Star Wars is, bar none, the greatest film franchise in the history of the silver screen. The sprawling epic, crafted by George Lucas, essentially gave birth to modern science fiction. There are thousands of books, hundreds of video games, and movie after movie set within the exciting universe. There are even online colleges that offer classes focused on Star Wars. Insane! Today we are going to look over the franchise, from A New Hope to The Force Awakens in order to see what the cast has been up to since they made each actor has made their debut in the Star Wars universe.
What better way to start off our list than by discussing the franchise hero, Luke Skywalker? Mark Hamill was cast as Luke back in the ’70s in order to anchor the Star Wars franchise. Hamill transitioned from big screen scar in order to focus on voice acting where he would go on to become one of the greatest actors to ever take up the mantel of the Joker — in Batman: The Animated Series. Now, 40 years after his debut in Star Wars Hamill has returned to the franchise, reprising his role in the Disney continuation.
Billy Dee Williams
Billy Dee Williams stole the show as Han Solo’s frenemy, Lando Calrissian. Outside of the Star Wars universe Billy Dee Williams never quite took that next step that many expected. He did manage to land the role of Harvey Dent in Tim Burton’s 1989 film Batman. Nowadays, Billy Dee is taking it easy on the convention circuit while occasionally lending his voice to animated shows.
Dennis Lawson got to play fan-favorite Wedge Antilles in the Star Wars original trilogy. Strangely enough, Lawson’s voice was actually dubbed over for some reason the first two films. Since then Lawson has been mostly working in British television, snagging credits on TV shows like New Tricks and Holby City. You could get an online college degree analyzing Wedge’s impact on the Star Wars story, though most of it happens off screen.
Ewan McGregor is inarguably the best part of the prequel trilogy as he stole the show as a young Obi-Wan Kenobi. McGregor was a big enough star before Star Wars that he managed to keep on rolling. McGregor has been nominated for a pair of Golden Globes and there are rumors that the Trainspotting star will be coming back around for an Obi-Wan solo film.
Carrie Fisher tragically passed away but not before returning to the Star Wars universe in order to reprise the role of Princess Leia. Fisher was always one of the most popular and famous of the original stars and she certainly lived a loud and loving public life. After Star Wars, Carrie would go on to play in a slew of television shows. Fisher racked up 88 credits with her final project fittingly being The Last Jedi.
Natalie Portman was a young superstar when she landed the role of Padme in Star Wars: Episode 1 and since then she’s only gotten bigger. Portman is an Oscar winning actress who has been acting since childhood. She’s part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Jane Foster in Thor and she’s also one of the smartest people in Hollywood. Trust us, Natalie Portman could land an online college degree or two from any online colleges in her sleep.
Who doesn’t love C3P0? Played to perfection by Anthony Daniels, C3P0 quickly became a fan favorite. Daniels has done a bunch of work in Hollywood but he’s most well known for his voice work in the animated Lord of the Rings film and a brief cameo in The Lego Movie. You can occasionally catch Anthony Daniels out on the convention circuit along with R2-D2 actor, Kenny Baker. We could assign an online college degree course on the importance of C3P0 — that’s how big a part of the franchise Daniels has become.
David Prowse was the physical actor inside the suit of Darth Vader, though most people need an online college degre in order to realize it! Prowse was famously dubbed out of the Star Wars films by James Earl Jones. However Prowse never quite got over it and has largely faded into the annals of movie history. Nowadays Prowse is just taking it easy, making the occasional appearance on a small project or two. Online colleges for acting likely have more than a few chapters dedicated to the peculiarity of Prowse’s career.
Emperor Palpatine belongs in the movie-villain Hall of Fame. Played to perfect by Ian McDiarmid, the character has had a lasting impact on Star Wars fans around the globe. McDiarmid reprised his role in The Phantom Menace and has otherwise been busy working on stage as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Kenny Baker scored the role of R2-D2 in the original trilogy and he got to reprise the role in the prequel series. Baker does the convention circuit but he otherwise has been relatively out of the spotlight, not appearing in a project in almost a decade. Moreover, Baker racked up 41 credits through his career thus far.
Sir Alec Guinness was the star power, no pun intended, that brought people to see the original Star Wars films. He was nominated for an Oscar thanks to his work as Obi-Wan and he would end up nominated five times throughout his career. Sadly, Alec Guinness sadly passed away on August 5, 2000 due to liver cancer at the age of 86.
James Earl Jones
His iconic booming voice has become something that legends are made of. James Earl Jones stole the show as the voice actor for Darth Vader and he set the stage for the epicness of the character. Since then Jones has appeared in 191 credits while getting nominated for an Oscar. Additionally, he stars in The Lion King as Mufasa – now that’s impressive.
