In case you’ve been lost at sea, living under a rock, or on a silent yoga retreat in the foothills of the Himalayas, you should have seen the new trailer for this year’s most fiercely anticipated film - Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Director JJ Abrams made the bold decision to hire a cast of young, cool, but relatively unknown actors to star in the reincarnation of the space opera epic, a move which was initially met with nervous skepticism and sweaty anguish by the franchise’s famously vocal fans.
But just who are these new kids on the multi-billion dollar sci fi block? ELLE investigates.
Who? The 23-year-old English actress was plucked from the black vortex of obscurity to play the lead role of Rey, a human scavenger from the world of Jakku.
Ridley’s previous experience may be limited, but she cannot be accused of following the beaten track to stardom. She has an ‘unsual’ CV, which takes in Casualty, the deleted scenes of the Inbetweeners 2 and the grime artist Wiley’s video for Lights On.
Another English actor who surprised Hollywood when he was chosen to play second lead Finn is John Boyega, who made his name in 2011 South London alien caper Attack The Block.
His reaction to last night’s trailer was fantastic (also, where did he buy that silver jacket?)...
You might recognise Driver as Lea Dunham’s tempestuous boyfriend in Girls, but long before stardom Driver spent two years as a US Marine, before being discharged due to an injury. His role in The Force Awakens will be as chief bad guy Kylo Ren, rumoured to be Darth Vader’s protege.
GOT badass and now black-caped, silver-suited space warrior, Gwendoline Christie is making a name for herself playing cool, complex characters. Not too much is known about her role as Captain Phasma, with rumours abound over which side of the force she will be gunning for.
Probably the most experienced actor among the newcomers, 36-year-old Isaac has been on the scene for well over 10 years, grinding his way through Hollywood with a number of critically acclaimed, but oft forgotten roles, before being chosen as another lead Poe Dameron: Dashing wonder pilot and all-round hero.
So, the reigning winner of the Best Supporting Actress Oscar may not be particularly unknown, but Lupita Nyong’o’s rise has definitely been swift and significant. She took the top prize in her first ever feature, last year’s emotional heavyweight 12 Years A Slave, and has since gone on to speak up for African women in film and become the face Lancome.
Her part in Star Wars is another clad in mystery, with Nyong’o due to play a CGI space pirate called Maz Kanata who owns a galactic castle. So a bit different from her last role…
You might recognise him as Bill Weasley, but Gleeson has been quietly carving out an enviable career for a while now, starring in indie features like Never Let Me Go alongside Kiera Knightley, Frank with Michael Fassbender and Ex Machina with his Star Wars co star Oscar Isaac.
The baby-faced 32-year-old is set to play General Hux, another bad guy sporting some very autumn/winter appropriate black robes.
Words by Finlay Renwick