Star Wars premiere
British actor John Boyega takes the lead as Finn in Star Wars: The Force AwakensREUTERS/Kevork Djansezian

Before landing his big break as Stormtrooper Finn in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, aspiring actor John Boyega posed for education-themed iStock images in a galaxy far, far away – well, Peckham.

The 23-year-old, who was born and raised in Peckham, posted a hilarious reaction after the vintage images were unearthed.

John  Boyega
A teenage John Boyega poses with fellow students for a stock image.Getty

In the series of professional pictures posted on image-sharing site Imgur, a teenage Boyega appears as cool as a cucumber as he poses with other students in the snaps that were later published in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's brochure. It didn't take long for it to go viral after a student made the discovery.

Entitled 'Further education: school friends', one picture shows the Hollywood newcomer smiling as he leans on a bench. Another sees the group assembled in a line with an accompanying caption that reads: "A group of five late-teenage school friends in a line with bright smiles and eye contact for the camera."

Even the photographer, Chris Schmidt, had no idea the potential of one of his subjects: "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... I did an education themed stock photo shoot with a bunch of teenage students," he wrote on Facebook.. "It turns out John Boyega did quite well afterwards. The force is strong with this one..."

After fans alerted him to the discovery Boyega jumped on Twitter to reveal how the gig came about. It turns out he needed the extra cash for some fancy footwear.

It's safe to say that Boyega, who trained as an actor at the Identity Drama School in Hackney and appeared in National Theatre production Six Parties, has been busy since the pictures were taken. In 2011, he played Moses in British sci-fi comedy Attack the Block, and a year later he portrayed honey-trap victim Shakilus Townsend in BBC film My Murder. On Friday (8 January) he received a nomination for the Rising Star Award at the Bafta Film Awards, which will take place on February 14.

John  Boyega
Before he was famous: John Boyega poses for another image.Chris Schmidt/ iStock