What would Star Wars be without our giant Wookie friend, Chewie? Online colleges can spend entire semesters going over every species in the SW universe and Wookies will always be a favorite. Peter Mayhew will be returning for Episode VIII and IX to play Chewie once again.
Davis has starred in some of the greatest movies of all time. First as an Ewok in Star Wars, then as the titular villain in the Leprechaun series, before finally gathering a couple of roles in the famed Harry Potter franchise. Davis has had as respected a career as anyone can have. Moreover, he even had a cameo appearance in Star Wars: Rogue One as Weeteef Cyubee.
If Frank Oz completely washed Star Wars from his resume he’d still be one of the most impressive actors on this list. Oz is famous for his portrayal of Yoda, of course, but also for helping to bring The Muppets to the world. What more can we say but that he’s a legend and that is all there is to it.
Jar Jar Binks is the character that single handedly scored a thousand online college degree programs in “How Not to Write a Character.” Best played Jar Jar Binks, one of the most reviled characters in cinematic history, and he has almost become a meme for the job. Still, Best rolled with the hate and kept plying his craft. Now, Best is a working actor who has appeared in The Clone Wars as well as a variety of straight-to-DVD films.
We’re getting into territory that might still be fresh. Adam Driver plays Kylo Ren in the new Star Wars films. Driver figures to be the primary antagonist for the franchise going forward. In addition, =he’s been nominated for three Primetime Emmy’s for his work on Girls.
Cushing played one of the most important villains in Star Wars, Grand Moff Tarkin. Goes without saying but Cushing was one of the most celebrated actors in the original trilogy. Unfortunately Cushing passed away of prostate cancer but his character was revived in 3D for Rogue One.
Boyega is one of two new stars in the Cushing u franchise as the character Finn, first introduced in The Force Awakens. Furthermore, Boyega gives weight to the franchise as a reformed Storm Trooper looking to find his own life. Plus Boyega is a British superstar with several big films on the docket including Detroit and Pacific Rim: Uprising.
Poor Uncle Owen. Phil Brown played Luke’s guardian and it would go on to be his most famous role. Brown would appear in 78 different films throughout his career including the ’78 version of Superman. He would pass away at the age of 89.
Christopher Lee’s work as Count Dooku in the prequel trilogy, though excellent, arguably falls behind his work in another huge franchise: Lord of the Rings. Lee appeared in both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as well as 280 other films in his career. He passed away in 2015 at the age of 93.
Picking up where Carrie Fisher left off, Daisy Ridley is the new plucky female lead in the Star Wars. The young actress from London went from obscurity to a worldwide superstar upon scoring the role of Rey.
Darth Maul was too good of a villain to be stuck in the prequel trilogy and it’s due in large part to the work of Ray Park. Park has since appeared in Bryan Singer’s X-Men series as well as the G.I. Joe franchise as Snake Eyes.
Young Anakin Skywalker was certainly not as popular as George Lucas had hoped though not due to the fault of child actor Jake Lloyd. Still, Lloyd retired from acting early before going down a rough path — eventually getting arrested after a binge due to mental illness. He’s now in rehab.
Samuel L Jackson
Samuel L Jackson is another highlight from the prequel series as the tough Jedi, Mace Windu. Let’s also point out that Samuel L Jackson was one of the biggest actors in The Phantom Menace and his career has continued just fine. He’s now starring in the hit Disney Marvel Cinematic Universe as Nick Fury.
Domonic West, star of The Wire, actually appeared in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace for a total of two seconds with a single line! West’s career has obviously skyrocketed as he became the lead of what is widely considered the greatest show in TV history.
Admiral Ackbar received new life thanks to the internet turning his famous line, “It’s a trap!”, into a global meme. Rose is now reprising his role in the new series of Star Wars films.
Bulloch became famous almost by accident. His bit character, Boba Fett, stole the show in minimal screen time and as a result he got more and more work as the series progressed. You could get an online college degree on how a fandom evolves around bit characters like Fett. Bulloch has appeared in over 100 films in his career.
What is there to even say about Harrison Ford? He stole the show as Han solo, inspired countless people to try and get online colleges to pick up Indiana Jones style archaeology courses, and changed sci-fi forever in Blade Runner. Harrison Ford is one of the biggest action stars that Hollywood has ever seen. We’re lucky to have him.
Christensen’s portrayal of Anakin Skywalker came under fire and could honestly be a big reason his career never took off into stardom. Still, Christensen has been nominated for a Golden globe. He’s also making something of a comeback with a starring role in the critically anticipated Numb, at the Edge of the End.