Star Wars: Episode VII is one of the biggest upcoming movies of the next few years. It’s so big, in fact, that it doesn’t necessarily need well-known stars playing the leads in order to attract an audience. Disney seems to be approaching casting with this in mind, and thus the studio has been seeking new heroes through open casting and a pool of newcomers (rather than handing out roles to already famous young stars).
The shortlist of young male leads includes young British theater actors and lesser-known film and TV stars like Jesse Plemons (Breaking Bad) and John Boyega (Attack the Block), but early character descriptions suggested that Star Wars: Episode VII will be led at least one male and one female character. Numerous actors, including Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o, have been rumored to play the young heroine, but the latest reports suggest that Disney’s open casting search in the UK may have turned up a winner.
THR reports that several sources have named Maisie Richardson-Sellers, an Oxford University graduate who so far only has short film and theater credits, as being in line for a potentially major role in Star Wars: Episode VII. While there’s no confirmation yet as to which character Richardson-Sellers is in line for, one role that has yet to be filled is a young black or mixed race woman, who may be the daughter or granddaughter of Obi-Wan Kenobi (according to the rumor mill, that is).
Star Wars: Episode VII is set thirty years after the end of Return of the Jedi, and will focus on the children of the characters from the original trilogy. In addition to the young Kenobi, the offspring of Luke, Leia and Han Solo would also lead the young cast. All are crucial roles that will be key to establishing the strength of this new trilogy; the prequels aren’t exactly remembered fondly, so this new Star Wars movie really needs to be impressive.
The new Star Wars sequel will begin filming in May, primarily in the UK at Pinewood Studios but with some location shoots set for other countries, including Morocco. Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford are all expected to reprise their roles, and this close to the start of production we’re expecting official casting announcements for the new young leads any day now. If THR‘s sources are on the money, then Richardson-Sellers could well be one of them.
Star Wars: Episode VII opens in U.S. theaters on December 18, 2015.