All the people you never knew were in Star Wars – CNET

In the 40 years since it began, Star Wars has made household names of stars like Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher. But hidden farther down the saga’s cast list is a galaxy of stars you may not have noticed.

From young newcomers who weren’t famous yet to celebrity cameos to effects wizards stepping in front of the camera, these are some of the well-known names you may not have known appeared in Star Wars.

Photo by: Video screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

Daniel Craig

Photo by: Jonathan Olley

Keira Knightley

Photo by: Anthony Harvey/Getty Images for BFI

Rose Byrne

Photo by: Chris Weeks

John Ratzenberger

Little known fact: In one of the more instantly recognisable bit parts in the Star Wars saga, John Ratzenberger played rebel officer Major Derlin — two years before landing his signature role as Cliff in “Cheers“.

Photo by: Herb Ball/NBCU Photo Bank

Jessica Henwick

Photo by: David Giesbrecht/Netflix

Tony Cox

Tony Cox, the foul-mouthed elf from “Bad Santa“, donned a fur suit for “Return of the Jedi” and two Ewok TV movies. He also has the dubious distinction of appearing in both the Star Wars saga and the Star Wars spoof “Spaceballs“.

Photo by: Dimension

Joe Johnston

Photo by: Lucasfilm

Brian Blessed

The booming voice of veteran British actor Brian Blessed is instantly recognisable. He plays the king of Naboo’s Gungans, having already played Vultan the leader of the hawkmen in “Flash Gordon“.

Photo by: Universal

Richard Armitage

The heroic dwarf Thorin in the “Hobbit” trilogy got an early taste of a big-budget fantasy franchise when the then-unknown actor played a Naboo fighter pilot in “The Phantom Menace”.

Photo by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Timothy D. Rose

It’s not a trap — the man who played Admiral Ackbar in both the original movies and “The Force Awakens” was a puppeteer who also operated Sy Snootles and Jabba the Hutt’s cackling pet Salacious Crumb. Among his other work, he brought Howard the Duck to life in the disastrous 1986 Marvel comic adaptation, not to mention Cosmo and Dibbs in British kids’ show “You And Me”.

Photo by: Albert Clarke /Lucasfilm Ltd.

Richard Marquand

Richard Marquand directed “Return of the Jedi” and also hopped in front of the camera to command one of the Imperial scout walkers — until he was beaten up by Ewoks.

Photo by: Lucasfilm

Hannah John-Kamen

Photo by: Syfy

Phil Tippett

Animation pioneer Phil Tippett (right), one of the visual effects maestros behind Star Wars, “Indiana Jones” and “Jurassic Park”, stood in as an alien in Mos Eisley in “Star Wars”, as well as operating the Rancor puppet (pictured) in “Return of the Jedi”.

Photo by: Lucasfilm

Bill Hader and Ben Schwartz

Julian Glover

If you need a British bad guy, Julian Glover‘s your man. As well as leading the AT-AT assault playing General Veers in “The Empire Strikes Back”, Glover troubled both James Bond and Indiana Jones before turning up in “Game of Thrones” as Grand Maester Pycelle.

Photo by: Lucasfilm

Ralph McQuarrie

Photo by: Lucasfilm

Simon Pegg

Photo by: David James

Sofia Coppola

Queen Amidala’s entourage includes Saché, played by none other than the director of “The Virgin Suicides” and “Lost in Translation“. Sofia Coppola visited the set to hang out with family friend George Lucas. Her brother Roman is also knocking around the senate as a guard.

Photo by: Dominique Charriau/WireImage

Grant McCune

Model-maker Grant McCune was part of the Oscar-winning visual effects team on Star Wars, as well as working on “Jaws“, “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” and many more. He appeared in “A New Hope” as a Death Star Gunner.

Photo by: Lucasfilm

Dominic West

Before his big break in “The Wire“, a young Dominic West guarded the palace of Naboo in “The Phantom Menace”. Not very well, obviously.

Photo by: HBO

Don Henderson

Legendary British TV hard man Don Henderson was known for playing detective George Bulman in three series, as well as snarling his way through cult sci-fi shows “Doctor Who” and “Red Dwarf“. He played General Tagge in the conference scene in “A New Hope”.

