Things You Never Knew About The Cast Of The Force Awakens

By now, everybody knows everything about the cast of the original Star Wars franchise, many of whom make appearances in J.J. Abrams upcoming The Force Awakens, out December 18. But what about the newbies? Did you know, for example, that two of the actors were trained at Juilliard? Or that two others are the sons and daughters of some of Hollywood's biggest stars? We've rounded up facts about some of the actors making their Star Wars debuts this month.

Daisy Ridley

Talk about starting your career on a high note. Star Wars: The Force Awakens marks the feature film debut for Daisy Ridley, whose previous work included bit parts in TV series and short films. Speaking to Good Morning America in 2015, Ridley admitted she cried the entire way home after seeing The Force Awakens for the first time, because she was so overwhelmed by the experience.

Adam Driver

Adam Driver joined the Marine Corps about a year after the terrorist attacks on September 11, according to an interview with NPR's Terry Gross. "I wanted to 'test my manhood' and serve my country and just get even and...get away from home and everything I didn't like about it," he said. "In retrospect, it was actually pretty great." Driver, who was medically discharged after a mountain biking accident, pursued acting while on limited duty, even attending Juilliard for his performance education. "The discipline, the self-maintenance, the comradery—they're so similar," he said of acting versus being in the armed forces. "I don't view acting as such a radical departure from the military."

Billie Lourd

Billie Lourd is actually the granddaughter of Star Wars icon Carrie Fisher. However, despite Internet rumors, the connection stops there. Speaking to Interview magazine in July, the 22-year-old insisted that she is not playing Princess Leia's daughter. Actual details about her character remain a secret, much like the actual film itself. Also during the interview, Lourd admits that her parents regularly encouraged her not to enter showbusiness. "My whole life, they said, 'Do not act. You need to get a college degree,'" she admitted. Lourd ultimately listened to her parents and graduated from NYU in 2014.

Domhnall Gleeson

Speaking of famous offspring: Domhnall Gleeson is the son of Irish actor Brendan Gleeson, best known for his work in Braveheart, In Bruges, and his Emmy-winning turn in Into the Storm. For his part, Domhnall has followed successfully in his father's famous footsteps, landing roles in everything from the Harry Potter franchise, to Ex-Machina (co-starring The Force Awakens' Oscar Isaac) and True Grit. This year, you can also catch him in two major Oscar contenders: Brooklyn and The Revenant.

Oscar Isaac

Oscar Isaac attended New York City's famous acting school, Juilliard, graduating in 2003. While studying, he met and became friends with Oscar-nominated actress Jessica Chastain, then an upper-classman whom he first noticed during his first week of school. They later re-united for the 2014 mobster drama, A Most Violent Year.

Lupita N'yongo

Actress Lupita N'yongo used to work as a production assistant on a few high-profile movies, including The Constant Gardener, which filmed near her hometown. One of her jobs included escorting the film's star, Ralph Fiennes, to the set. "Ralph is a very still man on set," N'yongo, 32, told ABC News in 2015. "It would be very quiet and that made me uncomfortable," she recalled. "I'd try to make chitchat, asking, 'What's your favorite film? Of all the films you've been in, which have you enjoyed the most?' He was so polite, and he responded to me. At one point, though, he just said, 'Lupita, give me my space.'" Since then, she went to graduate school at the Yale School of Drama, and later, won an Oscar for her performance in 12 Years a Slave.

John Boyega

John Boyega's big break came in the 2011 alien-invasion movie, Attack the Block, which is how Boyega first came into contact with The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams. "He was a big fan of Attack the Block and we were waiting for a project where we could collaborate," Boyega told V Magazine. Boyega ultimately said the casting portion of Star Wars took seven months. "They wanted to make sure they got the right person for the job. I learned that I got the part over a nice breakfast in Mayfair. J.J. said, 'John, you're the new star of Star Wars,' and everything froze for a moment," he said.

Gwendoline Christie

Gwendoline Christie may be knew to the world of Star Wars fans, but Game of Thrones obsessives know her already for playing knight Brienne of Tarth on the Emmy-winning series, on which she's starred since 2012. Fans of The Hunger Games franchise will also remember her for playing Commander Lyme in Mockingjay – Part II.