After what seems like eons of waiting and wading through rumours, speculation, wish lists, open casting calls and more, we finally have a confirmed list of people who will be headed to that galaxy far, far away for J. J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII. You likely already know who Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker and Peter Mayhew are (Luke, Han, Leia, C-3PO, R2-D2 and Chewbacca respectively), but what of the new arrivals? Here’s our guide...
Who he? Boyega burst on to the screen with Joe Cornish’s 2011 sci-fi pic Attack The Block (above), in which he played Moses, the street-smart, often misunderstood tower block thug who fought off an alien invasion with his friends. It's clear, then, that he has previous experience with space creatures. Since then, he’s been approached for a variety of projects, including an unsuccessful HBO pilot, and cinematic dramas Junkhearts and Half Of A Yellow Sun. His casting in Star Wars has been rumoured for some time, and he’s been linked with several other high-profile films.
Where can I see him next? He’s part of the cast for Jack Bauer’s return to our screens in 24: Live Another Day, which arrives on both US (Fox) and UK (Sky 1) TV screens on May 6. He’ll also be a reformed gangster in Imperial Dreams, which has yet to secure a UK release.
Who she? Ridley has primarily worked on TV to date, kicking off with a guest role on that British screen staple Casualty and a meatier part on E4’s Youngers. She’s also cropped up in Matt Berry’s Toast Of London and this year she’s in both Silent Witness and Mr. Selfridge, in which she plays Roxy.
Where can I see her next? She’s part of the cast for The Inbetweeners 2, which sees the Rudge Park-ers reunite for a holiday in Australia, but we don’t know who she’s playing. There’s also an indie drama called Scrawl on her CV, but Star Wars is definitely the film that will launch her to the next level.
Who he?** **Currently, he’s best known as the erratic wannabe actor Adam Sackler on HBO’s Girls. But he’s been working on TV and movies since at least 2009 in shows such as The Unusuals and Law & Order (which is apparently a contractual stop for all New York actors, like The Bill is for Brits). His movies include J. Edgar, Lincoln, Frances Ha and Inside Llewyn Davis, in which he stole one scene opposite future Wars co-star Oscar Isaac (was the way he sang, "Outer...SPACE" a clue to his casting here?). His casting in Abrams’ film has been all but confirmed for months, and though no official word has emerged, he’s reportedly playing a villain.
Where can I see him next?** *Driver has plenty of work upcoming: he’s a man in demand and Star Wars will likely only increase that. He’s on our screens now in Aussie trek drama Tracks (above*) and has Midnight Special, While We’re Young and This Is Where I Leave You in his future. He’s also attached to Martin Scorsese’s latest, Silence, alongside Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson and Ken Watanabe. His Star Wars schedule could potentially be an issue there, however.
Who he?** *A jobbing actor since at least 1996, Isaac first came to mainstream attention after playing Joseph in the 2006 take on the Nativity. Since then, he’s offered that killer combo of leading man charisma and character actor flexibility in films including Body Of Lies, Robin Hood, Sucker Punch, Drive and The Bourne Legacy. He most recently won enormous acclaim (and several awards) for his role as the titular downbeat musician in the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis (above*). Despite one or two big films on his résumé, he’s largely worked in indie fare, so this new job, rumoured just a day ago, is a departure. With luck, it’ll show more people how good he is.
Where can I see him next?** **Next month he’ll be part of the cast for The Two Faces Of January. He also has J.C. Chandor’s A Most Violent Year, William Monahan’s dark drama Mojave and Alex Garland’s techno thriller Ex Machina in the can. The latter sees him co-starring alongside fellow new Star Wars actor Domhnall Gleeson.
Who he? Serkis is one of a couple of people on this list who should really need no introduction, though he has made a career recently of disappearing into performance-captured creatures. He’s been working since the 1990s, with guest starring gigs in shows such as The Bill (of course), Pie In The Sky, The Darling Buds Of May, and, more recently, Dickens adaptation Little Dorrit. Film-wise, he’s recognisable from 24 Hour Party People, Deathwatch, The Prestige, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll and Wild Bill. But let’s not forget his much-praised work in blockbusters such as the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, King Kong, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (above) and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - all in performance-capture mode.
Where can I see him next? July 17 brings Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, which sees him return to the role of simian leader Caesar. While his Gollum doesn’t feature in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies (due December 12), he worked as second unit director on all three films. He’s been working with his company The Imaginarium on several directorial projects, and is on board Warner Bros.' take on The Jungle Book. We’ll be interested to see whether his hiring for Star Wars means he’ll be bringing his performance capture talents to the film.
Who he?** *The son of Brendan Gleeson, he’s become sought-after in his own right in the last few years. After plugging away in TV miniseries and short films, he got a huge break in 2010, playing Bill Weasley in both parts of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows. Other more recent films have included Shadow Dancer, Dredd, Anna Karenina (above*) and a starring role as a hapless time traveller in Richard Curtis' About Time.
Where can I see him next? He’s in cinemas alongside his dad in John Michael McDonagh’s Calvary, in a terrifyingly dark role that's a nice contrast to, say, About Time. Next month brings music-flavoured comedy drama Frank, and he has a role in Angelina Jolie’s new directorial gig, real-life tale Unbroken. Also look for him alongside fellow Wars newbie Oscar Isaac in Ex Machina, playing a tech company worker chosen by his boss (Isaac) to test out a new artificial intelligence.
And if you're wondering exactly how to pronounce his name, we refer you to the following video:
Who he?** *What do you mean, WHO HE? He’s Max von bloomin’ Sydow! But we'll explain anyway: hardly a newcomer, von Sydow has been on screen since the 1950s, snagging several iconic roles and appearing in some inarguable classics. The list is too long to cover in full, but here’s just a sample: The Seventh Seal, The Exorcist, Wild Strawberries, The Virgin Spring, The Greatest Story Ever Told, Conan The Barbarian, Dune, Hannah And Her Sisters, Minority Report, Robin Hood (above*) and Shutter Island. What's more, we must never forget his turn as Ming the Merciless, which has us kinda hoping he’ll be playing a villain in Episode VII. He has a nice line in wise old mentors too, however, so we're flexible.
Where can I see him next? He’s in Letters, a drama about Mother Theresa alongside Juliet Stevenson and Rutger Hauer, and is scheduled to work on crime pic Santos. We’re currently picturing younger members of the Star Wars cast peppering him with questions and asking for anecdotes.