Ed Speleers, John Boyega, Jesse Plemons, Matthew James Thomas and Ray Fisher may not be household names, but Star Wars has a history of turning unknowns into big stars.
With the casting cogs turning for Star Wars: Episode VII, we take a look at what Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher were up to before they met George Lucas.
Now a bona fide movie icon, it's common knowledge that Ford struggled early on in his career and starting working as a carpenter to support his family between acting gigs. Sometimes Ford didn't even get an acting credit at all, and on one occasion he was listed as Harrison J Ford due to a name-clash with a long-dead silent movie star.
For a time the carpentry work seemed more lucrative - Ford worked as a stagehand for The Doors and built furniture for George Lucas before getting a break in the filmmaker's coming-of-age comedy American Graffiti. That seemed to jumpstart his acting career, with a role in '70s classic The Conversation following before he signed up to play roguish space pilot Han Solo.
Roles in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Patriot Games and The Fugitive made him one of Hollywood's most lucrative stars of the '80s and '90s, while leads in Blade Runner, Witness and The Mosquito Coast saw him win favour with admirers in more artistically credible films.
A jobbing TV actor before he landed the part of Luke Skywalker, Hamill made his screen debut in Headmaster in 1970 before quickly following it up with a guest appearance on The Bill Cosby Show.
Seven years of small screen roles followed before he bagged the Star Wars lead, and in that time Hamill also put his voice to good use by playing the character Corey Anders in Hanna-Barbera animated shows The New Scooby-Doo Movies and Jeannie.
In the above clip, we get a look at a youthful Hamill in the TV movie Eric. With his clean-cut looks and ability to switch between anger, despair and frustration, it's easy to see why Star Wars supremo Lucas cast him as the farming boy who went on an emotional rollercoaster.
Legend has it that Hamill's close friend and future horror icon Robert Englund - who was auditioning for Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now in the same building as Star Wars try-outs - told Hamill he'd be perfect for the latter and he promptly won the role.
Out of all three Star Wars leads, Carrie Fisher was the one most likely destined for stardom. The daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds, Fisher went in front of the camera at the age of 3 in a short starring her mother and later as a teen played a girl scout in TV movie Debbie Reynolds and the Sound of Children.
She also appeared opposite Debbie in the Broadway revival of musical Irene in 1974.
Fisher's only big-screen role before Star Wars was in the Hal Ashby-directed romantic comedy Shampoo. Warren Beatty, Julie Christie and Goldie Hawn were the headline names for the 1975 film, but Fisher had a memorable supporting turn as Lorna, the teenage daughter of Lee Grant's Felicia Karpf.
Photo gallery - Star Wars: Episode VII's rumoured cast: