From Daphne Bridgerton to “The Iceberg that Sank the Titanic,” these 16 rising stars are behind the characters that entertained audiences through lockdowns and stay-at-home orders. Looking forward, they are fronting the titles that will bring audiences back to the multiplex.

Some talent, like Bridgerton’s Phoebe Dynevor and Nicola Coughlan, had their break-out moments in the middle of the pandemic, while others like West Side Story‘s Rachel Zegler are still waiting for their delayed big breaks to hit reopened movie theaters. From breaking barriers in the superhero space, like Batgirl star Leslie Grace, to breathing new life into established franchises (see: Dominique Fishback, who will lead the new Transformers), this year’s class will continue to play major roles in studio and streamer slates.

They join a list that, in years past, has included now-established stars like Midsommar actress Florence Pugh, Atlanta’s LaKeith Stanfield and Shang-Chi’s Simu Liu. All of them navigating an industry that is rapidly changing around them. As Cobra Kai’s Xolo Maridueña puts it: “I don’t have the handbook or ‘Acting in Your Early 20s for Dummies’ book just yet.”

Profiles written by Kirsten Chuba, Aaron Couch, Ashley Cullins, Mia Galuppo, Sydney Odman and Abbey White.

A version of this story first appeared in the Nov. 3 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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