Today’s long awaited announcement of Episode VII’s principal cast somewhat predictably sent the internet, and Star Wars fandom into meltdown. Besides the long rumoured return of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford, original stars Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker will all reprise their original roles alongside what is, it has to be said, some damn exciting new additions. Here’s our brief guide to who’s who, along with some wild speculation as to who they could be playing:
Best known for Attack The Block, 22 year old Boyega will next be seen alongside Keifer Sutherland in 24: Live Another Day. Last year’s open casting call had a role called Thomas (yeah, right) described as a handsome, athletic 19-23 year old. The character description read: “Has grown up without a father's influence. Without the model of being a man, he doesn't have the strongest sense of himself. Despite this, he is smart, capable and shows courage when it is needed. He can appreciate the absurdities in life and understands you can't take life too seriously.” Smart money’s on this being Boyega’s character.
Playing: Trainee/future Jedi perhaps?
The least well known of the new additions, Ridley’s CV to date boasts appearances in the likes of Casualty and Silent Witness, as well as the forthcoming Inbetweeners sequel. Again, it looks like her role is one of the two open auditions that were held last year, with her character, ‘Rachel’ described thus: “Was quite young when she lost her parents. With no other family, she was forced to make her way alone in a tough, dangerous town. Now 17 she has become street smart and strong. She is able to take care of herself using humor and guts to get by. Always a survivor, never a victim, she remains hopeful that she can move away from this harsh existence to a better life. She is always thinking of what she can do to move ahead.”
Playing: With rumours of the original trio making way for new blood in episodes VIII and IX, we’re going with another future Jedi type. Probably.
Girls star Driver’s name has been linked with a lead villain role in Ep VII for a while now. Besides HBO’s Girls, you may have seen him in Spielberg’s Lincoln, Inside Llewyn Davis and Frances Ha.
Playing: As Driver couldn’t look more like a Sith if he tried, we’re going to hedge our bets and say he might be playing a Sith.
Rumours of Issac’s involvement in Star Wars had, bizarrely, started just hours before the announcement. Best known for playing the lead role in the Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis, Issac’s also been in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, The Bourne Legacy and, er, Sucker Punch.
Playing: He gave good villain as Prince John in Robin Hood, but after the praise he got for working with the Coens, we’re thinking something a bit more heroic. Something scoundrel-ish in the Han Solo mold maybe?
You may possibly have heard of him. The sometimes Gollum has strapped on his motion capture suit for the likes of King Kong, Tintin, and two Planet of the Apes films. Sans CGI he’s also appeared in the likes of Brighton Rock and John Landis’ Burke and Hare.
Playing: With Serkis’ unmatched motion capture history, a CG character has got to be a strong possibility, although we wouldn’t put it past Abrams to cast him against type and have him play an actual person. He’s quite good at them as well.
Best known for playing Ron Weasley’s eldest brother in Harry Potter, along with the lead role in Richard Curtis’ time travel cheese-fest About Time, 30 year old Gleeson is one of the UK’s fastest rising stars. He’s also appeared in the likes of Dredd, Never Let Me Go, Black Mirror and True Grit.
Playing: He’s got a touch of Ewan McGregor about him, so we’re saying Jedi.
MAX VON SYDOW
Besides playing Death in Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, the legendary Swedish actor is no stranger to genre fans. The actor played Father Merrin in The Exorcist, as well as Ming The Merciless in 1980’s Flash Gordon. Oh, and Dune, Conan The Barbarian, Never Say Never Again, Ghostbusters 2, Minority Report and Shutter Island, amongst others.
Playing: Hello? Did we mention the guy played Ming The Merciless? Not to mention Blofeld and The Grim Reaper? You might as well just walk into Ladbrokes (other betting shops are available) and put all your money on him playing a Sith Lord now.
STAR WARS: EPISODE VII opens December 18th 2015.
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