A new hope, indeed. Manic excitement has abounded since the cast of the new Star Wars films was announced, and that’s just in the ShortList office.
Alongside returning icons like Harrison Ford, J. J. Abrams revealed a fresh-faced batch of new recruits to his new universe; some known, some lesser known, and some even Google is shrugging its shoulders at.
But don't fear: to familiarise you with the new stars, we've done some digging and found 20 facts you might not know about your future heroes.
1. Given that he made his name starring in Joe Cornish’s low-fi sci-fi Attack The Block, we already know dealing with aliens in a leading role will be no stretch for Boyega, who’s also quite the comic book geek as it happens, citing even manga as a passion. Note to Marvel: he's previously admitted he’d love to play Patriot if a Young Avengers film were ever to happen.
2. The South Londoner spent a good while in Hollywood on the back of Attack The Block’s US sleeper success, auditioning and networking across the pond. The charm offensive clearly paid off, and as well as Star Wars, he’s been touted for a role in Terminator reboot, Genesis, and also looks to be set to star in a Jesse Owens biopic.
3. Though you won’t need to wait long to see the 22-year-old actor’s next performance. He’s joining Kiefer Sutherland to sprint across London in 24: Live Another Day, the latest installment in the Jack Bauer saga due out this month.
4. Another Londoner, Ridley is strongly rumoured to play the daughter of Han Solo and Princess Leia, whispers only fuelled when she was pictured sitting between Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher for the cast announcement photograph. Red herring hijinks from Abrams, or coincidence? Only time will tell.
5. Her acting roots are staunchly in TV. Ridley’s last small screen appearance came in Mr Selfridge, while her first was in Casualty, a rite of passage for many a British star.
6. Already hunting for Twitter scraps? Like the obliterated planet of Alderaan, there’s not much sign of Ridley’s social media exploits as the actress appears to have deleted all internet imprints and Tweets prior to yesterday’s big announcement.
7. It's no Blue Harvest, but Riley recently starred in Blue Season, a thriller entered for a sci-fi short competition where she plays a kidnap victim harassed by her tormentor on the phone. You can watch it here.
8. Mysteriously, no official age has been given for the young star, but don't worry, her agency have said she can play any age through 16-20. Oh, and they also say she's adept at cycling, ice skating, Pilates, pool, rollerblading, running, tennis and swimming, in case Abrams wants to shun pod racing for another worthwhile pursuit.
9. No word on whether she’ll be donning gold space bikini as yet, but with a part in the upcoming Australia-set sequel to The Inbetweeners, she might well be topping up her tan on the big screen soon.
10. The 30-year-old Dubliner is no stranger to major franchises - he was Bill Weasley in both parts of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - nor Hollywood - he got screen time in the Coen Brothers’ 2010 True Grit remake and Dredd. It was only last year that he got his first taste of leading man action, in the aptly titled Richard Curtis rom-com About Time.
11. After graduating from media arts from the Dublin Institute of Technology, Gleeson had planned to become a playwright. That was until he auditioned for Martin McDonagh’s play The Lieutenant of Inishmore. He won the part, went to Broadway, and in 2006 was nominated for a Tony Award. Ludicrous.
12. He’s the son of Brendan Gleeson. You can currently see him acting alongside his old man in Calvary, one of this year’s most critically acclaimed films.
13. In the wake of 9/11, Driver joined the Marine Core. This was as much out of a need to escape his native Indiana as patriotism, he's since claimed. Either way, his military background should stand him in good stead for his touted role as a Sith villain.
14. Speaking of evil, he originally turned down the opportunity to play hipster handyman Adam Sackler in Girls because he believed the format of TV was just that. He’s also said to have had doubts to what would be his breakthrough role because he didn't consider himself good looking enough.
15. Another reason not to expect a svelte physique? His scrupulous preparation for roles, like in Lincoln, for which he went to town on character research regardless of a small role: “I studied Morse code. I made flashcards, the whole deal . . . And then when I got there, they had the sound guy do it!”, he later stated.
16. Fame, according to an interview he recently did with our sister publication Stylist, is something Driver is still grappling with: “Being recognised on the street, that’s not a normal thing. And everyone has phones. I hate phones. I am suddenly so scared of [camera] phones. It’s a weird adjustment.” We imagine he's going to be seeing a lot more camera phones soon.
17. Isaac, he who played the titular folk star in last year’s Inside Llewyn Davis, will already know co-star Driver on account of the pair sharing scenes together in that Coen Brothers hit. The duo are also both alumni of New York’s prestigious performing arts school Julliard.
18. The 35-year-old was relatively late to feature film acting, getting his big break as Joseph’s in 2006’s The Nativity Story. Minor roles in weighty productions like Che soon followed before making a big impression in 2011 as the good-hearted ex-con neighbour to Ryan Gosling in Drive.
19. Born in Guatemala and raised in Miami, Isaac's Latino heritage has not stereotyped him a jot. Of the two Ridley Scott films he’s appeared in, he’s played an Iraqi (Body of Lies) and even, erm, The King Of England (Robin Hood).
20. Isaac’s musical talent originally saw him endeavoring to carve a career as a rock star; specifically the lead singer and guitarist of rock group Blinking Underdogs. Who knows, maybe an impromptu session with the Cantina Band awaits…
(Images: All Star, Matthew Brooks)