An Introduction to the New "Star Wars" Cast

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
May 13th, 2014

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Few film series attract more speculation and excitement than the "Star Wars" saga. Following the announcement that J.J. Abrams will direct a new chapter in the series after revitalizing the Star Trek franchise, speculation among fans reached a fever pitch. Rumors spread that actors from the original series would return and be joined by an all new cast. When these new cast members were announced, many were left scratching their heads. Although there are some well-known names, many of the actors chosen for one of the biggest upcoming films are young newcomers with few film credits.



john-boyega.jpgPhoto Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
John Boyega

Even before joining the cast of "Star Wars," several publications were naming British actor John Boyega as one of the most promising newcomers. Before breaking into movies, Boyega studied at the Identity Drama School and began his acting career on stage at the National Theatre and Tricycle Theatre. Movie audiences first saw Boyega's talents when he played the lead role in the 2011 sci-fi film "Attack the Block." Critics praised Boyega's film debut, for which he won the Black Reel Award for Best Actor.



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Adam Driver

The original "Star Wars" trilogy produced Darth Vader, one of the most famous villains in movie history. It's been rumored that the role of the new "Star Wars" villain will be played by cast member Adam Driver. Driver garnered acclaim playing the boyfriend of Lena Dunham's character on the HBO series "Girls." With the success of "Girls," Driver has been offered a number of roles in films by famous directors, including Joel and Ethan Coen's "Inside Llewyn Davis" and the upcoming Martin Scorsese film "Silence."



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Daisy Ridley 

British Actress Daisy Ridley may be the most obscure actor in a cast full of newcomers and lesser-known actors. Ridley's only roles prior to being cast in the new "Star Wars" were minor and limited to British television shows. Due to her relative obscurity, Ridley has been the subject of a great amount of curiosity. This obscurity will no doubt last long, because Ridley will soon be cast into the spotlight as the new "Star Wars" female lead. 



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Andy Serkis

Even if fans don't recognize the face of British actor Andy Serkis, there's a good chance they know his work. Serkis has provided voice and motion capture work for several prominent computer-generated characters in movies. He gained considerable acclaim for his role as Gollom in Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and later in "The Hobbit" series. Serkis again worked with Jackson on "King Kong," playing the title character. With his expertise in motion capture work, it's likely that Serkis will once again play a computer-generated character in "Episode VII."



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Oscar Isaac

Oscar Isaac is an actor and musician who has combined his talents in memorable film roles. His biggest breakthrough came in 2013 when he played the title character in the critically-acclaimed film "Inside Llewyn Davis," written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. Isaac's portrayal of a struggling musician in New York City's folk music scene earned him several best actor awards and nominations, including a Golden Globe nomination.



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Domhnall Gleeson

Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson has entertained and impressed audiences during his career by playing memorable and quirky characters. Fans of the Harry Potter movies will recognize Gleeson from his performance as Bill Weasley in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 & Part 2." He had a memorable role in the 2010 film "Never Let Me Go" with Keira Knightley, which appeared on many critics' top ten lists. Gleeson also won over critics by playing political activist Bob Geldof in the TV movie "When Harvey Met Bob."



max-von-sydow.jpgPhoto Credit: Warner Bros.

Max von Sydow

In contrast with the newcomers in the "Star Wars" cast, Swedish actor Max von Sydow has had a long, distinguished career in film. Early in his career, von Snydow worked with legendary Swedish director Ingmar Bergman on classics such as "Wild Strawberries" and "The Seventh Seal," in which he played a knight who played chess with Death in a famous scene. More recently von Snydow has had memorable roles in films such as "Minority Report," "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" and in the Showtime historical drama "The Tudors."

The new cast for "Star Wars: Episode VII" is diverse and fresh. Instead of casting big names, the film's producers have chosen to introduce audiences to a cast made up of many newcomers. Many of these actors have already earned critical acclaim in smaller films, and this is a chance for them to be exposed to a much larger audience.