August 16, 2017

Your Guide to Star Wars: The Force Awakens Cameos

  • by Dr. Dave Verhaagen
  • December 21, 2015
  • 0

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a great and classic movie-going experience that, like the originals, is worth seeing again and again. Upon repeat viewing, you’ll have even more fun if you know where to look for (or listen for) the celebrity cameos. There are the mildest of spoilers below, but nothing that should sour your first viewing experience. Here’s a list of 21 cameos to get you started:

Daniel Craig (aka James Bond) – the Stormtrooper in the Jedi Mind Tricks scene.

Simon Pegg (Mission Impossible) – Unkar Plutt, the Jakku junk trader.

Max Von Sydow (Ming the Merciless in Flash Gordon; oh, and a two-time Oscar nominee!) – Lor San Tekka, the old man in the very first sequence.

Dame Harriet Walter (aka Downton Abbey’s Dowager Lady Shackleton) – the doctor who tends to Chewbacca.

Bill Hader (SNL alum) and Ben Schwartz (Parks & Rec)– they made the sounds of BB-8’s chirps and bleeps.

Thomas Brodie-Sanger (The Maze Runner, Game of Thrones) – a First Order officer.

Jessica Henwick (Game of Thrones) – a Resistance pilot named Jess Testor under Poe Dameron’s command.

Warwick Davis (Star Wars alum) – the Ewok returns as a tiny little creature with a short pink snout and puckered eyes in Maz Kanata’s cantina.

Kevin Smith (director, writer, fanboy) – provided additional voices for the film.

Greg Grunberg & Ken Leung (Lost) – proving J.J. Abrams is a loyal man, these two Lost alum showed up as Resistance leaders.

Yayan Ruhian, Iko Uwais, & Cecep A. Rahman (The Raid, The Raid 2) – the Asian gang who want to collect their debt from Han and Chewie. The first two also served as fight coordinators.

Billie Lourd (Carrie Fisher’s actress daughter) and Gerry Abrams (J.J. Abrams’ Emmy-nominated producer dad) – family members played members of the resistance. She played Lt. Connix, an officer in the new rebel army and he played Count Cypress.

Michael Giacchino (composer, Lost, Jurassic World, etc.), Nigel Godrich (Radiohead producer), Gustavo Dudamel (L.A. Philharmonic music director), & Lin-Manuel Miranda (composer and star of Hamilton) – a quartet of musical geniuses added to the film. Giacchino, a favorite of Abrams, was a stormtrooper named FN-3181 and Godrich was another stormtrooper named FN-9330. Dudamel guest-conducted portions of John Williams’ score and Miranda provided the cantina ditties.

There’s a little bit of psychology behind why we like film cameos. First, it makes us feel like we have an inside track when we spot a famous person in a cameo role. We become part of the select group who knows stuff other people don’t know. It’s a way of being psychologically joined with the film. A second reason is that the cameos make us feel like we are part of a larger community that is enjoying the film together. An A-list actor like Daniel Craig or an Oscar-nominee like Max Von Sydow being willing to be in a bit part makes us feel like we are all on the same level as fans. It’s a signal that the movie is a big deal. A third reason is that cameos add to the replay value of the movie. You may have missed Warwick Davis the first time, but you won’t the second time. It helps us enjoy it upon repeat viewing just a little bit more.

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Dr. Dave Verhaagen

Dave Verhaagen is an author, psychologist, Comic-Con panelist, bad magician, and general nuisance. He's also a contributor to the Shrink Tank podcast.

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