Variety is reporting that there are five names topping the shortlist for the movie's Jedi hero: Eragon and Downton Abbey star Ed Speleers; John Boyega, who sharpened his alien-fighting skills in Attack the Block; Jesse Plemons, the Friday Night Lights star fresh off his dark turn on Breaking Bad; stage actor Matthew James Thomas, who recently took on the physically hazardous role of Peter Parker in the ill-fated musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark; and Ray Fisher, who portrayed Muhammad Ali in the recent run of Fetch Clay, Make Man. The search is still ongoing for the lead role, but apparently these are the top choices at the moment. And honestly, it looks like a great crop; if all these casting reports are correct, it seems that J.J. Abrams and company are casting a number of young actors alongside the original trilogy's veterans, and this is a fine group of young actors to choose from. We've especially been wanting to see more of Boyega since Attack the Block.
Also according to Variety, the latest iteration of the Episode VII script focuses less on Princess Leia and Han Solo's children, centering instead on this new lead character.