Major film franchises are well-known for having cameos, and Star Wars is no different. Whether it be character cameos — such as C-3PO and R2-D2 in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story — or celebrities taking a minor role in the background of a scene, there have been plenty of people you wouldn’t expect that have appeared in the Skywalker family saga, set in a galaxy far, far away.
With Star Wars: The Last Jedi still upcoming, John Boyega let confirmation of a few major cameos — specifically, Princes William and Harry — slip out in an interview on BBC Radio (via Screen Rant). As he stated:
I’ve had enough with those secrets. They came on set. They were there. I’m sick of hiding it. I think it was leaked, anyway. There were images. Every time I get asked, I have to dodge it. I’m tired of dodging it. They were there. Tom Hardy was there too.
Hardy is certainly a major cameo. But he’s actually just one of many big names to show up in a film from the Star Wars franchise.
As fans look forward to the surprise appearances that are set to come in The Last Jedi, we take a look back at the history of celebrity cameos in the Star Wars franchise — including some you may not have noticed or heard about.
1. John Ratzenberger
Most known for his role as Cliff Claven on the television sitcom, Cheers, actor John Ratzenberger was not yet a huge star at the time of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. In fact, Cheers was still two years away from airing the pilot episode when the film was released. But Ratzenberger had appeared in several well-received movies in minor roles, including Valentino, Twilight’s Last Gleaming, and A Bridge Too Far.
He appeared early in Empire Strikes Back, playing Rebellion Major Derlin. His character confronted Princess Leia with the unfortunate news that the shield doors must be closed, leaving Luke Skywalker and Han Solo out in the freezing weather overnight. If you can’t believe you never realized that was Ratzenberger, then maybe give a look to the hilarious scene as it was “edited” by a fan.
2. Sofia Coppola
Another famous name to have appeared in the Star Wars franchise as a minor character is Sofia Coppola. The daughter of the famous director, Francis Ford Coppola, made her acting debut as an infant in the baptism scene at the end of The Godfather, a movie directed by her father. She later played Michael Corleone’s daughter in The Godfather Part III and won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2004 for the movie Lost in Translation.
Her role in Star Wars, though? It was in 1999’s Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. She was one of the handmaidens of Queen Amidala, the young women wearing the orange robes seen periodically throughout the movie. Interestingly enough, Rose Byrne and Keira Knightley also played handmaidens to Padme Amidala in the prequels, but neither were all that famous at the time of their casting.
3. Daniel Craig
British actor Daniel Craig is most known for his role as James Bond in the most recent 007 movies, such as Skyfall, Quantum of Solace, and Casino Royale. But Craig also has made appearances in some classic television shows and movies, including The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, A Kid in King Arthur’s Court, and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
By the time that J.J. Abrams was putting together Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Craig was already a big-time star. But that didn’t stop the director from getting him to play an uncredited stormtrooper in the scene where Rey discovers her mind control abilities. Knowing that it’s James Bond inside the white armor makes a relatively humorous scene even better.
4. Everyone from Game of Thrones
Anyone that is a fan of Game of Thrones might have felt like The Force Awakens was a reunion of sorts. Max Von Sydow, Gwendoline Christie, Mark Stanley, Emun Elliot, Miltos Yerolemou, Jessica Fenwick, and a handful of others all made appearances at one time or another, and in various levels of participation.
It was Von Sydow and Christie that had the largest roles, but even those weren’t exactly main characters. Von Sydow only makes it through the first few minutes of the film before seeing the business end of Kylo Ren’s lightsaber, and Christie was painfully underused. She had only a handful of speaking parts, all of which came from underneath her shiny helmet. In the end, she was put in a trash compactor — but somehow survived the planet exploding to appear in The Last Jedi, for what it’s worth.
5. George Lucas
Yes, the man that created Star Wars did appear in one of the films. George Lucas painted his face blue and threw on some robes to appear in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith as Notluwiski Papanoida, an extremely successful playwright. Really, George? A bit on the nose, isn’t it?
The Revenge of the Sith scene where Anakin Skywalker meets with Chancellor Palpatine at the opera shows Lucas standing and talking to another person with a blue face in the background. In Star Wars canon, that is Notliwski’s daughter, Chi Eekway Papanoided. But in reality, that is actually Lucas’ own daughter, Katie Lucas. His two other children at the time, Jett and Amanda, also made appearances in the prequels.
6. Gareth Edwards
Charged with the task of directing Rogue One, Gareth Edwards had a lot at his disposal. Even though The Force Awakens had been considered a real success, he was the first director to be dealt a movie from the same era as the original trilogy. That meant full licensing to create cameos and tie-ins from Star Wars: A New Hope. So of course, he found an important role for himself in the film.
At the very end of the movie, Darth Vader is busy cutting his way through a bunch of rebel soldiers like a hot knife through butter, when one rebel closes the doors and yells, “Launch!” Another rebel is seen running around a corner and pulling a big lever, detaching the ship and allowing Princess Leia and the gang to escape Vader’s clutches — however briefly. The man that pulled the lever? None other than Edwards, himself.
7. Kevin Smith
If you have ever seen a movie that Kevin Smith has directed, you would know that the man behind the giant trenchcoat of Silent Bob is a massive Star Wars buff. Star Wars often feels like a looming presence in his movies, from conversations about the ethics in blowing up the Death Star and killing thousands of quasi-innocent workers to cameos by Mark Hamill and Carrie Fischer. I mean, just watch this scene from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (NSFW).
So you can imagine the thrill for Smith when Abrams approached him about filming a line for The Force Awakens. Although Smith doesn’t appear at any point in the movie, he voiced a stormtrooper in the scene during the battle at Maz Kanata’s castle while Han Solo and Chewbacca are under arrest. For those wanting to go back and catch it, Smith’s line is, “We have incoming at 28.6!”
Information via IMDB.
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