Star Wars: The Force Awakens featured cameos from fan-favourite characters like Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda and even saw the likes of Simon Pegg and Daniel Craig show up, so it should come as no surprise to learn that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story also features some pretty amazing surprise appearances.
The ones you know about – Darth Vader and Bail Organa for example – aren’t covered here; instead, we delve into the more surprising and obscure cameos you almost certainly didn’t spot while watching!
Some famous faces were hidden, while other heroes and villains from both the Star Wars prequels and original trilogy also made their presence felt. With Rogue One placed squarely between two of the franchise’s most important instalments, that was to be expected, so click through for the ten biggest!
10. Michael Smiley As Cornelius Evazan
If you’re a fan of A New Hope, chances are you instantly recognised Cornelius Evazan and Ponda Baba after Jyn bumped into them on Jedha. However, if like me you assumed it was just some random extra beneath all of those prosthetics, then think again! Following the release of Rogue One, British actor Michael Smiley took to social media to reveal that he was the only who played the former plastic surgeon that ultimately gets on the wrong side of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Better known in the UK than overseas, Smiley has appeared in TV shows like Luther and Black Mirror and is a regular collaborator of Ben Wheatley’s after showing up in the likes of Kill List, A Field in England, and Free Fire. Who was beneath Baba’s make-up remains to be seen, but for fans of Smiley, this is pretty cool.
9. Star Wars Episode VIII Director Rian Johnson
Rogue One was shooting around the same time that Rian Johnson started work on Star Wars Episode VIII, so the fact that the filmmaker ended up making a cameo appearance in this movie probably shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Alongside producer Ram Bergman, the Looper helmer plays one of the Death Star operators as they shield their faces from the blast which lays waste to Jedha.
To repay the favour, Johnson gave Gareth Edwards a role in Episode VIII, but what that will be obviously remains to be seen for the time being as everything about that movie is understandably a closely guarded secret. Interestingly, Han Solo helmers Phil Lord and Chris Miller were also meant to show up (on Jedah), but unfortunately had to miss the shoot for personal reasons.
8. General Dodonna
The scenes set on Yavin IV are all very interesting, mostly because so many familiar faces return. You already know that Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) and Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) are part of the action after appearing in the Star Wars prequels, but joining them is A New Hope‘s General Jan Dodonna. He’s the Rebel leader who briefed the pilots on how best to attack the Death Star and later presented Luke and Han with those medals following its destruction.
After being played by Alex McCrindle in that movie, he’s replaced here by Game of Thrones star Ian McElhinney. What’s interesting about this is that Disney and Lucasfilm decided to bring a lot of other characters from A New Hope back with CGI, but chose to recast this role. Is it possible he’ll show up elsewhere?
7. Star Wars Rebels
While it hasn’t been confirmed, a ship can be seen in the final space battle above Scarif which bears a striking resemblance to The Ghost, a craft piloted by the fan-favourite heroes in Disney XD’s Star Wars Rebels. Whatever’s left of the team at this point could easily have become involved here, though that’s something we’re unlikely to see addressed on the small screen until the series wraps up a few years from now.
The show’s droid Chopper can also be seen on Yavin IV in a blink and you’ll miss it cameo, while a call for “General Syndulla” is made there which just has to be a reference to The Ghost’s pilot Hela. She’s clearly moved up in the ranks since the events of Star Wars Rebels, though it’s worth noting that this could have actually been a reference to her father instead.
6. Jordan Stephens
One of the strangest cameos in Rogue One comes when Rizzle Kicks singer Jordan Stephens appears as a Rebel soldier who helps Bodhi open up a ling to the ships outside of Scarif’s shield gate. Whether he’s trying to get his big break as an actor or simply just a fan of the franchise and a friend of Gareth Edwards isn’t clear, but Rizzle Kicks fans were probably happy to see him!
