May the 4th, otherwise known as Star Wars Day, holds mass popularity amongst both hard-core and casual fans of the franchise and is expanding every year. Evidently, Lucasfilm and J. J. Abrams himself also hold the day in special regard, if only judging by the coincidentally timed announcement of the Star Wars cast list for the new instalment in the movie series.

We’ve known that Carrie Fisher (Leia), Mark Hamill (Luke) and Harrison Ford (Han Solo) were reprising their roles in the film for a while now, and the new announcements that Anthony Daniels (C-3P0), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) and Kenny Baker (R2-D2) will be returning is a relief. But it is the new cast that has us salivating for the next chunk of sci-fi goodness –mainly because, once again, the franchise has chosen a group of relatively unknown stars as leads.

John Boyega is a name you may remember –the British actor was the troubled (and brilliant) lead of Joe Cornish’s Attack the Block in 2011– but the name Daisy Ridley might mean less to you. Appearing in various TV series, including Silent Witness and Casualty, she is possibly most famous for appearing in the three part interactive film Lifesaver, which was nominated for a BAFTA. The Hertfordshire born actress has also gotten a leading role, alongside Boyega, Adam Driver (US actor famous for Girls), Oscar Isaac (the US actor who played King John in 2010’s Robin Hood and recently received acclaim for his role in Inside Llewyn Davis) and Domhnall Gleeson (Irish stage actor who is famous for playing Bill Weasley in Harry Potter), alongside more well-known actors such as Andy Serkis (Gollum, King Kong and Ian Brady) and Max Von Sydow (Ming the Merciless from Flash Gordon, and a Golden Globe nominee for his role in Extremely Loud, Incredibly Close).

The cast for the original Star Wars Trilogy (Episodes 4, 5 and 6- keep up!) was relatively unknown at the time, though Harrison Ford had started to make a name for himself. His later prequel trilogy, slightly more bulked out with stars like Samuel L Jackson, Natalie Portman, Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor, did not do as well –though this was arguably the fault of the script rather than the actors. To see Abrams acknowledging the reasons behind the early success of the franchise brings hope for this latest trilogy –hope that it needed in order to compensate for the disappointment in the last set.

Have a great day, fellow fans, and May the 4th be with you all.

Alex Davies


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