With cameras set to start rolling next year, pre-production for Star Wars: Episode VII is currently heavily tied up with the process of casting what will no doubt be an expansive collection of new characters. Disney is casting the net wide, with open auditions for two major roles being held all over the UK and Ireland just in case the next big star is currently hiding amongst a pool of unknown actors.

Then there are the well-known names who have been said to be up for a role; Benedict Cumberbatch in particular seems to spend most of his interviews fielding questions about whether or not he’ll be in Star Wars: Episode VII, after playing the villain in director J.J. Abrams’ last sci-fi outing, Star Trek Into Darkness. With at least two young leads yet to be cast, it also feels like we’ve also seen just about every young up-and-coming British star rumored for one role or another.

Missing from the casting rumors up until now, however, is Jack O’Connell, a 23 year-old actor who has began garnering attention for his roles in TV dramas like Skins before moving on to major feature film releases like Harry Brown and Tower Block. Bleeding Cool reports that two “very dependable” sources have both named O’Connell as “a real contender for a key role” in Star Wars: Episode VII after a meeting with Abrams that apparently went very well.

It’s unknown whether O’Connell is up for one of the two young leads described on the casting call, or whether it’s the same role that Matt Smith was rumored to have auditioned for. As a reminder, Disney is seeking an actor between the ages of 19 and 23 to play “Thomas,” a smart and capable, if somewhat directionless, young man who doesn’t take life too seriously.

O’Connell certainly has a lot of raw talent and is still enough under the international radar to qualify as a fresh face for the franchise’s new trilogy. While this casting rumor is still unconfirmed (like most of the others), it definitely makes sense and O’Connell would be a worthy addition to the cast. You can check out this young actor playing Calisto in 300: Rise of an Empire when the film arrives in theaters next spring.

Star Wars: Episode VII arrives in theaters on December 18th, 2015.

Source: Bleeding Cool