Star-Lords: Who will be 2015’s Chris Pratt?

Chris Pratt went from beloved TV bit player to chiseled Marvel leading man. Who is poised for a Star-Lord-esque jump in 2015?

Every fresh pop culture calendar comes with a new crop of stars ready to break out. In 2014, however, reigning Internet and nerd-culture champion Chris Pratt went about things a little differently. He was already an established name in certain circles for his consistently hilarious work on NBC’s Parks and Recreation. He could have spent the next decade comfortably stealing scenes in network sitcoms but fate James Gunn had different plans. Chris Pratt retained his charm and humor but switched up everything else for his lead role in Guardians of the Galaxy. He went from chubby to almost comically ripped, from television to the big screen and from supporting cast to first on the call sheet.

Now that we’ve rolled over to 2015, are there any other historically “supporting” actors ready to break out? Well, obviously. But more importantly: are there any actors poised to break out in just as specific a way that Pratt did that made the Internet swoon? There are three important factors to consider in a Pratt-style breakout: a jump from reparatory to lead, some kind of body transformation and a move from the small screen to the big screen. In addition to those decidedly specific factors, 2015’s Chris Pratt needs one more thing: ubiquity. By the end of the year, every mention of 2015’s Pratt name should be accompanied by “him/her again?” or “They’ll be starring in THAT too? What can’t this guy/gal do?”

After a stupefying thorough cross-referencing of 2015’s premier movies with TV show IMDBs we‘ve identified five actors that fit these incredibly tight constraints. But first, here are some actors who will break big but are disqualified for one reason or another.

When it’s all said and done, Oscar Isaac may end up having the biggest 2015 of anyone. He’s been trending upward since his 2013 Oscar nomination for Inside Llewyn Davis and is already on the verge of becoming a household name (in really hipster households) for A Most Violent Year. But 2015 will bring even more mainstream attention for the William Monahan-written, Mark Wahlberg-starring, Mojave. Oh, there’s also his role in a little movie called Stars Wars: The Force Awakens. Unfortunately, he has not TV experience to speak of. 

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Miles Teller had about as good a 2014 possible for a young actor. He starred in many critic’s choice for best film of the year: Whiplash, and had a role in a token young adult book adaptation to boot: Divergent. In 2015, he’ll have the Divergent sequel, Insurgent, in the books along with The Fantastic Four reboot. If any of the other projects he has on his docket achieve mainstream appeal, he’d be a great breakout candidate.

Domhnall Gleeson is another young actor that may ride the wave of Stars Wars fortune to a big 2015. No one knows how big his role in The Force Awakens will be yet, but if it’s substantial enough, he could become an even bigger draw in the Alejandrao Gonzalez Inarritu drama The Revenant, which will also star Leonardo Dicaprio and Tom Hardy. He does have a little TV experience, but it was in one episode of Black Mirror – not nearly enough to establish a Pratt-level persona.

Keegan-Michael Key and Amy Schumer are both Comedy Central superstars, poised to break out in 2015. Key in will have supporting roles in Vacation and Tomorrowland. Schumer will have her own starring role in a Judd Apatow movie. Unfortunately for their 2015 Pratt prospects, Key and Schumer are too high profile on their own shows to really be unexpected breakouts.

And now, the most likely 2015 Pratt candidates. 

The final predictions:

5. Sophie Turner

Turner was a late addition to the Pratt list. It wasn’t until news broke that she was cast as Jean Grey in X-Men: Apocalypse, that we even considered her break-out potential. Of course, X-Men: Apocalypse doesn’t come out until 2016 but she does have one other movie on the docket for 2015: Mary Shelley’s Monster. That movie doesn’t have much breakout potential but if it somehow takes home $150 + million, then Turner will have it all: supporting cast TV beginnings, a physical transformation (just by the mere fact that anyone who hasn’t seen the most recent season of Game of Thrones will be surprised she’s no longer a child) and a leading role in a big film. It’s wildly unlikely any movie she’s in in 2015 will be a hit, but two out of three qualifications aren’t bad.

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4. Jack O’Connell 

There are two problems with Jack O’Connell’s Pratt candidacy. The first is that his supporting actor on a TV experience came on a British series. Plenty of Americans have seen Skins, but nowhere near the amount that have watched Parks and Recreation for seven seasons. The other issue is that 2014 may have already been his breakout. Unbroken, didn’t necessarily set the world on fire but it was a lead role in Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut. Is asking for a bigger 2015 asking for too much? Maybe not. O’Connell has a lead role alongside George Clooney in Jodie Foster’s Money Monster. All it will take is for that movie to catch on with movie-goers and suddenly he’s a former television supporting player who now stars in hit Hollywood movies.

3. Britt Robertson

A lot of Britt Robertson’s success in 2015 is contingent upon whether Brad Bird, Damon Lindelof and Jeff Jensen’s Tomorrowland will be good. The pedigree is there but so little is known about it, which unfortunately means high “bomb” potential. But if Tomorrowland is a hit, then the 24-year-old Robertson would benefit the most as the movie’s lead. Robertson is a true supporting actor TV veteran even at her young age having appeared in Under the Dome, The Secret Circle and Life Unexpected. Some may want to categorize her as 2015’s Shailene Woodley because, you know, two x chromosones, but she’s a few vigorous gym sessions away from full Pratt if Tomorrowland takes off.

Jake Johnson New Girl

2. Jake Johnson 

Jake Johnson more closely resembles pre-Guardians of the Galaxy Chris Pratt than anyone on this list. He’s got a consistent gig on a network sitcom where he routinely steals scenes from the far more famous lead. He also undoubtedly has the skills to be a lead in a major Hollywood drama, comedy or dramedy as evidence by his bearded turn in 2013’s Drinking Buddies. All that’s missing for his Pratt-ing in 2015 is that one signature leading role. Funnily enough, he will appear alongside Pratt in Jurassic World. If his role is much bigger than anticipated, he can achieve the ubiquity necessary to be 2015’s Pratt. But it’s likely that he’ll need one more big movie role that he does not currently have in the fold yet.

Adam Driver

1. Adam Driver

Look no further: Adam Driver is your 2015 Chris Pratt. He’s a consistently great background actor on a comedy, Girls (though Girls interpretation of “comedy” is much different than Parks and Rec). He’s going to be playing a major role in one of the biggest movies of the year: Star Wars. As for physical transformation? It’s been heavily rumored that he’ll be playing a Sith Lord, who aren’t known for their conservative appearances. But most importantly: he’s interesting. He’s an undeniably talented but also exceedingly odd individual. As the Stars Wars premiere date gets closer there will be more and more Buzzfeed articles and Reddit threads about odd things Driver says or does. If that’s not worthy of being 2015’s Chris Pratt then nothing is. 

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There are plenty of other supporting TV actors, who have the talent to break into leading film roles soon. But 2015 may be too early. Here are five more actors who may Pratt-isize in 2016: 

Anders Holm is excellent on Workaholics and just needs one James Gunn-esqure director who believes he can carry a movie. Chadwick Boseman already has his big 2016 movie lined up in Captain America: Civil War. His TV experience is tenuous at best but maybe we can count his role in Justified as Pratt enough. Glenn Howerton was actually almost cast as Star-Lord, himself. If he came that close to mainstream film stardom, there’s got to be another chance out there. Evan Peters just needs to convince Fox to fund a Quicksilver movie and 2016 is his. We have no idea what big mainstream leading role Adam Pally could find in 2016 but he’s got the charisma for almost anything.

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