Star Wars has always had a thing for casting relatively unknown actors in key roles. Of the three biggest stars of the franchise—Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford—none of them were big stars at the time George Lucas cast them. Ford was by far the best known, but he was far from a household name before he played Han Solo. The prequels followed this pattern, with mixed results, and even though Disney now owns Lucasfilm, director J.J. Abrams and company are sticking to this trend for Episode VII, adding two new unknown faces to the cast.
StarWars.com reports that the production has signed newcomers Crystal Clarke and Pip Andersen, both of whom were found during an open casting call that went down late last year. This sounds like it was one hell of an undertaking to settle on these two. More than 37,000 people showed up in 11 cities across the US and UK, while another 30,000 submitted their applications through online channels.
According to Episode VII producer and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy says, “The Star Wars universe has always been about discovering and nurturing young talent and in casting Episode VII we wanted to remain absolutely faithful to this tradition. We are delighted that so many travelled to see us at the open casting calls and that we have been able to make Crystal and Pip a part of the film.”
Clarke is an American actress studying and working in Glasgow, Scotland. Her first feature film, The Moon and the Sun will be released in 2015. Andersen, on the other hand, is most known for his parkour skills—you know, the running, jumping, flipping, climbing discipline developed in France—talents that are on full display in this Spider-Man-themed advertisement he did recently for Sony. There is no word on the roles for either of these young actors, but given Andersen’s abilities, it’s easy to imagine that his part will involve a fair amount of action and activity. Just imagine him bouncing all over the place like this, but with a lightsaber in his hand, that could be a quite a bit of fun.
Episode VII began filming on location in Abu Dhabi back in May, before moving on to Pinewood Studios in London, England. Ford injured his leg during filming—an injury that seemed to increase with severity with each additional report—and next month the production will take two weeks off to accommodate his recovery. Despite the delay, this shouldn’t have any impact on the release date for the film, and the studio still plans to unveil the film on December 18, 2015.