7:55pm Tuesday 29th April 2014
© Press Association 2014
Months of speculation concerning Star Wars, one of the most successful film franchises of all time, has ended as the cast for the latest instalment was announced.
Familiar faces from the long-running saga will star alongside relative unknowns for Star Wars: Episode VII, which is due to begin filming in the UK next month.
Star Wars newcomers John Boyega, Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac will join original stars Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker in the new film.
The cast will also include little-known Brit Daisy Ridley, whose credits include roles in TV drama Mr Selfridge, rising star Domhnall Gleeson, and veteran Minority Report actor Max von Sydow.
Andy Serkis will be joining one global franchise from another, having captivated audiences in the role of Gollum in The Lord Of The Rings.
Director JJ Abrams said: "We are so excited to finally share the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII.
"It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again.
"We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud."
The news was announced on StarWars.com, and featured a photograph of the first read-through.
The droid R2-D2 was the first confirmed character returning to the story when filming begins at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, famously the home of James Bond films for many years.
The new film is set to be released in December of next year.
The first Star Wars film was released in 1977 and featured Ford as Han Solo and Fisher as Princess Leia.
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