Shortlist for STAR WARS: EPISODE VII Lead Includes John Boyega, Ed Speleers, and Jesse Plemons; Plus, Character Details Emerge

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With Adam Driver on board to play the villain in J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII, it would be nice to know just who he’s going to go up against.  The shortlist of actors has apparently been narrowed down to rather eclectic mix of actors.  It includes John Boyega (Attack the Block), Ed Speleers (Eragon), Jesse Plemons (Breaking Bad), and theater actors Matthew James Thomas and Ray Fisher.  While casting is by no means official and the audition process is ongoing, a new report has this quintet leading the pack.  Hit the jump for more, including newly emerged character details for the lead roles.

Variety reports john-boyega-star-wars-episode-7that the five aforementioned gentlemen are at the top of a rather short list for the lead in Star Wars: Episode VII.  Everyone under the sun appears to have been involved in the auditioning process for the coveted role, so just to make it this far is a pretty significant achievement.  The only pseudo-official confirmation of in-person auditions so far came from Abrams himself concerning his talks with Plemons.  Here’s hoping we get some literally official news sometime soon.

Some character details have emerged, however, even if they’re still a bit vague.  The part of the lead role is expected by be a Jedi apprentice.  Michael Arndt’s original draft would have focused on Han Solo and Princess Leia’s offspring, but it looks like Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan’s rewrite moves those characters into a supporting role instead.  A proposed reason for this, and the film’s delayed start, is that the creative team wants to deviate from the Caucasian leads of the past, and that Abrams wants a diversified cast.

Our last report on the start date for the much-anticipated sequel had production kicking off in London’s Pinewood Studios some time in May and lasting through September.  This new report bumps that calendar back a tad, as they’re now expected to start filming in the late second/early third quarter.  As of this writing, Star Wars: Episode VII is expected to debut on December 18, 2015.

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