Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker, the conclusion of the third trilogy of the Star Wars universe, has been released. The saga revolutionized the world with its special effects and melodic soundtrack, becoming a pop culture phenomenon that transcended the big screen. However, as much of a success as it was at the box office, the series still hides some secrets, such as the name of various well-known actors and actresses who had small roles in the films but went unnoticed.
ViralSection wants to talk to you more about the roles played by some of these artists. They made cameos, worked as extras, voiced animated characters, or appeared in disguise. At the end of the article, you will find a bonus feature with 2 prominent members of the British Royal Family who recorded a scene for one of the films which, unfortunately, was cut out.
1. Keira Knightley (Sabé)
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Keira Knightley took advantage of her physical resemblance to Natalie Portman when she played Sabé, a young woman who pretended to be Padmé Amidala, Queen of Naboó, as a decoy to protect her from assassination attempts. The English actress was only 12 years old when she filmed this brief appearance in Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace, a film that premiered when she was only 14.
The resemblance between the actresses was so uncanny that even their mothers weren’t able to distinguish one from the other when they were wearing their costumes. To complete the whole character, Knightley’s voice was replaced by Portman’s in post-production.
2. Daniel Craig (stormtrooper)
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Daniel Craig took advantage of the fact that the film Specter of the James Bond saga was being shot in the same studio as Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens. He asked a director’s assistant to allow him to make a cameo. However, you might not remember noticing him since the British actor played a stormtrooper and never took off his mask.
He appears in the scene that shows Rey captured, using her Jedi tricks to order one of the soldiers of the Galactic Empire to release her, leave the door open, and drop his weapon. At first, it doesn’t look like the stormtrooper will surrender to the strength of the character played by Daisy Ridley, but then he lets the heroine escape.
3. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Slowen Lo)
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In Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi, Finn and Rose travel to a coastal city called Canto Bight, known for its casinos and races, to search for Master Codebreaker. Upon their arrival, a resident warns them that they cannot leave their ship on the beach and, in case they ignore him, he would call the police. That creature is known as Slowen Lo, and his voice was interpreted by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
The film director was Rian Johnson, who had worked with Gordon-Levitt on the films Brick and Looper. The actor had already shown he was a fan of the saga by attending the premiere of Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens disguised as Yoda.
4. Rose Byrne (Dormé)
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Rose Byrne already had a successful acting career in Australia when in 2002, she had the chance to work in a Hollywood movie for the first time. It was a brief appearance in the role of Dormé, Padmé Amidala’s maid (a character played by Natalie Portman), in Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones.
A few years later, when the actress achieved greater recognition for her roles in films such as Bridesmaids and TV shows like Damages, she explained that she got the part thanks to the fact that the movie was filmed in Sydney. She also confessed that she’s not a fan of the saga created by George Lucas: “I’m like one of the 0.1% who is not a Star Wars fan.”
5. Simon Pegg (Unkar Plutt)
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Unkar Plutt is one of the new characters introduced in Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens. He’s a junk merchant from the planet Jakku who directs a group of thugs and independent employees, including Rey, who sell and transport all kinds of stuff. Unkar Plutt was played by Simon Pegg, although his face never turns up on camera.
The actor is a self-proclaimed Star Wars fan and explained that he even used his knowledge of the saga to make suggestions for the script to director J. J. Abrams. The comedian had another role linked to the story that takes place in the galaxy far away: he voiced C-3PO, the robot from the special Star Wars episode in the animated show Phineas and Ferb aired in 2014.
6. Jon Favreau (Rio Durant)
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There must be few artists more versatile and talented than Jon Favreau, at least in the American film industry. As an actor, director, and screenwriter, the man is a central figure within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and since Walt Disney acquired Lucasfilm, he’s increasingly occupying a more influential position in the world of Star Wars.
He gave voice to Pre Vizsla, leader of the Death Guard in the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and is now a producer and screenwriter for The Mandalorian, the new Disney + series. What’s more, is he also played a leading role on the big screen and voiced Rio Durant, the 4-handed pilot who appears in Solo: a Star Wars Story.
7. Joel Edgerton (Owen Lars)
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He’s the actor in Warrior and The Great Gatsby, among other productions, but for many Star Wars fans, Joel Edgerton’s face will always be associated with Owen Lars, Luke Skywalker’s uncle, the man who took care of his upbringing in planet Tatooine. He got his first role in Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones and returned in the final shot of Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith.
A curious fact: his brother, Nash Edgerton, also participated in those 2 films of the saga. He was Ewan McGregor’s double, who played young Obi-Wan Kenobi.
