Two names out of the constant rounds of pie-in-the-sky casting news seem consistent — Gary Oldman and Benedict Cumberbatch. Oldman himself confirmed that he's been in casting sessions with producers and director J.J. Abrams. Cumberbatch, it seems, is in the running for the same role, but has been much more circumspect about his involvement. Both actors are respected in the genre and have experience playing a sci-fi "heavy."
Magic Mike's Alex Pettyfer keeps coming up, too. Scoring a role in this kind of project would be a massive change for the actor who nearly drove himself out of Hollywood with his erratic behavior, volatility, and reported abusiveness toward women. Winding up in Disney's tentpole property seems like a stretch given his past, but he has said that producers reached out to him. So, there's that.
Now, for the grab-bag of names that are being bandied about. Jesse Plemons of Breaking Bad is getting a lot of attention, as is Spartacus' Liam McIntyre, and Black Swan's Ksenia Solo. More interestingly, Michael Fassbender, Adam Driver (yes, the "very strange-looking" boyfriend on Girls), and Saoirse Ronan have been mentioned — though each of them is involved in other ongoing projects that could rule them out for such a multi-film commitment.
This brings us to our favorite — and the least plausible — rumor of all. After an odd comment by Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, rumors flew that Pussy Riot had been tapped for cameos in Episode VII. It's doubtful that an anti-capitalist collective would even consider appearing in what is, let's admit it, the most consumerist movie franchise of all time, but, damn, we want this to be true. Just imagine interstellar bounty hunters with neon ski masks. We can, and we're into it.