34 Celebs You Probably Didn't Know Were in 'Star Wars' Movies (Photos)May 4, 2021
The “Star Wars” franchise is full of famous people you had no idea were there
The “Star Wars” franchise — now just about 43 years old — is full of secret cameos, soon-to-be-famous actors in small bit parts, and well-known faces behind alien masks and makeup. Here are 34 big names hidden throughout the franchise you might not have known about, up to and including “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”
John Ratzenberger (“The Empire Strikes Back”) Ratzenberger is best remembered as know-it-all postman Cliff Clavin from “Cheers,” or maybe his numerous voice roles in Pixar movies. In “The Empire Strikes Back,” Ratzenberger is one of the Rebel officers hanging around Echo Base on Hoth with Princess Leia and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels).
Treat Williams (“The Empire Strikes Back”) When you’re Treat Williams, you can wander onto the set of “The Empire Strikes Back” and find yourself in the movie. Williams reportedly dropped by England’s Elstree Studios set, where the movie was being filmed, to visit Carrie Fisher. Apparently one thing led to another, and now Williams plays one of the Rebel troops running around Echo Base on Hoth.
Julian Glover (“The Empire Strikes Back”) Julian Glover’s General Veers is probably the most competent officer available to Darth Vader as wanders the galaxy looking for the Rebels and Luke Skywalker. He’d be decidedly less competent as Grand Maester Pycelle on “Game of Thrones,” but decidedly more evil as Nazi collaborator Walter Donovan in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (you know — the guy who ages super fast after drinking from the wrong grail).
Tony Cox (“Return of the Jedi”) In an Ewok suit, you’d never know Tony Cox appeared in “Return of the Jedi.” He wouldn’t really show off his acting chops until later when he was stealing scenes all over comedies like “Bad Santa,” where he was Billy Bob Thornton’s much-smarter mall-robbing accomplice/Christmas elf, and “Me, Myself and Irene.”
Deep Roy (“Return of the Jedi”) It’s easiest to remember Deep Roy in the Johnny Depp-starring “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” since Roy played every orange oompa-loompa in that movie. In “Return of the Jedi,” he was both an Ewok and the puffy alien band member Droopy McCool in Jabba’s Palace. Deep Roy also worked on “The Empire Strikes Back,” acting as a stand-in for the muppet Yoda.
Keira Knightley (“The Phantom Menace”) Knightley wasn’t just any handmaiden in “The Phantom Menace” — she was the handmaiden. Serving as the decoy for the real queen, Knightley was the actress people thought was Amidala for half the movie, before Natalie Portman’s Padmé revealed her true identity.
Peter Serafinowicz (“The Phantom Menace”) Marvel Cinematic Universe fans will recognize Peter Seafinowicz for his turn as untrusting Nova Corps officer Garthan Saal in “Guardians of the Galaxy.” He didn’t appear in “The Phantom Menace,” but provided the gravely, frightening voice of Darth Maul (the rest of whom was played by Ray Park), as well as for a gungan warrior and a battle droid.
Dominic West (“The Phantom Menace”) The prequel trilogy was filled with actors who would go on to do great things, but who were mostly filling small or background roles in the “Star Wars” universe. Dominic West’s character in “The Phantom Menace” was an otherwise nondescript member of Queen Amidala’s palace guard — nothing so interesting as his later turn as Jimmy McNulty on HBO’s “The Wire.”
Sofia Coppola (“The Phantom Menace”) There really were a mess of these handmaidens. Before she was a full-time director, Sofia Coppola picked up a few small acting gigs, including the handmaiden Saché in “The Phantom Menace.” Just a few years after the 1999 movie, in 2003, Coppola would pick up a Best Director Academy Award nomination for “Lost in Translation.”
Sally Hawkins (“The Phantom Menace”) Before she was an Academy Award-nominated actress for her role in “Blue Jasmine,” Sally Hawkins was an extra in the giant celebration scene in “The Phantom Menace.” She admitted in an interview with Conan O’Brien that she’d never actually seen the movie, despite being in it.
Richard Armitage (“The Phantom Menace”) Blink and you’d miss Richard Armitage’s small background role (second from the right in the background) among the guards on Naboo. Although, it’s tough to recognize him without the lustrous locks Armitage sported in “The Hobbit” as Thorin Oakenshield, or the creepy teeth from his turn as killer Francis Dolarhyde in “Hannibal” Season 3 on NBC.
Rose Byrne (“Attack of the Clones”) Before she was a mainstay of the “Insidious” movies alongside Patrick Wilson or had joined the “X-Men” franchise as CIA Agent Moira MacTaggert, Rose Byrne was one of the handmaidens serving Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman) in the “Star Wars” prequels. Specifically, she was Dormé, who accompanied Padmé to Coruscant to do government things.
Martin Csokas (“Attack of the Clones”) The “Star Wars” movies have slipped a few notable actors into the voice roles of aliens. Martin Csokas is one — he provided the voice of the Geonosian alien Poggle the Lesser in “Attack of the Clones.” Fantasy fans probably know him better as the elf Celeborn, husband to Cate Blanchett’s Galadriel in “The Lord of the Rings.”For more features and deep dives into the world of “Star Wars” and the culture surrounding it, be sure to check out IMDb’s “Star Wars” hub.
Joel Edgerton (“Attack of the Clones,” “Revenge of the Sith”) Luke’s moisture-farming, humorless uncle Owen Lars was young once, but he was never not a guy who stood around a crappy homestead on Tatooine. In the prequel movies, the role was picked up by Joel Edgerton of “Loving” and “The Great Gatsby.”
