The Star Wars trilogy has been a staple in pop culture ever since it came to the big screen in 1977, and its popularity has done nothing but grow from that point forward. The fandom revolving around the movies and everything that that came thereafter has gone through the ages and has done nothing but get stronger after the release of the newest addition to the franchise Star Wars: VII – The Force Awakens. Inviting a new generation to experience the magic, wonder and complexity that is the Star Wars universe means that those who have never even heard of the movies can now feel what it’s like to see Chewbacca for the first time and watch the epic lightsaber battles.
Given, the graphics may have undergone a major evolution since its initial release but two things that will never change is the timelessness of the story and charm that the characters possess. Either way, it will be extremely interesting to see what the future holds for the characters living in this galaxy far, far away, and the days are counting down until the next movie gets released.
This being said, not all of the actors who were vital to the original trilogy continued working with the franchise. Where are they now? Read on to find out!
11. Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford has had nothing but the best of luck when it comes to choosing his roles. Right after the worldwide success that Star Wars had while he was involved, he transformed into Indiana Jones, the badass archeologist who can’t help but go on the craziest adventures. This being said, it embodies the expresion “when it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” since he has literally done nothing but act and live his life as he sees fit. All in all, this may not have been such a bad thing, because his ability to keep on playing Han Solo and roll with the punches made J.J. Abrams rethink Solo’s interactions with Rey and Finn after his on set injury. While we may never know if that’s what made the newest addition to the Star Wars franchise such a success, it definitely didn’t do any harm either.
10. Mark Hamill
Mark Hamill may not have gotten a lot of work directly after his portrayal as Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars trilogy, but his career has skyrocketed once more and the acting world will be forever marked by it. Once he discovered that he had a hidden talent in voice acting, his exposure has been through the roof. Having voice acted in famous franchises like Batman: The Animated Series and Superman, he realized that he is particularly good at playing villainous characters. However, this has not stopped him from playing the good guy every once in awhile. He is Luke Skywalker, after all.
9. Carrie Fisher
Star Wars is known to have started a lot of acting careers, and Carrie Fisher is one of them. Having played Princess Leia, Fischer merged her name with one of the biggest cultural icons the world has ever seen. In addition, her struggles with alcohol and drugs eventually led her to release her first book entitled Postcards From the Edge in 1986, which she later reworked for the big screen. This was just the beginning of Carrie’s writing career though, since she has since edited a number of Hollywood scripts (like Sister Act and The Wedding Singer) and wrote bestselling books which include Wishful Drinking and Shockaholic. However, she never really gave up the art of acting, and can be seen taking on the role of Princess Leia in the newest Star Wars film.
8. Kenny Baker
Like Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker has played a major role in the Star Wars franchise since its initial release back in 1977. Being 3’8″, George Lucas thought him to be the ideal size for the famous droid R2-D2 and basically hired him on the spot. In addition, Kenny Baker had another cameo where he played Paploo in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and made a lasting impression when he stole an Imperial speeder bike. Basing most of his career on Star Wars was a smart move on his end but he has also played in a number of other projects as well like Elephant Man, Time Bandits, and Labyrinth. He has also dabbled in the world of stand-up comedy since the late ’90s, and he’s apparently a pretty good mouth-organ player. Who knew?
7. Anthony Daniels
Almost all of Anthony Daniels’ work was in collaboration with the Star Wars franchise, and this partnership will probably last forevermore. Having appeared in all of the Star Wars movies and having provided his voice to the audio books and even the cartoons, there is a very simple answer to the question of where he is now, because he has never left. This 5’9″ actor seems to have given his life to this franchise and will continue to do so despite the long lasting tension that has been there for the 39 years that he and his co-star Kenny Baker have worked together.
6. Frank Oz
While people may not know him by name, Frank Oz played the all-knowing Yoda in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. This being said, his career seems to have no bounds. Being not only a talented puppeteer but director as well, Frank Oz’s life is a very interesting one to say the very least. Most recently, he has directed the remake of The Stepford Wives and The Score, and has reprised his role as Yoda in the newest Star Wars film. All this to say that while he may be 71 years of age, he is nowhere near retirement and can’t help but embrace the endless possibilities that life has to offer.
5. James Earl Jones
While it may seem a little too coincidental that James Earl Jones would play the voice of Darth Vader, due to his unhappy childhood Jones Struck fear into all those who watched Star Wars. With his deep and intimidating voice, he was the clear choice when it came to casting and his character became iconic because of it. Since then, he has continued his life in the entertainment industry and can be seen as well as heard in various films and shows like The Lion King where he played Mufasa. Having returned to the stage, you may just get lucky enough to see this award winning actor on Broadway someday soon. Chances are you’ll get chills down your spine from the moment that he steps onto the stage.
4. Billy Dee Williams
Billy Dee Williams’ name will always be synonymous with his famous character portrait of Lando Carlissan in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Since then, he has become the spokesperson for the liquor Colt 45, and is even getting involved in computer games due to the upcoming release of Command & Conquer! He has also not left the Star Wars franchise forever despite his hiatus. His character Lando Carlissan has made multiple guest appearances on shows like Robot Chicken, The Cleveland Show and MAD, but that’s not all! Recently he seems to be leaning toward the LEGO adaptations of Star Wars and the children’s show Star Wars: Rebels. You can walk away from Star Wars but you will never truly leave it behind.
3. Alec Guiness
Despite having openly hated working on the Star Wars trilogy, it made Alex Guiness (who was awarded knighthood in 1959 for his acting) a lot of money and even granted him international stardom. Since his initial involvement in Star Wars, he won an Academy Honorary Award back in 1980 which makes him the only actor to ever get an award for taking part in this particular franchise. His acting career lasted until his death in 2000 as a result of liver cancer, but you can thankfully read all about his feelings on Star Wars and life in Alec Guiness: An Authorized Biography.
2. Peter Mayhew
Peter Mayhew’s life has undergone some drastic changes since the Star Wars trilogy came to pass. Since he played the famous Wookie Chewbacca where he was virtually unrecognizable, he has been pretty busy. Let’s face it, there are very few people out there who are over 7 feet tall! Sure, he still does conventions of all sorts, mostly those which deal exclusively with Star Wars. He has played Chewbacca once again in a commercial for Cingular and Orange back in 2005 since it was in connection to Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. He has also released two books entitled: Growing Up Giant and My Favorite Giant. Most importantly though he has founded The Peter Mayhew Foundation which helps all those who are suffering from illnesses, pain and the financial toll that can be a direct result from life’s traumatic events.
1. Sebastian Shaw
There isn’t too much to say about where Sebastian Shaw went after his vital, albeit short appearance in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Having continued to act until his death in 1994, his performances remained memorable and noteworthy. However, his life’s work will be forever remembered since he has not only acted on screen but wrote screenplays, served in the Royal Air Force in World War Two and even acted in the Royal Shakespeare Company! Thankfully his death was not a painful one. He was buried in St. Paul’s Convent Garden (commonly referred to as The Actors’ Church) alongside his fellow theater patrons. While we may never know if The Force actually exists, a power that embodies all living things is a wonderful concept. Here’s to hoping that he is at peace no matter where his soul is currently residing.