Once again, fans outside of the UK probably won’t know this guy, but his cameo emphasises the British roots of both Edwards and the production. Perhaps we’ll find out the reason on a Director’s Commentary for Rogue One, but this was an interesting cameo despite not being one which is going to get everyone talking in the same way that Daniel Craig’s appearance in The Force Awakens did last year!
5. Captain Antilles
He’s probably no one’s favourite character, but Reymus Antilles has still become a very memorable part of the Star Wars franchise. That’s because the captain is the first of Darth Vader’s victims in A New Hope when the Sith Lord makes his presence felt aboard the Tantive IV, the ship which Princess Leia escapes on with the Death Star plans at the end of Rogue One. After making a cameo appearance in Revenge of the Sith, he returns here when Bail Organa is leaving Yavin IV and calls for him.
It’s also thought that he makes a brief appearance at the very end of the movie when the Rebels escape from Darth Vader with those plans, but the fact that he even gets a mention is very cool and another fun way that Rogue One ties into A New Hope. Still, he should have known you can’t escape from Vader!
4. Lots Of Well Known Voices
Following the release of The Force Awakens, we learned that a long list of actors had lent their voices to the movie. Some were faces we all know, while others were best known for their work in the animated realm. As a result, you probably won’t be too shocked to learn that this was also the case for Rogue One.
Rather than casting a bunch of unknowns to voice the various Rebels and Stormtroopers who needed to be heard throughout the movie, Disney and Lucasfilm turned to the likes of executive producer Dave Filoni, Steve Blum (Zeb), Vanessa Marshall (Hera), James Arnold Taylor (Obi-Wan Kenobi), Sam Witwer (Darth Maul), and Tom Kane (Yoda). Michael Giacchino also lent his voice to the movie, as did both John and Tony Gilroy! That’s a pretty incredible list of talent for some simple ADR work.
3. Warwick Davis
Warwick Davis first appeared in Return of the Jedi as a youngster when he played the fan-favourite Ewok known as Wicket. He’s remained closely associated with the Star Wars franchise ever since, showing up in TV movies, The Phantom Menace, and even The Force Awakens last year. Gareth Edwards decided to bring him back for Rogue One by casting the actor as Weeteef Cyubee, one of the aliens who make up the rebellious crew led by the deranged Saw Gerrera.
Despite never speaking, he shows up a couple of times as part of the group attacking Stormtrooper’s in Jedha and then back at Saw’s base before it’s destroyed by the Death Star. Davis will next be seen in Episode VIII, though who he’s playing remains a mystery. Based on past experience though, he’ll be easy enough to find.
2. Dermot Mulroney
He may not appear on screen, but Dermot Mulroney (who you’ll know from the likes of Friends, Shameless, and Pure Genius) still makes his presence felt in Rogue One. Believe it or not, the actor actually plays the cello on the movie’s soundtrack due to a long running friendship with composer Michael Giacchino. They met back in 2005, and a conversation between the two led to the discovery that Mulroney was skilled enough to take part in a movie scoring session.
After working on the third Mission: Impossible movie, the two have collaborated ever since, including on the likes of Star Trek and Jurassic World. The actor returning for Rogue One was a no brainer then, and Giacchino has joked that, “This sounds weird, but he’s a great mascot!” So, be sure to listen out for him on the soundtrack!
1. R2-D2 And C-3PO
R2-D2 and C-3PO showing up in every Star Wars movie has become a tradition (something Lucasfilm may live to regret as they launch more and more spinoffs over the next few years), but most of us still probably didn’t expect them to turn up in Rogue One. We see them here on Yavin IV as Threepio complains, “Now they’re going to Scarif? Why does no one tell me anything?”
It’s a fun moment (though arguably a little forced), but it can at least be justified by the fact that Bail Organa is on the moon at the time. A few other familiar droids appear throughout the movie as well, including the Mouse droid, an RA-7 protocol droid, and various astromechs from the franchise’s history. When the Blu-ray hits and we get a better look at the base, expect even more of them to be uncovered!
Which of these Rogue One: A Star Wars Story cameos was your favourite? Have we missed any other good ones? As always, be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments section.