Ed Speleers a Star Wars contender
10:51am Thursday 13th March 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Downton Abbey star Ed Speleers is the latest actor to be linked to the new Star Wars movie.
The young British actor - who plays footman Jimmy Kent in the hit period drama - is said to be up against Breaking Bad's Jesse Plemons for the lead role believed to be an apprentice Jedi, according to Variety.
Attack The Block's John Boyega and theatre actors Matthew James Thomas and Ray Fisher are also said to be among the young stars being considered by JJ Abrams for the role.
Star Wars: Episode VII will continue the Jedi saga where Return Of The Jedi left off.
The original draft by Michael Arndt was said to focus on Han Solo and Princess Leia's children. However, Abrams' and Lawrence Kasdan's recent rewrite reportedly puts their kids in a supporting role.
Sources have told Variety the reason for the delay in casting the lead is partly due to whether studio executives want someone of a different ethnicity from the previous Caucasian leads. Abrams has said on numerous occasions that he wants to have a diversified cast.