PIPPIN's Matthew James Thomas Up for Lead Role in STAR WARS: EPISODE VII?

PIPPIN's Matthew James Thomas Up for Lead Role in STAR WARS: EPISODE VII?

PIPPIN's Matthew James Thomas may soon be finding a new, distant corner in the sky.

According to Variety, Thomas is currently on J.J. Abrams' short list for the lead role in Disney and LucasFilm's STAR WARS: EPISODE VII. Though details on the role are scarce, insiders have confirmed that he's a young Jedi apprentice, who will challenge GIRLS star Adam Driver in the film, who recently signed on to play the villain in the next installment of the franchise.

Variety's sources have also confirmed that DOWNTON ABBEY's Ed Speelers, John Boyega, BREAKING BAD's Jesse Plemons, and fellow stage actor Ray Fisher are also being strongly considered for the part.

In other news on the STAR WARS front, Disney confirmed last fall that R2-D2 will officially be back for the upcoming film. Also expected to return for STAR WARS: EPISODE VII are original leads Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford.

Star Wars: Episode VII will be directed by Abrams and is being scripted by Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi). Lucasfilm president Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, with Tommy Harper (Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, Jack Ryan, Star Trek Into Darkness) and Jason McGatlin (Tintin, War of the Worlds) serving as executive producers. John Williams is returning to score the film.

Born and raised in the Buckinghamshire area of South East England, Thomas made his American debut in the original Broadway cast of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark as Peter Parker / Spider-Man. He now stars in the title role in Diane Paulus' Tony Award winning production of Roger O. Hirson and Stephen Schwartz's Pippin at the Music Box Theatre. Prior to his work in the US, Thomas made his mark with UK audiences on the stage in the London productions of The Picture of Dorian Gray, Fame, Romeo & Juliet, Popcorn, Whistle Down the Wind, Dick Whittington and made his West End stage debut at the age of 8 in Oliver! directed by Sam Mendes. His television credits include "Midsomer Murders," "Casualty," "Britannia High," "Genie in the House," "Doctors," "Desparados," "Trevors World of Sport," "Bad Girls," "The Blind Date," "The Bill," and "Wonderful You." Among his many film credits, Thomas appeared in the Academy Award nominated films Billy Elliot (directed by Stephen Daldry) and About a Boy (directed by Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz). Matthew resides in New York City.

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