Did you know that McNulty from The Wire was once in a Star Wars movie? What about Thorin from The Hobbit? And Moira MacTaggert from the X-Men films?
Yep, the Star Wars movies are awash with appearances from A-lists thesps who either later became mega-famous or simply wanted to appear in the biggest and best sci-fi franchise ever, no matter how small the role. So here are some of the stars you never realised journeyed to that galaxy far, far away...
Before Bend It Like Beckham catapulted Keira Knightley to superstardom, the actress, then only 13, had a minor role in The Phantom Menace. She plays Padme Amidala’s decoy Sabe, and although her appearances are peppered throughout the film, we’re meant to think it’s Natalie Portman we’re looking at.
Four years before he nabbed the role of Detective Jimmy McNulty in The Wire, Eton-educated Dominic West was cast as a Naboo Palace Guard in The Phantom Menace. He filmed for one day and only had one line, but he didn’t seem to mind. “The objective of the thing was to meet George Lucas,” he admitted recently, “so it all worked out okay.”
Nowadays he’s better known as pin-up dwarf Thorin from The Hobbit trilogy, but in 1998, Richard Armitage was just a jobbing actor at the beginning of his career, hence his non-speaking turn as as a fighter pilot in The Phantom Menace. In fact, his appearance is so fleeting, you can barely even call it a ‘part’.
When Episode II: Attack of the Clones moved production of Star Wars Down Under, George Lucas was suddenly on the lookout for Australian actors to populate his movie universe. Sydney-born Rose Byrne is now best known as the star of such movies as Bridesmaids and Bad Neighbours, but back in 2002, the then 22-year-old’s Star Wars role was simply a handmaiden to Natalie Portman’s Queen Amidala.
Now better known as the star of such box office-busting fare as Zero Dark Thirty, Black Mass and The Great Gatspy, actor Joel Edgerton was another one of the Aussie thesps hired for Episodes II and III. He can be spotted in both Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith as the young Ben Lars, Anakin Skywalker’s step-brother and, later on, uncle to Luke.
Be careful not to blink while watching The Force Awakens, because if you do you might well miss this teeny turn from Love Actually actor Thomas Brodie-Sangster. “We have an unsanctioned departure from Bay 2,” is his only line before he’s blown to bits by Finn.
Think that E.T: the Extra Terrestrial only ever featured in one movie? WRONG! Look closely at the background of one of the Senate scenes in The Phantom Menace and you’ll see three of them! Okay, we can’t be sure if it’s the E.T., the one who wanted to phone home, but it’s definitely three members of his race, suggesting that the Star Wars movies take place in the same fictional universe as Steven Spielberg’s 1982 classic.
It was kinda inevitable that JJ Abrams would find a role somewhere in The Force Awakens for his old mate and uber Star Wars nut Simon Pegg. You won’t spot his face though, as he’s hidden under layers of padding and latex (not to mention a smidgen of CGI) as Unkar Plutt, Jakku scrapyard dealer and temporary Millennium Falcon owner.
007 in a Star Wars film? Yes, even stars of Daniel Craig’s gleaming wattage were so hungry to be in a Star Wars film, they were happy to do it incognito. Remember the scene in The Force Awakens when Rey uses the Force on a weak-minded Stormtrooper? That was Bond, James Bond…
Who have we missed off our list? Tweet us your favourite A-list Star Wars cameos @Cineworld. And don't forget to click here and book your tickets for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, opening on 15th December.