Bad Robot set the internet on fire this morning with a photo showing all the cast members of *Star Wars Episode VII* during their first readthrough at Pinewood studios. There’s all the old cast – Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker – mixed with a healthy selection of new, up-and-coming names and established faces.
So, who are they?
John Boyega is best known for the main role in the fantastic *Attack The Block*, where he went from brick-hard Lahndaaan gang member to fierce leader of the resistance against the invading alien force. Acting chops and intensity, a good mix for *Star Wars*.
A relatively unknown face in the US, Daisy Ridley is best known in the UK for a role in TV dramas *Casualty* and *Silent Witness*. Let’s hope she has a role to savour and isn’t just someone’s girlfriend. Jaina Solo? We can always hope.
I haven’t seen *Girls* yet (Matt has, ask him) but Adam Driver is meant to be fantastic in it. He was mentioned last month with rumours that there would be a new Sith Lord in *Episode VII*, and he’s got the perfect look for that. Hopefully he won’t be as underused as Darth Maul.
Another one to ask Matt, Oscar Isaac made waves with his apparently wonderful main performance in *Inside Llewyn Davis* and has long been considered one of Hollywood’s strongest new actors. Again, he has a real intensity, so hopefully the script will hold some scenery for him to chew.
Andy Serkis shot to fame as the motion capture performer for Golum in *The Lord Of The Rings* and has been working ever since. An extremely talented physical performer, his inclusion makes me wonder if there’s going to be another full-digital character along the lines of Jar-Jar Binks. But, you know, without the searing eternal hatred.
Domhnall Gleeson grew up in front of us as Bill Weasley in the *Harry Potter* franchise, showing real tenderness and a wicked sense of humour in the latter films. A great casting decision, I think, just as long as he isn’t used solely as the comedy relief.
Max von Synow is a huge name, a real member of the acting establishment who has shown his acting talent over countless roles, but his turn as *Flash Gordon*’s Ming The Merciless is surely going to be the reference point here. So, if Adam Driver is the new Sith Lord, then maybe Max is the new Sith trainer? He’s got the glare down completely, that’s for sure.
J.J. Abrams has always shown a talent for casting, and that’s shown in full force here. It’s an eclectic cast that isn’t just a collection of pretty faces (and we’re all breathing a sigh of relief that the Zac Efron rumour didn’t pan out). However, I’ve not been a huge fan of his direction up to this point, but Matt pointed out that science fantasy is a much better fit for him than *Star Trek*, so hopefully it will turn into something amazing.