Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker marks the end of the "Skywalker Saga," the series of nine movies that started all the way back with Star Wars: A New Hope back in 1977. While we almost assuredly will see more Star Wars movies in the not so distant future, this might be the last time we see many beloved characters for a while. To help celebrate the end of the "Skywalker Saga," JJ Abrams snuck in more than a few cameo appearances, bringing back old fan favorites and casting some surprising actors in new roles. Keep reading to check out some of the more prominent cameos you might have missed:
[SPOILERS FOR STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER FOLLOW]
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker brought back several high ranking members of the Rebel Alliance to assist in the Resistance's final battle against Emperor Palpatine. While Lando Calarissian (Billy Dee Williams) understandably got most of the screen time, celebrated Rebel pilot Wedge Antilles also makes an appearance during the final battle. Wedge Antilles made appearances in each of the original Star Wars films, notably surviving both Death Star battles, and was the focus of multiple video games and books.
Lawson was originally scheduled to appear in The Force Awakens, but had to drop out due to a scheduling conflict. In the expanded universe, Wedge Antilles retired after the war ended and married Snap Wexley's mother, meaning that Wedge just missed his stepson's death during Exegol.
The Rise of Skywalker director JJ Abrams actually has one of the more prominent cameos in his own movie. He voices the new droid D-O, who befriends Rey and BB-8 while on Kijimi. Unlike R2-D2 or BB-8, D-0 speaks common, albeit with a noticeable stutter. Although his voice is modified, Abrams voices the droid, giving it some of his personality that made the droid a quick fan-favorite.
Actor Warwick Davis reprises his role as Wicket during The Rise of Skywalker, looking up in the sky as a Star Destroyer blows up in the skies over the forest moon of Endor. Wicket the Ewok played a prominent role in The Return of the Jedi, rescuing Princess Leia on Endor and then assisting the Rebel Alliance against ground forces during their final assault against the Empire. Davis reprised his role as Wicket in two Ewoks movies, and made a brief appearance in The Force Awakens as a different alien character.
While not really a cameo appearance, Harrison Ford reprises his role as Han Solo in a pivotal scene in The Rise of Skywalker. While Solo died in The Force Awakens, he appears in front of his son Kylo Ren and encourages him to return to the light side, helping him make the transition from Ren back to Ben Solo. Solo notably isn't a Force ghost, but rather a fragment of Ben's memories that he had carried since Ren killed him back in The Force Awakens.
Ford's appearance in The Rise of Skywalker wasn't advertised in advance, although it seemed unlikely that Ford wouldn't make some sort of appearance in the last Skywalker Saga movie.
Among Kylo Ren's most heinous crimes was his coldblooded murder of Admiral Ackbar, the Mon Calamari leader of the Rebel Alliance fleet. Ackbar's death coincided with the death of his voice actor Erik Bauersfeld, but The Rise of Skywalker introduces Aftab Ackbar, Admiral Ackbar's son. Aftab is a CGI character voiced by Chris Terrio, the co-writer of The Rise of Skywalker. Aftab has also made several appearances in various Star Wars comics and will likely have some sort of role in the Star Wars franchise moving forward.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, the composer and star of Hamilton, made a blink and you'll miss it cameo as a Resistance fighter in The Rise of Skywalker. Miranda also contributed a song to the new Star Wars movie, writing the music heard during the festival on Paasana. Miranda previously composed two songs in The Force Awakens, and even sang (with director JJ Abrams) for one of them.
John Williams, the composer of the iconic songs heard throughout the Skywalker Saga, makes a brief appearance in The Rise of Skywalker as a bartender on Kijimi. His character's name, Oma Tres, is an anagram for Maestro and he can be seen briefly when Rey, Finn, and Poe enter a small bar searching for Babu Frik. Williams' music is one of the reasons that Star Wars is Star Wars, so it's fitting that he makes an appearance in the movie...even though his character is likely killed off-screen when the Final Order blows up Kijimi.
Both James Earl Jones and Andy Sirkis reprise their roles as Darth Vader and Supreme Leader Snoke in a brief voiceover scene at the beginning of The Rise of Skywalker. The scene occurs when Kylo Ren confronts Emperor Palpatine, and Palpatine reveals that he's been manipulating Ren from the start, briefly taking on the voices of both Vader and Snoke as he taunts Ren. Additionally, the movie reveals that Snoke was a creation of Palpatine - an artificial being made specifically to seduce Ben Solo to the dark side. While Snoke's role was fulfilled, Palpatine kept multiple copies of Snoke in his citadel at Exegol.
Perhaps the most surprising cameos in The Rise of Skywalker was when Rey rallied to defeat Emperor Palpatine, encouraged by the voices of various Jedi from the past. While Luke Skywalker and Leia were both heard encouraging Rey, several other Jedi masters are also heard from past movies and TV shows. The voice cameos include: Angelique Perrin (Adi Gallia), Freddie Prinze Jr. (Kanan Jarrus), Liam Neeson (Qui-Gon Jinn), Ewan McGregor and Alec Guinness (Obi-Wan Kenobi), Jennifer Hale (Aayla Secura), Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker), Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka Tano), Olivia D’Abo (Luminara Unduli), Samuel L. Jackson (Mace Windu) and Frank Oz (Yoda).
Prinze Jr. voiced Kanan in Star Wars: Rebels, while Eckstein, D'Abo, Hale, and Perrin all had roles in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
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