We’ve already known for some time that Disney would be releasing Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens on December 18, 2015. In addition to this excellent news, we’ve also learned a little bit about the old faces returning for the next installment as well as the new faces that will be joining the timeless and popular franchise for the first time. While this news has all been good and seems to have dodged the collective ire of the Internet (save for some pretty brutal comments towards a lightsaber with a cross-guard), fans were given even more good news within the last week: Star Wars: Episode VIII will be hitting theaters on May 26, 2017. We’ve also learned that the first Star Wars stand-alone film, Rogue One, will be arriving in theaters on December 16, 2016. Fans won’t have to wait much more than a year to get another Star Wars fix thanks to these stand-alone films. Judging by the title, we could very well be getting a film that’s more centered on the X-Wing pilots rather than following the story of yet another individual who is sensitive in The Force.
To celebrate the good news, let’s take a look at the stars that have been a part of the growing film franchise over the decades and how they stack up against each other in the world of money.
13. Carrie Fisher
Played: Princess Leia
Net Worth: $2.5 Million
Princess Leia will always be remembered as the first woman that any nerd ever had a crush on. This can largely be attributed to the infamous bikini she wore in Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. In addition to being a part of the first trilogy that released in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Carrie Fisher will also have a role in the new Star Wars films from director J.J. Abrams. How big this role will be has yet to be revealed, but it has been said that Han Solo will have quite a large role in the new films. Now, we know that the Expanded Universe is no longer canon, but Solo and Leia getting married and having kids was such a big part of all the supplemental Star Wars material that it would be insanity to not have the two characters together for the sequel trilogy.
12. Warwick Davis
Played: Wickett and others
Net Worth: $5 Million
When casually discussing Star Wars, a lot of people mistakenly say that Warwick Davis played just about every character of short stature in the Star Wars films. More often than not, Davis is often given credit for R2-D2 when in fact that role belonged to Kenny Baker.
While Davis did not play R2, he is responsible for a number of characters in the Star Wars Saga. His first role was that of the Ewok named Wickett. This character not only appeared in the Star Wars films, but in the two Ewok made-for-television movies as well. Mr. Davis also played a number of characters in Episode I, and he plays a yet to be determined role(s) in the upcoming sequel trilogy.
11. Mark Hamill
Played: Luke Skywalker
Net Worth: $6 Million
Mark Hamill didn’t do much work where we’d see his face after he finished up playing Luke Skywalker, one of the last known Jedi in the galaxy, in the original Star Wars Trilogy that consisted of Episodes IV – VI. After Star Wars, Hamill went on to do a lot of voice work in animated shows. Hamill’s most notable voice role is that of The Joker for almost any animated incarnation of the infamous comic book villain.
Hamill will be revisiting the role of Luke Skywalker in the upcoming Episode VII. In addition to reprising this role, Hamill will also be playing The Trickster once again on CW’s The Flash.
10. Billy Dee Williams
Played: Lando Calrissian
Net Worth: $7.5 Million
Lando Calrissian. One of the coolest and smoothest characters in the entire galaxy. When we first meet the character we find out he’s great friends with Han Solo and was the one-time owner of the Millennium Falcon before Han sat in the cockpit. This guy is awesome! Shortly after, we discover Lando sold the heroes out to the Empire. What a jerk! Then we discover Lando had a plan set up the whole time. He takes part in an intricate rescue by the next film, and then tops it all off by destroying the second Death Star in Episode VI. By this point, everyone loved the character!
That’s why it’s such a shame that Williams wasn’t announced with the returning cast members for Episode VII.
9. Hayden Christensen
Played: Anakin Skywalker
Net Worth: $17 Million
Poor Hayden Christensen. Many fans of the Star Wars series hold the actor almost solely responsible for many of the problems they had with the prequel trilogy. The actor took a whole lot more flack when his image was digitally inserted into the ending of Return of the Jedi over the original image of David Prowse.
The disappointing thing about Christensen being highly disliked in the role of Anakin Skywalker (the man who would become Darth Vader) is that he isn’t a bad actor. One major complaint both fans and critics seem to have in regards to the prequel trilogy is that the three movies are filled with great actors that aren’t showing off their skill. Christensen didn’t shine in the role until the very last seconds of the character’s life, just before he’d be grafted to machines and turned into Darth Vader.
8. Christopher Lee
Played: Count Dooku/Darth Tyranus
Net Worth: $25 Million
Since George Lucas no longer has creative control over the Star Wars franchise, we probably won’t see any more “special edition” treatments done on any of the films anymore. This is largely a good thing, but there is one reason this is most unfortunate: we can’t have any additional Count Dooku scenes added.
Christopher Lee was such a great choice for a Sith Lord that it’s a shame we just didn’t get to see very much of it. One of the reasons the original Star Wars Trilogy was so good is the fact that it had such a great villain for the heroes to go up against. A major problem with the prequel trilogy is they killed all these villains off without ever really building them up. The characters of Darth Tyranus, Darth Maul, and General Grievous all suffered from this situation.
