Search for STAR WARS: EPISODE VII lead still on! John Boyega and more now contest for the role

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Do you guys realize that outside of Adam Driver being cast as the villain , we now still only know about as much as we did when JJ Abrams was first announced as the director of Star Wars: Episode VII ? That was more than a year ago. And this state of ignorance is probably not going to change any time soon, as it looks like the search for the film’s lead is still going on, with a few new names now being thrown into the fray.

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According to Variety‘s sources, Abrams and the rest of the suits over at Lucasfilm, after having met with just about every young actor and his cousin, have drawn up a new list of contenders. This group of young, would-be Jedi heroes consist of John Boyega (Attack the Block), Ed Speleers (Eragon, Downton Abbey), the long rumoured Jesse Plemons (Breaking Bad, Friday Night Lights, Battleship), and theatre actors Matthew James Thomas and Ray Fisher.

Disney has yet to confirm this shortlist, so you may want to take this with a Sarlacc pit full of salt, but these guys do match up with the character rumours we’ve heard over the last few months. Also, the inclusion of the almost completely unknown Thomas and Fisher (I couldn’t even find proper pics of them online) gives me some confidence that this may just be credible and not just some fanboy’s wish list.

Variety’s sources indicate that this lead character will be a young Jedi apprentice, which lines up with recent reports that Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan’s rewriting of Michael Arndt’s original script is shifting the focus away from the original trilogy trio of Luke, Leia and Han, and onto a new generation of heroes that may include their offspring.

Also according to Variety’s sources, the reason why it’s taking the powers that be this long to actually just make a decision and get this ball rolling, is because the suits are still deciding on whether or not to cast an actor of a different ethnicity to the franchise’s previous Caucasian leads. Abrams is apparently championing the effort for a more racially diverse cast (go John Boyega and Ray Fisher, I guess!), hence him having met with African-American actors like Michael B. Jordan early on.

Personally, I have no opinion either way on which of these actors they pick (Plemons, Boyega and Speleers are all fine actors, and I have no experience with Thomas and Fisher), just as long as they pick somebody and announce it. Filming is set to start some time in the third quarter of the year, and with Episode VII already being pushed back once to December 18, 2015, I’d hate to see that date slip even further just because the chronically indecisive Abrams and the rest of the folk at Lucasfilm took too long to get their banthas in a row.

Last Updated: March 14, 2014

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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