8 Actors Set to Be the Biggest Breakout Stars in 2016

Breaking out in Hollywood is never easy, usually requiring a perfect storm of circumstances. Sometimes, it’s on the back of a popular franchise (e.g., Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games). For others, it’s an amazing performance in an awards darling (e.g., also Jennifer Lawrence, in Winter’s Bone). It’s a tough road to walk no matter how you get there, vaulting an actor unaccustomed to fame directly into the public spotlight. 2015 saw a slew of talents make this journey, including Domhnall Gleeson (Ex Machina, Brooklyn), Oscaar Isaac (also Ex Machina, Star Wars: The Force Awakens), and plenty more.

What does 2016 have in store for the next generation of actors? For one, we know it’ll be another big year for franchises. Marvel, DC/Warner, Lucasfilm, and 20th Century Fox are all pushing out multiple large projects, affording plenty of opportunities for breakout performances along the way. Here are the ones that we see making the leap into superstardom.

1. Daisy Ridley

Daisy Ridley in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'

Source: Lucasfilm

Daisy Ridley pretty much defines the term “meteoric” in terms of her rise to prominence. Star Wars: The Force Awakens was her first major role, and the general consensus agrees on one thing: She absolutely knocked it out of the park. And while the only project on her résumé is Episode VIII of the Star Wars saga, we have a hard time believing she won’t be in high demand for any number of projects in 2016.

2. Ezra Miller

Robyn Beck/Getty Images

Robyn Beck/Getty Images

Ezra Miller may not be a name many recognize right now, but won’t be long before it becomes one of the “household” variety. He’s currently signed on for a significant role in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Themand according to rumors, he’ll be making his first appearance as the Flash in March, in Batman v Superman: Dawn of JusticeAssuming all goes to plan, he’ll then lead a standalone movie as the titular speedster in 2018 (but that’s getting a little ahead of ourselves).

3. Gal Gadot

Gal Gadot - Wonder Woman

Source: Warner Bros.

We’ve known about Gal Gadot’s casting as Wonder Woman for a while now, but 2016 will finally see it come to fruition. And while Gadot has been an integral part of the Fast and Furious franchise for years, 2016 is set up to be her busiest year yet. Already, she’s set up for her role in Batman v Superman, as well as the sci-fi memory-swapping Criminal and the heist-centric Triple 9. All this sets her up well for her standalone Wonder Woman movie in 2017, as well as the planned Justice League films in the years after that.

4. Taron Egerton

Source: 20th Century Fox

Source: 20th Century Fox

Taron Egerton’s big break came back in 2014 with Kingsman, and in 2016, he’ll experience the fruits of that labor. Egerton’s name has been bandied about for roles for the next reboot of Spider-Man (a role that later went to Tom Holland), as well as the still un-casted young Han Solo. He didn’t or hasn’t landed either one, although it’s not like his schedule isn’t already full. He’s currently in production for a Kingsman sequel, and 2016 will see the release of three projects with him as the star: Billionaire Boys Club, Eddie the Eagle, and Sing. 

5. Sophie Turner

Source: 20th Century Fox

Source: 20th Century Fox

Sophie Turner is an actor audiences have watched grow up during her run on Game of Thrones as Sansa Stark2016 will see her first foray out of the world of Westeros, and into the world of cinema. Most prominently, she’ll be playing a young Jean Gray in X-Men: Apocalypsedepicting Mary Shelley in Mary Shelley’s Monster, and holding down a solid role in Alone. All told, it’s safe to say Game of Thrones won’t be all she’s known for by the year’s end.

6. John Boyega

Finn, John Boyega - Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Source: Lucasfilm

Of all the stellar performances in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, John Boyega’s may very well have been the most impressive. He consistently was asked to be equal parts funny, terrified, and brave, and balanced all three emotions to a tee throughout. Boyega’s in a similar boat as co-star Daisy Ridley as a result, with no major projects on the docket for 2016, but still likely to find himself getting a lot more offers in the near future for big roles.

7. Maisie Williams

Maisie Williams - Doctor Who, BBC

Source: BBC

Given that Maisie Williams plays Sophie Turner’s younger sister on Game of Thrones, it’s easy to forget she’s only one year Turner’s junior. Williams already spread her wings for a major run on Doctor Who‘s latest season, and 2016 is set up to be an even bigger year for the talented actress. She’ll of course be reprising her role as Arya Stark on Game of Throneswith three other movie projects either in production or set to release soon.

8. Tom Holland

Source: Stuart Wilson/Getty Images

Source: Stuart Wilson/Getty Images

Tom Holland is another actor finding fame through a major comic book franchise. After a lengthy casting search from Sony, he was tagged to be the next Spider-Man, as part of its new deal to share the character with Marvel Studios. The timing of the deal works out perfectly for Holland, who now not only gets his own Spider-Man movie, but gets to be make sporadic appearances in the MCU. We’ll get our first look at him in Captain America: Civil Waras well as in three other projects debuting in 2016 (The Lost City of Z, Backcountry, and Pilgrimage).

Follow Nick on Twitter at @NickNorthwest

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