Happy Star Wars Day! It’s May 4, which has become known through the galaxy as the day when we nerdy types shout “May the Fourth be with you!” and celebrate all things in the George Lucas universe (except Jar-Jar Binks, who just never gets less annoying, unfortunately).
Director J.J. Abrams and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan have released a special “video selfie” message to fans from London, where production is gearing up on the long-awaited “Star Wars: Episode VII,” and everyone’s favorite droid R2-D2 also has issued a fun video message to fans.
Abrams’ message teases that more casting news will be coming soon (hopefully, there will be more women and thus female characters than this, because so far, it’s a man’s galaxy), and fans are still reveling in Tuesday’s big reveal, when the initial cast of “Episode VII” was unveiled on starwars.com, like so:
The Star Wars team is thrilled to announce the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII.
Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in the new film.
Director J.J. Abrams says, “We are so excited to finally share the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII. It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again. We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud.”
Star Wars: Episode VII is being directed by J.J. Abrams from a screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and Abrams. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, and John Williams returns as the composer. The movie opens worldwide on December 18, 2015.
While we’re familiar with Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Ford (Han Solo), Fisher (Princess Leia), Mayhew (Chewbacca), Daniels (C3-PO) and Kenny Baker (R2-D2), here’s the lowdown on the newbies, many of which happen to be among the hottest actors on the international movie scene right now, and clips of their previous work (fair warning: some of these videos contain profanity):
Max Von Sydow, 85, of Sweden, a two-time Oscar nominee for “Pelle erobreren” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”; two-time Golden Globe nominee for “Hawaii” and “The Exorcist”; and also known for “Needful Things,” “Minority Report,” “Shutter Island,” “Robin Hood,” “Flash Gordon,” “Dune,” “Strange Brew” and many more. What you’ll see him in before “Episode VII” (we’ve got more than a year and a half to wait, after all): “The Letters.”
Andy Serkis, 50, of London, England, a Golden Globe nominee for the TV movie “Longford,” he’s best known or his many performance capture turns that birthed some of the most popular CGI characters in cinematic history, including Gollum in “The Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” films, Caesar in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” Kong in “King Kong” and Captain Haddock in “The Adventures of Tintin.” What you’ll see him in before “Episode VII”: reprising Caesar in “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.”
Oscar Isaac, 34, born in Guatemala (to a Guatemalan mother and a Cuban father) and raised in Miami, Fla., a Golden Globe nominee (and Oscar snub) for “Inside Llewyn Davis.” He is also known for “Drive,” “Sucker Punch” and “Robin Hood.” What you’ll see him in before “Episode VII”: “Mojave,” “A Most Violent Year” and “Ex Machina.”
Domhnall Gleeson, 31, born in Dublin, Ireland, the son of respected actor and three-time Golden Globe nominee Brendan Gleeson. Nominated for a Tony Award for best featured actor in a play for the role of Davey in Martin McDonagh’s “The Lieutenant of Inishmore” on Broadway. Also known for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and 2,” “About Time,” “Anna Karenina,” “True Grit” and “Dredd.” What you’ll see him in before “Episode VII”: “Calvary” (opposite his dad), “Unbroken” and “Ex Machina.”
Adam Driver, 30, born in San Diego, Calif., and raised in Indiana, former Marine and Juilliard graduate, Emmy nominee for HBO’s “Girls,” also known for “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “Lincoln” and “Frances Ha.” What you’ll see him in before “Episode VII”: “What If,” “Tracks,” “This Is Where I Leave You,” “Midnight Special,” “Hungry Hearts” and “While We’re Young.”
John Boyega, 22, of London, received a British Independent Film Award nomination for most promising newcomer for 2011′s “Attack the Block.” He also known for the movies “Imperial Dreams” and “My Murder.” What you’ll see him in before “Episode VII”: playing Chris Tanner in the TV show “24: Live Another Day.”
Daisey Ridley, a 22-year-old British singer-actress, is by far the least-known of the new cast. She’s appeared in the TV series “Mr Selfridge,” “Silent Witness,” “Younger,” plus this short film “Blue Season” that HuffPo tracked down. What you’ll see her in before “Episode VII”: “The Inbetweeners 2″ and “Scrawl.”