Photo by: Lucasfilm

Treat Williams

Photo by: Michael Ochs Archives, Getty Images

Michael Sheard

In addition to being strangled over Skype in “The Empire Strikes Back”, Sheard was feared by a generation of British kids as the tyrannical teacher Mr Bronson in “Grange Hill”. He also appeared in “Doctor Who” no less than six times, while US viewers may remember him as Adolf Hitler in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade“.

Photo by: Lucasfilm

John Altman

Hiss-worthy soap opera villain “Nasty Nick” Cotton from “Eastenders” was part of the rebellion in “Return of the Jedi”. Another “Eastenders” villain can be glimpsed in “The Phantom Menace”, when Steve John Shepherd — aka Michael Moon — appeared on Naboo.

Photo by: BBC

Benjamin Burtt

Benjamin Burtt created the immediately recognizable sounds of the Star Wars saga — the buzz of the lightsabers, Chewbacca’s animal roar and more — and earned an Oscar in the process. He also appeared on screen as the officer who instructs Han Solo to “Freeze!” in the Endor shield bunker. In a saga full of lightsabers, lasers and other cool futuristic weapons, Burtt’s character is dispatched by a toolbox.

Photo by: ABC Photo Archives/Getty Images

Celia Imrie

From “Absolutely Fabulous” and various roles alongside the late comedienne Victoria Wood, Celia Imrie (centre) improbably climbed into a spacefighter cockpit in “The Phantom Menace”. The trend for distinguished British actresses flying spaceships continued in “Rogue One”, in which Geraldine James (left) was Blue Three.

Photo by: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Ralph Brown

Ralph Brown played a courtier on Naboo in “The Phantom Menace”, but you may remember him as the frazzled drug dealer and roadie from “Withnail and I” and “Wayne’s World 2”.

Photo by: Paramount

John Knoll

John Knoll is the Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor on various Star Trek, Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean movies. After jumping into the cockpit of a Naboo fighter in “Phantom Menace”, he had the idea to make a film about the Death Star plans — which became “Rogue One”. Oh, and he also straight-up invented Photoshop.

Photo by: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian

Thomas Brodie-Sangster

Liam Neeson (left) doesn’t have much form at handing out advice to boys in his charge: first Anakin Skywalker turned to the Dark Side, and then Thomas Brodie-Sangster, his son from “Love Actually“, winds up as an Imperial officer in “The Force Awakens”.

Photo by: Comic Relief/Getty Images

Judah Friedlander

Photo by: NBC

Simon Farnaby

You might recognise British comedian Simon Farnaby from “Horrible Histories”, “The Mighty Boosh” and the recent “Mindhorn“. He was also pilot Blue Five in “Rogue One”.

Photo by: Steffan Hill

Dee Tails

Photo by: Columbia

Richard Franklin

Fans of classic “Doctor Who” will remember Richard Franklin (left) as the dashing Captain Mike Yates, a series regular alongside Jon Pertwee’s third Doctor in the 1970s. He appeared as an engineer in “Rogue One”.

Photo by: BBC

Rian Johnson

“Looper” director Rian Johnson is in charge of “Episode VIII: The Last Jedi”, but in a “Rogue One” cameo he was in charge of some Imperial gadgetry as a random technician.

Photo by: Rian Johnson

Billie Lourd

Joining the Resistance in “Force Awakens” is Billie Lourd of “Scream Queens” (left) — who also happens to be Carrie Fisher’s daughter.

Photo by: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Nigel Godrich

Under the helmet of “Force Awakens” Stormtrooper FN-9330 is music producer Nigel Godrich (centre, performing with Thom Yorke), who’s overseen every Radiohead album since the 1990s. He’s joined under Stormtrooper helmet FN-3181 by movie composer Michael Giacchino, who has written the music for Star Trek and Star Wars.

Photo by: David Wolff/Patrick, Redferns/Getty Images

Joel Edgerton

Photo by: Lionsgate

Greg Proops and Scott Capurro

Photo by: WireImage/Michael Schwartz

Greg Grunberg

Photo by: Lucasfilm


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