Return of the Jedi: New Star Wars cast promising A New Hope for the franchise

These recent file photos show top row from left: actors Andy Serkis, Adam Driver and John Boyega; bottom row from left: Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson and Max von Sydow. -- FILE PHOTOS: AFP 
These recent file photos show top row from left: actors Andy Serkis, Adam Driver and John Boyega; bottom row from left: Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson and Max von Sydow. -- FILE PHOTOS: AFP 
Writer/Director/Producer J.J. Abrams (top centre in glasses) conducts a cast reading for Star Wars: Episode VII at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire in this publicity photo taken and released to Reuters April 29, 2014. Clockwise from Abrams are Har
Writer/Director/Producer J.J. Abrams (top centre in glasses) conducts a cast reading for Star Wars: Episode VII at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire in this publicity photo taken and released to Reuters April 29, 2014. Clockwise from Abrams are Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Producer Bryan Burk, Lucasfilm President and Producer Kathleen Kennedy, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Mark Hamill, Andy Serkis, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Adam Driver and writer Lawrence Kasdan. -- PHOTO: DAVID JAMES

The new cast of Star Wars was announced yesterday, with series stalwarts Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Han Solo returning for another go-around in that galaxy far, far away.

Joining them are newcomers Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow and motion-capture artist Andy Serkis.

'Who?', you might ask. With the exception of Serkis, who has risen to fame as one of the best motion capture actors around since his stunning work as Gollum in The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, the rest are relatively unknown actors.

It's worth noting, however, that they do have some acting chops. Boyega, who is set to play one of the leads, is known for 2011 cult sci-fi film Attack The Block, while Adam Driver, who's slated for a "Darth Vader-like villain", appears on HBO's Girls.

I'm remaining cautiously optimistic, though. While the new cast's youth is tempered with experienced actors like von Sydow, the last time a relative unknown was cast gave us gems like "I don't like sand."

Does anyone remember Hayden Christensen?

The much-maligned actor who played Anakin Skywalker in the prequels also had a promising career pre-Star Wars, earning Golden Globe and SAG award nominations.

To be fair, the prequels were under the reign of George Lucas, the man responsible for Jar Jar Binks. JJ Abrams is a much savvier director, and I have no doubt that he will at least give us an entertaining film.

As for what the film will be about, the cast and crew are notoriously tight-lipped. However, the fact that Mark Hamill and company are returning means that this episode of Star Wars, at least, remains very much a Skywalker story.

Abrams will need to strike a fine balance to make sure the new cast isn't overshadowed by the old guard. Could there be a curveball coming? If the new series is all about the next generation, then the old guard has to make way one way or another.

Could this be why Lucasfilm recently declared the Expanded Universe non-canon? Luke Skywalker, Leia Skywalker and Han Solo hold the spotlight in much of the EU material, which would definitely interfere with JJ Abrams making his mark on the universe.

This is all, of course, random speculation (which is always fun, admittedly). The only certain thing for now is that come December 2015, I'll be waiting in line just like any other Star Wars fan.