Bai Ling (“Revenge of the Sith”) Bai Ling actually doesn’t appear in “Revenge of the Sith,” but she was supposed to. Her scene as Senator Bana Breemu was cut from the film. But there are things you definitely have seen her in, including “Crank: High Voltage,” “The Crow” and “Entourage.”
Keisha Castle-Hughes (“Revenge of the Sith”) Sometime after Padmé’s term as queen had ended by “Revenge of the Sith,” the wise people of Naboo apparently elected another teenager queen: Queen Apailana, played by Keisha Castle-Hughes. Apailana is seen at Padmé’s funeral, and Castle-Hughes is known for “The Whale Rider” and appearing on “The Walking Dead.”
Simon Pegg (“The Force Awakens”) Another secret cameo, Pegg is covered in alien costume work as the junk dealer Unkar Plutt on Jakku. He’s the guy who gives Rei less than what her salvage is probably worth.
Bill Hader and Ben Schwartz (“The Force Awakens”) You’d think the last thing a droid like BB-8 would require is a voice, given that he’s a robot and speaks in bleeps and bloops. But to get the sound and personality just right, director J.J. Abrams enlisted comedians Bill Hader (formerly of “SNL”) and Ben Schwartz (well-known for playing Jean-Ralphio on “Parks and Rec”).
Thomas Brodie-Sangster (“The Force Awakens”) “Game of Thrones” might have noticed a familiar First Order officer during shots of the bridge of the Starkiller Base. It was Jojen Reed, Bran Stark’s loyal friend, who also plays Newt in the “Maze Runner” franchise.
Daniel Craig (“The Force Awakens”) It was something of a news item at the time, but James Bond slipped in a secret cameo in the first “Star Wars” film in a decade — as a stormtrooper. He’s the guard that Rei manages to Jedi mind trick into releasing her.
Billie Lourd (“The Force Awakens”) Billie Lourd sneaked into Lucasfilm’s revival of “Star Wars” as Lt. Connix, one of the Resistance fighters running tactical machinery in the base of General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher). Known for her hilarious turn as Chanel No. 3 on the horror-comedy series “Scream Queens,” she’s also Fisher’s daughter.
Harriet Walter (“The Force Awakens”) Playing a Resistance medic who helps out Chewbacca, “Downton Abbey” alumna Harriet Walter gets a short but sweet cameo in “The Force Awakens.” She actually has one of the movie’s funnier moments as she talks to Chewie about how scary his ordeal must have been.
Rian Johnson (“Rogue One”) The director of 2017’s “The Last Jedi” actually made a cameo in 2016’s “Rogue One” along with producer Ram Bergman as members of the gunner crew of the Death Star.
Justin Theroux (“The Last Jedi”) Casting “The Leftovers” star Justin Theroux as the unnamed super-great slicer Finn and Rose are looking for is a fun cameo that winds up being a misdirection and a fun joke. Instead, the pair find Benicio del Toro’s DJ to take over the job.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“The Last Jedi”) Director Rian Johnson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt collaborated on the 2005 movie “Brick,” the director’s first feature-length movie. JGL makes the most of their friendship by voicing an alien in the “Star Wars” universe called Slowen Lo, a riff on the Beastie Boys song “Slow & Low.” He’s the guy who’s really upset about Finn and Rose’s bad parking job.
Tom Hardy (“The Last Jedi”) Taking a page from Daniel Craig’s cameo in “The Force Awakens,” Tom Hardy grabbed a stormtrooper uniform to appear in “The Last Jedi.” His scene (which also featured Princes William and Harry) was deleted, unfortunately, but it finds him in an elevator with an incognito Finn, Rose and DJ as they sneak around the First Order ship midway through the movie. Hardy’s trooper recognizes Finn and congratulates him on the promotion his uniform suggests, even giving him a supportive smack on the butt.
Ralph Ineson (“The Last Jedi”) Another famous face appearing in the deleted sequence aboard the First Order ship is Ralph Ineson, star of “The Witch.” He plays an officer who immediately recognizes that Finn and Rose don’t belong. He pops up later with a detachment of stormtroopers to catch the impostors for real.
Gareth Edwards (“The Last Jedi”) Edwards gave Rian Johnson a cameo in “Rogue One,” so the director repaid the favor by making Edwards one of the Resistance troopers standing their ground on Crait. He’s the guy who looks incredulously at the trooper who decided to taste the ground.
Clint Howard (“Solo”) Director Ron Howard’s brother Clint is a well-known actor whose career goes all the back to the original “Star Trek” series. He pops up in a cameo role, as seen in this photo from his Twitter account, as a particularly mean guy in “Solo” who runs a droid fighting pit — and gets a rough talking to by Lando’s droid companion, L3.
Jon Favreau (“Solo”) The “Iron Man” director (who also plays Happy Hogan in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) and star of “Swingers” doesn’t fully appear in “Solo,” but his voice does — he plays Rio Durant, the multi-armed member of Tobias Beckett’s crew. Favreau gets to be the jokey member of the heist crew in the movie and acts as pilot, despite Han complaining that he wants the job.
Jodie Comer (“The Rise of Skywalker”) Comer, of “Killing Eve” fame, made a very surprising appearance in flashbacks as Rey’s mom.
John Williams (“The Rise of Skywalker”) Williams has provided the score for every main series “Star Wars” film, but he’d never done a cameo in any of them until he popped up in the bar on Kijimi where our heroes meet Babu Frik.
Lin-Manuel Miranda (“The Rise of Skywalker”) The “Hamilton” and “In the Heights” creator wrote a song for “The Force Awakens,” but this time around he got to actually appear on screen for a very brief moment during the Resistance’s celebration at the end of the film
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