 Premiere Date

The fourth installment of Syfy's original film series Sharknado has a Star Wars inspired title: Sharknado: The 4th Awakens, which clearly draws inspiration from Disney's latest entry in the Star Wars saga. The two-hour comedy-horror will pick up five years after events in Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, with hero Ian Ziering's Fin character enjoying life free of shark-tornado hybrids, but he and his family must battle them once more when the unnatural disasters begin whipping up in unexpected places, Ace Showbiz reports.

Tara Reid is set to return as April and reveal the outcome of the network's #AprilLives or #AprilDies social media campaign. Syfy let fans vote on whether or not she lives or dies after the character's fate was left hanging at the end of the third movie.

David Hasselhoff and Ryan Newman will also return. New cast members include: Gary Busey as April's father Wilford Wexler, a lead scientist at Astro-X who is "at the forefront of advances in the field of robotics;" Cheryl Tiegs as Fin's mother and Col. Gil Shepard's ex-wife; Tommy Davidson as Aston Reynolds, the CEO of tech company Astro-X; Cody Linley plays Fin and April's eldest son; Imani Hakim plays Matt's best friend and a fellow soldier; and Masiela Lusha plays Fin's cousin, Gemini.

As with each installment, Sharknado 4 is sure to delight fans with a plethora of outrageous celebrity cameos, most of which always meet a tragic but hilarious fate. Will the producers secure Bill Murray for a cameo, as they had hoped to do for the third film? No doubt fans of the franchise and fans of the seasoned actor/comedian would love to see him have a go with the sharks.

"We wanted Bill Murray in this one and I knew the reality of it," said director Anthony C. Ferrante, during a 2015 interview with Variety. With a laugh, he added, "Remember when Lorne Michaels begged the Beatles to come on 'SNL' in the 1970s and he offered like $10,000? If Bill Murray came to the set, I'd give him a Fig Newton bar because that's all we have – and maybe a beer – and we'll have fun."

Sharknado 4 may attract many new viewers who will tune in merely to see outspoken critic Stacy Dash meet a violent end. The part-time actress shared a photo of herself with the director on the set.

According to Variety, Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! delivered ratings about three times the network's average; however, it didn't draw as many eyes as 2014's Sharknado 2: The Second One. The original Sharknado, which aired in July 2013, drew 1.37 million viewers for its premiere, but social media chatter helped turn the film into "cultural phenomenon" via replays that fared better in the ratings. Before the third TV movie premiered, Ferrante expressed his eagerness to create another sequel, so long as the viewer demand allows.

"This one has to be successful, but as long as Syfy wants them, we'll keep doing them," Ferrante said. "It's a summer event now. It's like a blockbuster movie, but for free on the network. People have parties and even kids love it. You embrace it as long as you can embrace it. As long as everyone wants to keep coming back and we have fun with it, I think you do it."

"Sharknado 3 may have devoured half of America's celebrities, but there are still hungry fans and sharks to feed so the adventure continues — not in a galaxy far, far away, but on your television sets next July," said Chris Regina, Senior Vice President, Program Strategy at Syfy, who teased last year about the fourth installment.

Ferrante returns as director of Sharknado 4 with Thunder Levin once again penning the script. After destroying Los Angeles, New York, Washington, D.C., and much of the Eastern Seaboard, which location will next be ravaged by shark-tornados? During a 2015 interview, Anthony discussed the location of the next movie.

"I want to do international," Ferrante told Variety of the next movie's location. "There are still U.S. cities that I want to destroy. But it's less about the cities, and it's more about what are we going to do with [co-stars] Ian [Ziering] and Tara, and what genres do we want to play with?"

Sharknado: The 4th Awakens will premiere on Syfy July 31 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

[Photo by Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP]