Going into Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I tried to forget all I knew about the highly anticipated film, including all the rumors of plots, characters, and cameos. So, it wasn’t until after I saw the movie in IMAX 3D that I took a look back at what rumors turned out to be true, as well as where those reported cameos and other roles showed up.
Here’s a look a some of the familiar faces, and some hidden ones as well, that showed up in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
And obviously, this will contain spoilers for the film.
Back in May, there was a rumor that current James Bond Daniel Craig, whose Spectre was released last month, would have a role as a Stormtrooper. Thankfully, I completely forgot all about this. And, with a film that’s littered with stormtroopers, it would take up quite a bit of mental energy looking for Craig amongst them. Part of the rumor was that he was hiding in plain sight – and, he totally was. There’s a scene where Daisy Ridley’s Rey is held prisoner on the First Order’s Starkiller Base space station, and she’s surprisingly left with a mere one stormtrooper to guard her. It’s here where she attempts to use her newfound Force powers, when she orders her guard to remove her restraints and leave her cell door open. And that Stormtrooper is Daniel Craig, per io9, and he’s using an American accent when he threatens Rey: “I’ll tighten those restraints, scavenger scum.” This is one of the most interesting parts of Rey’s story, and adding Craig into the mix made it that much more cooler.
Interestingly, it was Simon Pegg who started that Daniel Craig rumor. Pegg was spotted on the Abu Dhabi set of the new Star Wars film, where he revealed “I wasn’t a Stormtrooper. Daniel Craig, he was a Stormtrooper. I shouldn’t have said that.” Pegg, a longtime Star Wars fan who worked with J.J. Abrams on both the Mission: Impossible and Star Trek film franchises, was tapped for a costumed role, which we got a glimpse of in the film’s SDCC Sizzle Reel, where the unmasked actor said, “My whole life has led to this moment; I’m in heaven.” It turns out that not only did Pegg play the role of Unkar Plutt, the junk dealer the who buys the items that Rey scavenges, but Abrams told EW that the Hot Fuzz actor’s “support and friendship has been massively important.”
Bill Hader & Ben Schwartz
Once the credits roll on The Force Awakens a name will certainly pop out amongst the cast — that of SNL alum Bill Hader. The Trainwreck actor is one of two people credited as “BB-8 Vocal Consultant,” BB-8 being the film’s totally lovable new orange and white rolling droid that steals our heart. BB-8 sounds a lot like his predecessor R2-D2, who was brought to life by Ben Burtt and his sound team for the previous films. But, HitFix discovered that Hader, along with Ben Schwartz, best known as Jean-Ralphio on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, gave BB-8 its voice. The comedic actor told HitFix that his contributions to the film were of “JJ f**king around with this sound effects app on his iPad that was attached to a talk box operated by me. It looked ridiculous but it made BB-8’s voice.”
GQ recently asked Ben Schwartz “What the fuck?” about his involvement in The Force Awakens. Turns out, it was simple: J.J. Abrams called him up and told him to come play around to get some sounds for BB-8.
Speaking of Schwartz, here’s something he recently reposted of him and Michael Giacchino doing the Star Wars theme:
And speaking of Michael Giacchino and Star Wars, guess who plays a Stormtrooper in the new movie??? That’s right, it’s award-winning film composer, who worked with Abrams on the Star Trek and M:I movies, and on various Disney films, including Up, for which he won an Oscar for Best Original Score. This time around, the composing went to franchise legend John Williams, but Abrams found a way to get Giacchino into The Force Awakens as stormtrooper FN-3181.
And one more stormtrooper cameo (hey, there’s lots of trooper roles to be filled, so why not?): Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, as Stormtrooper FN-9330. He reportedly got the gig thanks to Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright.
J.J. Abrams has long said that Greg Grunberg has been his “good luck charm,” and the director has cast his childhood friend in many of his projects, including TV’s Alias and LOST, along with Mission: Impossible III and 2009’s Star Trek. So, it’s no surprise that Abrams’ lucky charm would earn a spot on a film as significant as The Force Awakens. The Heroes star plays a small role of Temmin “Snap” Wexley, one of the leaders of the Resistance alongside General Leia Organa. The actor has some lines during the scene where the Resistance is assessing the Starkiller Base, looking for weaknesses in its structure.
Back in 2014, it was rumored that Carrie Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd would be seen in a flashback sequence in The Force Awakens as a young Princess Leia, her mother’s iconic role from the Star Wars franchise. But, it turns out there was no such flashback. Instead, the 23-year-old actress is actually one of the Resistance fighters, Lieutenant Connix, so she’s right alongside her famous mom, now a General, in the film. (Watch for her one standout line, “General, are you seeing this?” queried to Leia.) She also sports a mini-bun hairdo in the film, a callback to her mom’s famous hairdo from the first Star Wars film. (Here’s a look at Lourd in the film via People.) Lourd is currently starring as Chanel #3, the sorority sister who always wears the earmuffs — another an homage to her mom — on FOX’s Scream Queens.
