Stars You Forgot Were in Star Wars

From a young Keira Knightley to Daniel Craig and Cliff from Cheers, here are some of the unexpected names in Star Wars.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
2 min read
Simon Pegg

Simon Pegg fulfilled a lifelong nerd dream when he stepped into a creature costume for Episode VII: The Force Awakens.


Star Wars exploded onto the scene 40 years ago, and immediately made household names of Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford. Since then, a galaxy of stars have appeared in the saga, including Natalie Portman, Samuel L Jackson and Daniel Craig.

Hang on ... Daniel Craig? Yes, the James Bond star snuck into The Force Awakens for a cheeky cameo hidden under a Stormtrooper's helmet. And he's not the only well-known name to have had a small role in the Star Wars movies.

Whether they're celebrity cameos, early appearances from today's stars or production wizards having a moment in the spotlight, here's our rundown of the well-known names you might not have spotted in the Star Wars movies.

Established actors have joined Daniel Craig in playing cameo roles, like Simon Pegg fulfilling his lifelong fanboy's dream to be involved in a Star Wars movie. Then there are the stars of today who weren't so well known when they stepped into the Star Wars universe: Keira Knightley, Treat Williams and Rose Byrne are among the performers who had early Star Wars roles.

All the people you never knew were in Star Wars

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We've also included some faces you recognize but whose names you may not know -- like John Ratzenberger, better known as Cliff from Cheers. Speaking of familiar TV faces, various Game of Thrones actors have appeared in the more recent movies. And the Imperial military forces are staffed almost exclusively by British TV actors like Julian Glover, Michael Sheard and Brian Blessed, familiar to UK viewers from Doctor Who and many other telly classics.

Then there are the faces you won't recognize at all, but who've nonetheless had a huge impact on the saga. Many of the filmmakers who created movie magic in special effects, sound and other behind-the-scenes departments donned Rebel or Imperial uniforms and stepped in front of the camera.

Fans will know about the important contributions to the look and feel of the Star Wars universe made by the likes of Ralph McQuarrie, Ben Burtt and John Knoll, and it turns out if you look closely you can spot them actually in the films too.

Star Wars lives: Join us in celebrating the many ways the Force-filled sci-fi saga has impacted our lives.