Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a critical darling, and it’s still a box office powerhouse raking in over $2 billion worldwide. It’s no wonder, considering everything that went into the film. The cast was well put together, the directing and writing was excellent and keeping with Star Wars tradition, the special effects were outstanding. The story was very familiar, but sometimes that’s just how the force works. The new characters fit well into the universe and while we had to say goodbye to a dear friend and beloved hero, the audience wants more.
But as is generally the case with cameos, blink and you’ll miss them. Heck, if you pried your eyes wide open and stared at the screen you still might have missed some of them. There were so many secret cameos in The Force Awakens. You probably aren’t even aware that these celebrities were in this phenomenal film. Some were relatives of main cast members, while others were actors who have appeared in previous installments of the Star Wars franchise. Here’s a look at 15 celebrities who had secret cameos in The Force Awakens. There are twelve entries because we listed a few sets of performers together.
12. Judah Friedlander
There were a lot of very colorful characters in Maz Kanata’s bar in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The scene was reminiscent of the Mos Eisley Cantina scene from the first Star Wars movie to be released: A New Hope.
One of the bar patrons in The Force Awakens was none other than 30 Rock star and stand up comedian Judah Friedlander. Friedlander is a lifelong nerd and Star Wars fan. Did you notice him is this scene? He was tricky to spot since he was grimy and wearing goggles, but you might have seen his distinctive long curly hair.
11. Warwick and Annabelle Davis
Warwick Davis has played many roles in the Star Wars movies. He is most famous for playing cute and brave Wicket the Ewok in Return of the Jedi. In The Force Awakens he plays an alien character called Wollivan.
Interestingly enough, Warwick Davis’ daughter also has a part in the movie – she was also cast before he was. He was dropping her off for work at the set and ended up hanging around. Eventually he got a part himself. It sounds like something right out of Life’s Too Short.
10. J.J. Abram’s Father
Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ director J.J. Abrams, gave his father a cameo in the film. Gerry Abrams has an extensive career in Hollywood as a producer of television and film, but The Force Awakens is one of only a handful of acting appearances. Most of his other acting roles were in other films made by J.J., such as Star Trek.
J.J. cast his dad as a resistance officer named Captain Cypress. Of course he would cast his father as one of the good guys. Abrams owes part of his success to the encouragement he received from his father.
9. Billie Lourd
Carrie Fisher’s return to the Star Wars franchise as General Leia was one of the highlights in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but did you know that her daughter had a small role in the film as well? Just like her mother, she was part of the resistance.
Billie Lourd, who stars on the acclaimed Fox TV show Scream Queens, played a resistance officer in the film, and she even sported a hairdo very similar to the famous bun hairstyle that her mother wore in Star Wars: A New Hope.
8. Thomas Brodie Sangster and Jessica Henwick
So many Game of Thrones stars had cameos in The Force Awakens. Gwendoline Christie had the largest role as she played First Order stormtrooper leader Captain Phasma, but she is not really in the movie that much, so her appearance was practically an extended cameo.
Thomas Brodie Sangster, who played Jojen Reed on Game of Thrones, played a First Order officer in The Force Awakens, and Jessica Henwick, who played Nymeria Sand on Game of Thrones, had a small cameo in The Force Awakens, too. She played a resistance x-wing fighter pilot.
7. Kevin Smith
Despite his impressive and stunning weight loss in recent years, cult comedy director and fanboy Kevin Smith is still a bit on the portly side, so it might have been a tad difficult for him to squeeze into a First Order stormtrooper outfit.
However, he did lend his voice to one of the stormtroopers in The Force Awakens. He voiced the stormtrooper on Takodana who spotted resistance members arriving at Maz Kanata’s bar. It must have been a dream come true for a huge Star Wars fan like Smith to cameo in the movie. Some of the best bits from Clerks are Star Wars jokes.
6. Daniel Craig
Apparently James Bond is extremely susceptible to the force and mind control. Even his super spy skills can’t help him. When Rey is captured by Kylo Ren and interrogated, she is left alone for a short while and guarded by stormtroopers.
She decides to see if she has any Jedi mind trick skills and manages to convince one of the stormtroopers to let her go. Daniel Craig played the stormtrooper who fell victim to a Jedi mind trick, loosened her shackles and dropped his weapon.
5. Bill Hader and Ben Schwartz
Did you know that the voice of BB-8 was Saturday Night Live veteran and master impressionist Bill Hader? Technically, the credits list him as voice consultant for the spherical and cute droid.
He, along with fellow comedian and Parks and Rec star Ben Schwartz, provided the vocals for the robot. How did they do it? The duo fooled around with a sound effects app on J.J. Abrams’ iPad. It doesn’t get much more interesting than that.
4. Ewan McGregor
You would need to have super sensitive hearing to catch Ewan McGregor’s cameo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He reprised his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi, but he didn’t actually appear on screen – only his voice was heard. He recorded the line: “these are your first steps.”
The full line uttered by Obi-Wan in the film is: “Rey, these are your first steps”, but another Obi-Wan actor said “Rey”. It wasn’t McGregor…
3. Alec Guinness
Ewan McGregor recorded a line of dialogue for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but another Obi Wan also lent his voice to the film. Alec Guinness says “Rey” and McGregor says: “these are your first steps.” But how could Alec Guinness appear in the film if he has been dead for over 15 years?
Is there some force magic at work here? What actually happened is that the word “Rey” was extracted from Alec Guinness saying “afraid.” That snippet, along with McGregor’s recording, resulted in the ominous message Rey receives from long dead Obi-Wan Kenobi.
2. Simon Pegg
Simon Pegg is no stranger to the Star Wars universe, but he is better known for his role as Scotty in the Star Trek films. Pegg was the voice of Dengar in the cartoon Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and he also had a role in The Force Awakens.
You probably didn’t recognize him because he was hidden under layers of make up and effects. Pegg played slimy and greedy junk hoarder Unkar Plutt in The Force Awakens. Rey encountered this dastardly creature on Jakku, and Plutt wanted to buy poor BB-8!
1. Frank Oz
Obi-Wan Kenobi wasn’t the only voice of a classic Star Wars character that fans heard. When Rey touched Luke’s lightsaber for the first time when she found it in the basement of Maz Kanata’s bar, it provided insight into her past and future.
When she touched the Jedi weapon she had a vision and heard a message from Obi-Wan – as well as Luke crying “nooo!” You can also hear Yoda in this short scene, and the diminutive green Jedi was voiced once again by Frank Oz.