8. Peter Serafinowicz (Darth Maul)
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Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace was released in 1999 with the difficult mission of pleasing fans of the first trilogy. The first series of films set the bar very high in many respects, including the introduction of Darth Vader, rated as one of the best villains in the history of cinema. It was Darth Maul who portrayed this new character, an antagonist to the Jedi.
The actor who gave voice to the user of the dark side of the Force, and who carried a double-bladed lightsaber, was Peter Serafinowicz. The comedian, famous for his work in Shaun of the Dead and Guardians of the Galaxy, among other films, recorded the dialogue. At the same time, Scottish Ray Park, a martial arts specialist, interpreted the moves.
9. Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Thanisson)
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Thomas Brodie-Sangster and his childish face didn’t find it hard to put himself in the shoes of Thanisson, an officer of the evil First Order, during his brief acting stint in Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens. In his cameo, he notifies to his superior that Finn and Poe are stealing a TIE fighter to escape.
The 29-year-old actor, known for playing little Sam in Love Actually and Jojen Reed in Game of Thrones, also voiced Ferb in the animated series Phineas and Ferb. In this way, he had another connection to the saga in the special episode about Star Wars that premiered in 2014.
10. Justin Theroux (Maestro Descifrador)
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Finn and Rose are looking for Master Codebreaker to save the Resistance fleet from the First Order attack in Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi. However, he only appears for a brief moment on screen since before making contact with him in the city of Canto Bight, Finn and Rose get arrested.
It’s Justin Theroux, Jennifer Aniston’s ex-husband, who appears in that cameo. You may recognize him for his roles in series such as The Leftovers and Maniac. The actor revealed in an interview that the character was supposed to have more time on screen, but the director decided to reduce it. According to Theroux, “He called me at the last minute and said, “Hey, it’s really essentially a cameo, and sort of a punchline. Would you like to come in and play this part?’ And I thought, ’Sure, that’d be…’ I mean, come on!”
11. Sally Hawkins (extra)
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Almost all great actors start with small roles and Sally Hawkins is no exception. Long before winning the Golden Globe for “Best Actress” for Happy-Go-Lucky, and being nominated for an Oscar for The Shape of Water and Blue Jasmine, the artist appeared in the Star Wars Universe, although it’s impossible to identify her.
Hawkins was chosen as an extra to portray one of the hundreds of villagers seen in the final scene of Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace. Although it’s one of the roles that began her career, in 2015, she admitted that she never saw the film.
12. Julian Glover (Maximilian Veers)
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For young people, Julian Glover will always be Grand Maester Pycelle from Game of Thrones. But those with a few more years on them will also associate him with Maximilian Veers, the general who worked for Darth Vader aboard the Death Star in Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back.
His role as a villain was so convincing that he later played the James Bond nemesis in For Your Eyes Only (1981), and the Nazi, Walter Donovan in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989).
Fans of the movie series based on J. K. Rowling’s books will also appreciate the fact that Glover was the voice of the giant spider Aragog in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
13. Dominic West (Jerus Jannick)
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The Wire is thought to be one of the best television shows in history, with Dominic West as the star. But before attaining stardom, the actor interpreted Jerusalem Jannick, one of the guards of the royal palace of Naboo, in Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace, the first film of the second trilogy.
His role in Star Wars was small with only a single line of dialogue, but it brought him luck. The following year he had more time on screen in 28 Days, a romantic comedy starring Sandra Bullock. In 2002, he got another prominent role in Chicago, the musical, and then landed the leading role in The Wire.
14. Treat Williams (rebel soldier)
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Treat Williams went to the Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back set in London to visit his friend, Carrie Fisher, the beloved Princess Leia. According to actor John Morton, who played pilot Dak Ralter on the film, Williams decided it would be fun to appear as an extra and did so as soon as the producers approved it.
It’s impossible to try to spot him on screen but there are pictures of him disguised as an alliance soldier along with Fisher, which is part of a personal collection of the actress’s memories. At the time of his small appearance in Star Wars, the American artist was already recognized for his role in the musical Hair, which premiered in 1979.
Bonus: The deleted scene portraying both Prince William and Prince Harry
The Star Wars universe has its kings and queens, but the saga was close to having real members of the British monarchy inside the cast. Prince William and Prince Harry of the United Kingdom shot a cameo as stormtroopers in Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi. However, the scene was erased in the final edition and their cameos are only available in the DVD and Blu-ray versions.
In the scene, which also featured Tom Hardy playing a Stormtrooper, Finn is seen in an elevator when he infiltrates the enemy spacecraft. Hardy’s the only one who has any dialogue while Charles and Lady Di’s children appear in the background, unrecognizable, wearing white suits and helmets.
Did you know these actors and actresses participated in the Star Wars saga? What do you think of StarWars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker? Please share your opinions with us in the comment section.
Preview photo credit Andrea Raffin / Wikipedia