Star Wars: The Force Awakens was easily the most talked-about film to release in 2015, breaking box office records, thrilling fans, and ending up the subject of all sorts of analysis and speculation. Amid all this, there’s been a fair amount said regarding the various celebrity cameos throughout the movie, with J.J. Abrams having assembled a “who’s who” of Hollywood’s biggest Star Wars fans. Some are of the “duh” variety, while others come as a surprise to everyone, and others still are primary characters who are nigh unrecognizable under all the makeup, costumes, and CGI.
To break from your run-of-the-mill “here are the all cameos” format, we felt it necessary to blend that into something a little different. Here we have a list of actors from The Force Awakens with roles varying from “had two lines” to “one of the primary villains,” all of whom found their way into Disney’s new-look Star Wars franchise in some way.
1. Andy Serkis: Supreme Leader Snoke
Serkis had been listed on IMDb’s page for The Force Awakens for a while leading into the release, although there were few hints as to who or what exactly Supreme Leader Snoke was. With the movie now released, we have more questions than answers, knowing just that he’s grotesquely scarred, might be 30 feet tall, and has some sort of affiliation with the Sith (although even that’s uncertain). Serkis continues his career as a talented motion-capture actor, while his voice is dropped a few octaves for the added intimidation factor.
2. Daniel Craig: Stormtrooper
This has been one of the more publicized celebrity cameos, but it’s worth noting nonetheless. For Craig’s brief role, he dons the armor of a First Order Stormtrooper, and is the victim of Rey’s budding mind control powers rooted in the Force. Rey forces Craig’s character to release her restraints, leave the door open, and then hand over his weapon, and if you listen closely, you’ll recognize Craig’s voice as the one behind the helmet.
3. Simon Pegg: Unkar Plutt
Simon Pegg’s love of Star Wars is well-documented, so it only makes sense that Abrams made him the (temporary) owner of the Millenium Falcon in his brief role as the junkyard dealer, Unkar Plutt. You’ll know him as the large alien doling out rations for spare parts on Jakku, closing out his appearance by shaking his fist at the sky as Rey and Finn run off with the Falcon. There was also apparently a scene later cut from the film where Plutt tracked the Falcon down, only to have his arm torn off by Chewbacca, likely left out for the horrific violence such a scene entailed.
4. Lupita N’yongo: Maz Kanata
Along with Andy Serkis, Lupita N’yongo was one of the few characters in The Force Awakens whose character was done entirely with CGI and motion-capture technology. N’yongo played the mysterious Maz Kanata, the owner of an ancient watering hole akin to the cantina we saw in A New Hope. At 1,000 years old, Maz has a lot of stories left to tell, and we likely haven’t seen the last of her in the Star Wars franchise.
5. Bill Hader: BB-8
Pairing with Parks and Recreation alum Ben Schwartz, Bill Hader was one of the driving forces behind BB-8’s bleeps and bloops. Both men are credited as “voice consultants,” which entailed Hader manning an “iPad that was attached to a talk box” to bring the droid to life. Details didn’t come out until Hitfix broke the story in an interview, making for one of the more interesting tidbits of information to crop up surrounding the official release of the film.
6. Ewan McGregor: Obi Wan Kenobi
We didn’t explicitly see Obi Wan Kenobi’s Force ghost anywhere in The Force Awakens, but we did hear him. In a vision Rey sees after touching Anakin and Luke’s lightsaber, we hear McGregor whisper, “these are your first steps,” a line he came in and recorded for Abrams personally during production. Additionally, a clever sound tech pulled the word “Rey” out of the late Alec Guinness saying the word “afraid” in the original trilogy.
7. Gwendoline Christie: Captain Phasma
Any fan of Game of Thrones likely recognized the voice of Gwendoline Christie, the actress behind the armor of Captain Phasma in The Force Awakens. Incidentally, the character of Phasma was originally designed as a man, but the decision was later made to swap the gender, bringing in the 6-foot-3 Christie to don the imposing chrome armor herself.
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