Downton Abbey actor Ed Speleers is among the frontrunners to play the lead role in the new Star Wars movie, according to the latest rumours swirling around the JJ Abrams project.
The 25-year-old is said to be one of several young actors still in the running to play the hero in Episode VII, according to Variety, going up against fellow Brits John Boyega (Attack the Block) and Matthew James Thomas (Britannia High).
Also in the mix are American Jesse Plemons and Ray Fisher, as the five compete to win over Abrams and play what is thought to be a Jedi apprentice in the upcoming sci-fi blockbuster.
Despite more than a year of speculation, there has not been a single Star Wars casting announcement – although Girls actor Adam Driver is widely believed to be in line to play the villain in the Disney and LucasFilm follow-up.
With the film set to be shot at London's Pinewood Studios later this year, sources suggest the original draft written by Michael Arndt focused on Han Solo and Princess Leia's children, while Abrams and Larry Kasdan's rewrite shifts the offspring into supporting roles. Star Wars alumni Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are all expected to feature, with countless Hollywood stars, from Benedict Cumberbatch to Zac Efron, rumoured to have tested for a part.
While Abrams and his team continue to keep fans waiting with cast and character details, the film does have a release date, hitting cinemas as an early Christmas treat on 18 December 2015.