Christina Chong has made an impression on Star Trek fans by playing security officer La'an Noonien-Singh, a descendant of Khan Noonien-Singh, in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. But before joining the Star Trek universe, Chong had a role in Star Wars that ultimately ended up on the cutting room floor. Lucasfilm cast Chong in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Like practically everything else about that movie ahead of production, the studio kept Chong's role a secret. Since her scene didn't make it into the film's final cut, fans never got to learn what her role was supposed to be. ComicBook.com had the chance to speak to Chong about Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. While discussing these massive sci-fi franchises Chong keeps ending up in (she also played Lorna Bucket in Doctor Who), we asked about that mystery role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
"I was on set the first day of the shoot in Abu Dhabi in the middle of the desert," Chong says. "I remember I had this whole purple headdress thing on and all this special makeup, so I was some kind of race of something. They were like, 'Look, it's only a small role, but it'll be filming in Abu Dhabi and it'll be great.'"
She shared a scene with Daisy Ridley as Rey when she was still an orphan scavenger on Jakku. Chong's character had a child, and her presence emphasized Rey's sense of abandonment.
"My scene was with Daisy Ridley, and it was at the beginning, the very first day of the shoot," Chong remembers. "They had to drive us. I remember just seeing the dot in the middle of the desert, and that was where the set was and then arriving and it being so huge. J.J. Abrams, there were three units on that section of the desert and he was driving to each unit via golf buggy, setting it up and then going to the next, and I guess he probably had to monitor with him on the buggy, I don't know. But the scale of that, that was my first time with such a huge set like that. My scene involved explosions and crying, and I had a son. I can't remember exactly what the scene was about, but basically, Rey is alone, and I'm leaving with my son on this ship and she's there on her own in the desert."
Though she didn't appear in the finished version of the film, Chong says the experience of working on Star Wars was still worthwhile. "I saw all the stormtroopers and they were rehearsing their movement and stuff. It was incredible," she says. "That was an amazing experience in Abu Dhabi. So random. And then we actually had to re-shoot because, I can't remember, something went wrong and they had to re-shoot it, but they re-shot it at Pinewood in London with a green screen. So I essentially got paid twice to do that job and ended up on the cutting room floor, which is amazing."
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is streaming now on Disney+. Chong stars in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, with new episodes streaming weekly on Thursdays on Paramount+. Keep an eye out for our full interview with Chong on ComicBook.com.