7. Andy Serkis
Played: Unconfirmed (Episode VII)
Net Worth: $28 Million
We’re not entirely sure who Serkis will be playing in the future Star Wars films, but outside the returning members of the original cast, Andy Serkis is one of the biggest names attached to the project.
What we know for certain is that Andy Serkis is the voice of the narrator in the trailer that dropped for Episode VII not too long ago. There have also been a number of rumors spreading around that Serkis will be playing multiple characters using the motion capture technique that Serkis is renowned for. Serkis himself claims that he will only be playing one character in the new trilogy, and that character has “been through some stuff.”
Even if Serkis is only playing one character, it’s a safe bet that the character in question will probably not be human, and brought to life through motion capture.
6. Ewan McGregor
Played: Obi-Wan Kenobi
Net Worth: $35 Million
It’s quite possible that outside of Mace Windu and Darth Maul, Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of the few casting choices (and possibly even characters) that haters of the prequel trilogy aren’t constantly degrading. Ewan McGregor really worked as Obi-Wan. It isn’t hard to believe that he was a younger version of the same character.
With the new trilogy just around the corner (less than a year away!) many rumors have popped up concerning McGregor. Initially, it was going around that McGregor would play a “Force ghost” version of Obi-Wan since Alec Guinness is no longer with us to play the part. McGregor was not listed as a returning cast member, but other rumors suggest he could be back in a stand-alone film centered on Kenobi’s time in hiding between Episodes III and IV.
5. James Earl Jones
Played: Darth Vader (voice)
Net Worth: $45 Million
James Earl Jones is best known for performing the voice of Darth Vader, while David Prowse was the one known for donning the suit. In those days, Jones was well known for having one of the deepest and most velvet-y voices in Hollywood. For whatever reason, Jones just did the voice acting, while other actors put on the suit. Jones even returned to do just a couple of (bad) lines for Episode III while Hayden Christensen wore the suit.
Additionally, Jones has been providing the voice for Vader on the animated Rebels series. This makes Jones one of very few actors or actresses from the Star Wars saga that has voiced their character in an ongoing animated series.
4. Natalie Portman
Played: Padme Amidala
Net Worth: $54 Million
Much like Christensen, Portman is a wonderful actress who just didn’t seem to work to her full potential when it came to her time involved with the Star Wars prequel trilogy. You can’t really blame her. There wasn’t much for her to work with in the scripts.
Fortunately, Portman is one of a handful of actors and actresses that has seen some major fame after being a part of the Star Wars franchise. Most of the original cast, save for Harrison Ford, never came close to being an A-lister. Luckily for Portman, she was already a well-known and respected actress before joining the franchise. It will be interesting to see if this “Star Wars Curse” carries over into the sequel trilogy.
3. Liam Neeson
Played: Qui-Gon Jin
Net Worth: $75 Million
Liam Neeson was in Star Wars!?
Yep. Blink and you’ll miss him.
Well that’s quite a bit of an exaggeration, but the character of Qui-Gon Jin, Obi-Wan’s former Jedi Master, was only in the first episode before being killed off by Darth Maul. Much like Darth Maul, Qui-Gon showed a lot of promise as a great character but now we’ll never really know. Not to mention the fact that an actor like Neeson being in one or two more films could have been a good thing for the prequel trilogy.
Who knows? Maybe the character will show up in the rumored Obi-Wan Kenobi film?
2. Samuel L. Jackson
Played: Mace Windu
Net Worth: $170 Million
Samuel L. Jackson really seemed to revel in his role as Mace Windu. In fact, his love for the role and making it his own inspired a major part of Star Wars lore – lightsaber colors.
Lucas had originally wanted to keep with traditional red, green, and blue colors. Red lightsabers are usually used by the Siths, whereas green and blue sabers are typically used by the Jedi. In a climactic battle towards the end of Attack of the Clones, hundreds of Jedi take up arms with green and blue sabers. Jackson wanted to be able to see himself in the fray, so he requested that Lucas give him a purple saber. Lucas said he’d like to stick with tradition, but Jackson convinced Lucas that it would be a symbol of how powerful a Jedi Windu actually is. “The second baddest Jedi after Yoda” as Jackson puts it. Lucas went along with it and the concept of color variants on lightsabers was no longer a piece of lore that was relegated to books and video games.
1. Harrison Ford
Played: Han Solo
Net Worth: $210 Million
It was pretty obvious that Harrison Ford would top the list. He’s just been a prominent A-list actor for much longer than the rest of the cast, not to mention the fact that very few people have come out of the Star Wars films with a high degree of success. In fact, it would be fair to say that Ford is the only actor or actress to become an A-lister after Star Wars. The only reason talents like Portman, Neeson, Jackson, and McGregor were able to be on top is due to the fact that they already were A-list actors and actresses to begin with.
It has been rumored that Han Solo will be playing a major role in the sequel trilogies and won’t just be back to wink at the cameras and pass the torch. Ford even suffered an injury on-set that put a brief halt on filming.
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