Thomas Brodie-Sangster has one of those faces that stick out amongst a cast. Whenever he pops up, I’m always like, hey, it’s that guy! While the 25-year-old British actor got his start as a child actor in films like Love, Actually, he’s recently had headlining gigs in the two Maze Runner films, and played an integral role on the HBO TV series Game Of Thrones. In The Force Awakens, Sangster once again sticks out, this time amongst a team of First Order officers as Petty Officer Thanisson on the side of Chrome Trooper Captain Phasma, played by his GoT co-star Gwendoline Christie.
– Jessica Henwick (GoT’s Nymeria Sand), Jess Testor, one of the Resistance’s X-Wing pilots
– Miltos Yerolemou (GoT’s Syrio Forel), a bar patron at Maz Kanata’s establishment
– Mark Stanley (GoT’s Night’s Watch ranger Grenn), an unnamed Kylo Ren disciple
– Max Von Sydow (joining GoT for Season 6 as the Three-eyed Raven), Lor San Tekka, an inhabitant of the planet Jakku who helps the Resistance
With some many actors from the original trilogy returning for The Force Awakens — Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Kenny Baker (as consultant for R2-D2) — it’s nice to know that Abrams and company found a way to get Warwick Davis back as well, even if it’s not for any of his previous characters. Davis was just 11 when he snagged the part of the Ewok Wicket in Return Of The Jedi. In The Force Awakens, the actor appears as Wollivan, on of the taverns people at Maz’s Castle, Maz Kanata’s bar, according to EW, who note his characters as the “tiny (of course) creature with the short, pink snout and the puckered eyes.”
Also look for 30 Rock‘s actor Judah Friedlander in a yet-to-be-uncovered role as one of the patrons, as well as D.C. Barnes, the fan and winner of the Force For Change charity raffle, amongst the patrons, who can be seen as the hooded black cloaked man at the gambling table just behind Davis’s Wollivan.
Downton Abbey fans most definitely recognize Harriet Walter as Dr. Kalonia, who quite calmly treats the wookiee Chewbecca’s wounds at the Resistance base. The British actress appeared in several episodes as Lady Shackleton in the popular ITV dramatic television series, and was also in 2007’s Atonement.
I saw Star Wars twice yesterday and now all I want to do is write Chewbacca/Dame Harriet Walter fan fic.
Yayan Ruhian, Iko Uwais, and Cecep A. Rahman, martial arts actors who star in The Raid films, made their way into The Force Awakens as members of the Kanjuklub, one of the criminal gangs who attack Han Solo on his ship only to be eaten by the Rathtars (via MTV). Ruhian is the Kanjaklub leader Tasu Leech, while Uwais is Razoo Qin-Fee, and the duo were also the fight choreographers for the sequence on the Millennium Falcon sequence, along with Raid 2‘s Cecep Arif Rahman as Crokind Sand.
While he wasn’t seen in the film, Hamilton composer and star Lin-Manuel Miranda makes his mark in the Star Wars universe with two Huttese songs he wrote — “Jabba Flow” and “Dobra Doompa” — which are heard at Maz’s Castle. Miranda sang the tunes along with director J.J. Abrams.
STAR WARS SPOILER HERE:
It's me and JJ on vocals, yes.
And the lyrics I wrote are in Huttese. Which is fun to write. https://t.co/AWdGCwemlr
That’s right, Silent Bob himself is reportedly credited in the film with contributing “additional voices.” And while we don’t know exactly what that means, perhaps Kevin Smith will one day (soon hopefully) enlighten us about his experience on The Force Awakens. Smith is a long-time noted Star Wars fan, with his film 2001’s Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back being a direct homage to the original trilogy. Also, he cast both Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill in the film at a time where the two — let’s face it — typecast actors weren’t getting many gigs (Hamill had better luck with voice work, but never again hit anywhere near his Luke Skywalker level of work). Smith told the Comic-Con crowd a little about his set visit for The Force Awakens and the NDA that came with it, but now that the new movie is out, he’s sure to spill something.
Just mainlined the Fountain of Youth that is @starwars and I feel like a butterball kid again! Massive love to JJ for rescuing my childhood!
I did not catch this part, but according to EW, if you listen closely, you can hear Frank Oz‘s as Yoda, and Ewan McGregor & the late Alec Guinness both as Obi-Wan Kenobi during Rey’s vision in Maz’s Castle. Oz provided the voice (and did the puppeteering) for Yoda in the previous six Star Wars films, while McGregor starred as a young Obi-Wan in the Prequels. Both actors provided new voice work for The Force Awakens, while Alec Guinness, who died in 2000 at 86, can be heard saying “Rey” thanks to some movie magic — they took it from an old line of the actor saying “afraid.”
That’s all for now, but if there’s any more we missed, let us know!