We finally have some official ‘Star Wars: Episode 7’ news from Disney.
Production will get underway at Pinewood this May and the story is set 30 years after the events of ‘Return of the Jedi’. The statement from Lucasfilm also confirmed we’ll get a trio of new young leads, plus the return of "some very familiar faces”.
['Star Wars: Episode 7': All we know so far]
So who’s in the running to portray a new holy trinity of ‘Star Wars’ leads, and which of the franchise’s original cast members will return?
Let’s take a look.
Star Wars 7 cast – rumours, official cast list, and more
There have been no official announcements from Disney yet about actors for the film. The only character that has been 100% confirmed to return is series stalwart R2-D2.
In November last year the first behind-the-scenes photo was released, showing director JJ Abrams and LucasFilm president Kathleen Kennedy posing with the little astromech droid.
The prop will be made by members of the R2-D2 Builders Club, a fan club dedicated to producing replicas of the blue and white robot.
There’s no word on whether his companion C3PO will appear, but the highly-strung protocol droid (played by Anthony Daniels) has featured in all six films to date, so his involvement is pretty much a given.
Mark Hamill is likely to return as Luke Skywalker, but the actor has yet to officially confirm his involvement in the film. We can’t imagine a ‘Star Wars’ sequel without its original lead man back in some capacity.
Carrie Fisher, who played Princess Leia in the original trilogy, as been less coy about her involvement. She revealed to a friend that she’ll be spending six months shooting the film in London soon and has said in the past that the original trio will all return, leading us neatly on to…
Harrison Ford, whose only stumbling block on returning as Han Solo is rumoured to be a deal that would guarantee his return as Indiana Jones (on which he's said to get a much better back-end deal) for two more films, although that’s just speculation for now.
[Mark Hamill talks 'Star Wars' in online Q&A]
Other actors from the original films rumored to be returning include Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian and Ian McDiarmid as Emperor Palpatine.
The production staged open casting calls in 2013, prompting ‘Star Wars’ fans to turn up in their droves to auditions. A casting notice for a 7 ft. male led to speculation that they would be recasting Chewbacca as original actor Peter Mayhew’s mobility has been affected by gigantism in his later years.
'Star Wars: Episode 7’ new actors rumours
As for new actors the strongest rumour to date came courtesy of trusted trade paper Variety.
They claim that Adam Driver, star of TV show ‘Girls’, has landed the role of chief villain in ‘Episode VII’. The 30-year-old is rumored to be playing a character in the vein of Darth Vader.
[What Adam Driver casting tells us about 'Star Wars 7']
But who will make up the main trio of heroes?
Male actors linked with parts include Zac Efron (’That Awkward Moment'), Jesse Plemons (‘Breaking Bad’), Ed Speelers (‘Downton Abbey’), John Boyega (‘Attack The Block’), Matthew James Thomas (‘Billy Elliot’ stage play), Ray Fisher (theatre actor), Chiwitel Ejiofor ('12 Years A Slave'), Michael B Jordan (‘Chronicle’), David Oyewolo (‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’), Matt Smith (‘Doctor Who’), Michael Fassbender (’12 Years A Slave’), Jack Reynor (‘Transformers 4’), Gary Oldman (‘RoboCop’), Jason Flemyng (‘Snatch’), Alex Pettyfer (‘Magic Mike’), Benedict Cumberbatch ('Sherlock'), Hugo Weaving ('The Matrix'), and countless more.
[2013's stupidest 'Star Wars 7' rumours]
Female actors linked with roles include Lupita Nyong’o (’12 Years A Slave’), Saoirse Ronan (‘Hanna’), Chloe Moretz (‘Kick-Ass’), Judi Dench ('Philomena'), Emmanuelle Chriqui (‘Entourage’), Alexis Dziena (‘Entourage’), and Taissa Farmiga (‘American Horror Story’).
Who are the new ‘Star Wars 7’ characters?
It’s long been speculated that ‘Star Wars 7’ will feature the Jedi offspring of the Skywalkers and Han Solo, but that rumor remains unsubstantiated. There has been a lot of chatter suggesting that the new film will feature a female lead protagonist, and some details revealed last year seemed to verify that claim.
A casting notice, confirmed as genuine last summer, tallies up with the latest information about a trio of new leads.
Late-teen female, independent, good sense of humour, fit.
Young twenty-something male, witty and smart, fit but not traditionally good looking.
A late twenty-something male, fit, handsome and confident.
Seventy-something male, with strong opinions and tough demeanour. Also doesn’t need to be particularly fit.
A second young female, also late-teens, tough, smart and fit.
Forty-something male, fit, military type.
Thirty-something male, intellectual. Apparently doesn’t need to be fit.
Until we hear more officially from Disney, it’s all speculation, but that doesn’t stop ‘Star Wars: Episode 7’ from being one of our most anticipated movies of 2015.
If Disney need inspiration, these fan-made 'Star Wars 7' concept posters would be a good place to start...