Now that Disney has acquired Lucasfilm and a new live-action Star Wars movie is going to hit the big screen every year for the foreseeable future, the opportunities for the franchise are nearly endless. In just a few short months, the first non-episodic Star Wars installment, Rogue One, will hit theaters and fans will be presented with an almost entirely new cast of characters. They won’t all be brand new faces (and voices), though. James Earl Jones is reprising his role as Darth Vader, Genevieve O’Reilly is playing Mon Mothma, a character she played in the prequels before getting cut from the final film, and there’s even rumors that Jimmy Smits will be returning as Princess Leia’s adoptive father, Bail Organa.
Not all Star Wars characters can be played by the same actor forever. The prequels can attest to this fact, but more recently, the long search for Alden Ehrenreich as the young Han Solo in the Han Solo spin-off movie raised the hackles of many fans who thought the Corellian smuggler could never be played by anyone other than Harrison Ford. Now rumors say the hunt is on for a young Lando Calrissian, and it’s becoming clear that the recasting of beloved Star Wars characters is a trend that will likely continue for as long as Lucasfilm keeps making new movies.
Fortunately, not all roles have to be recast. The Force Awakens and the rest of the sequel trilogy is set during a time that allowed Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill (barely), and other members of the original trilogy cast to come back to their old characters, but they’re not the only ones that can reprise their roles. Outside of those that have already made their return, here are 15 Star Wars Characters That Don’t Need to be Recast.
15. Mace Windu
In A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi tells a young Luke Skywalker about the legendary Jedi Order, and how they served as guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic before the dark times and the Empire. This order is fully realized in the prequels, and brought to life by characters like Samuel L. Jackson’s Mace Windu.
Windu doesn’t seem to get along well with Anakin, and his distrust is arguably a contributing factor in Anakin feeling pushed away from the Jedi toward Chancellor Palpatine, a Sith Lord in disguise.
While Mace Windu seemingly paid the ultimate sacrifice at the end of Revenge of the Sith, Jackson has a personal theory that Windu survived his defeat at the hands of Anakin and Sidious, and he claims George Lucas agrees with him.
Mace Windu is definitely one of the more rugged Jedi from the prequels, so what better way to bring him back than as a one armed fallen Jedi (get it?) on a quest to get revenge on Darth Vader – marking what could be one epic and personal confrontation.
Sure, Yoda is either a puppet or CGI, depending on which movie you watch, but the voice of Frank Oz is a fixture of the Star Wars saga, and Lucasfilm would be hard-pressed to find a fan that doesn’t want to see Yoda pop up again on the big screen.
Repeated rumors of a Yoda origins story and/or a Star Wars style Seven Samurai remake with Jedi would provide ample opportunity to bring him to life again, and with 900 years of history, there’s a lot that can be done with the character. He’s even getting his own issue of the Star Wars comic soon!
Even if he doesn’t show up in his own movie or as a side character in a Jedi ensemble film, Luke saw him appear alongside Anakin and Obi-Wan at the end of Return of the Jedi, so we imagine his Force ghost is bound to pop up in the sequel trilogy eventually.
It may have been Dee Bradley Baker that truly brought Captain Rex, Fives, Echo, Commander Cody, and the rest of the clone army to life in The Clone Wars animated series, but the clones were all originally modeled after one man – Jango Fett. I mean Temuera Morrison. The clones did get plenty of screen time between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, but since those movies had so much of Anakin Skywalker’s journey to cover, the clones didn’t get much of a spotlight. (A spotlight many episodes of The Clone Wars proved was well deserved.)
There’s a lot of places a clone centric live-action movie could go. Set during the events of The Clone Wars, the story could feature a previously untold battle, or cover any of the unused stories from the cancelled seasons of The Clone Wars, but it could also tell the story of an aging clone trying to prove his relevance in the age of the Empire when the clone ranks have been largely replaced by stormtrooper conscripts. With clone captains Rex, Wolffe, and Gregor all appearing on The Clone Wars, there’s even a possibility of seeing those characters portrayed by Morrison in a surprise appearance in Rogue One, or any other film set in that era. In fact, the Journey to The Force Awakens book “The Crimson Corsair and the Lost Treasure of Count Dooku” tells the story of Sidon Ithano, AKA The Crimson Corsair, and his band of pirates — the same gang of ruffians Finn almost joined at Maz Kanata’s palace — as they recover a Clone Wars-era ship containing a living clone, Kix, who had been frozen in stasis for half a century, meaning it’s not implausible for a Tamuera Morrison portrayed clone to show up in the sequel trilogy.
This one is a little bit different, because Chewbacca was actually already partially recast for The Force Awakens. While the longtime Chewbacca Actor, Peter Mayhew, still donned the Wookiee fur for many scenes, the actor is now in his 70s and his knees aren’t what they once were, so they had Finnish basketball player and aspiring actor Joonas Suotamo take over for the more intense scenes.
While it sounds like Mayhew and likely Suotamo will be tag teaming again for Episode VIII, there hasn’t been any word on how the role will be handled for the character’s appearance in the Han Solo anthology film. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that the duo will take turns playing Wookiee once again, but Mayhew isn’t getting any younger, and the role is will likely be there for Suotamo for as long as he wants it.
So, be it the Han Solo movie, Episode VIII, or any other Star Wars story featuring everyone’s favorite walking carpet, Chewbacca will have a lot of opportunites to be on screen, and it doesn’t have to be a complete newcomer wearing the suit.
11. Lando Calrissian
The search may be underway for a more youthful dashing cape wearing former owner of the Millenium Falcon, but Billy Dee Williams is primed to play a more aged Lando in any upcoming Star Wars films. Williams has yet to be confirmed for an official appearance, but a possible appearance in Episode VIII has been rumored for a while now, and he also lent his voice to Star Wars Rebels in both season 1 and 2 with a handful of other Star Wars related credits to his name in the past few years.
Like Peter Mayhew, Billy Dee Williams isn’t as mobile as he once was, but Lando would also be fairly long in the tooth by the events of the sequel trilogy, so it isn’t as if the role presents any huge physical demands. Sure, Harrison Ford was running around and literally breaking his leg on the set of Episode VIII, but not all actors of that age are made of the same stuff as Harrison Ford.
10. Wilhuff Tarkin
Peter Cushing may no longer be alive to reprise his role as Grand Moff Tarkin, but Tarkin is another character that has already been recast for a brief appearance in Revenge of the Sith, played by Wayne Pygram. While Pygram hardly had any screen time and didn’t speak a single line of dialogue, he definitely looks the part and has a voice that could easily resemble Cushing’s as well.
Rumors of a motion capture CGI Peter Cushing being created for Tarkin in Rogue One suggest there’s definitely interest in the character, although the ability to digitally replicate an actor to that degree, while it’s been done in smaller doses in the past, would truly negate the need to ever recast an actor again. It also raises some interesting questions. Cushing may not be around to challenge the use of his image, but this technology would give moviemakers the ability to portray any actor at any age without them ever having to set foot on set.
9. Mas Amedda
His on-screen role in the prequels may have been limited, but Mas Amedda’s role in the Galactic Empire was for more significant. Serving as one of Sheev Palpatine’s most trusted advisors, Amedda held one of the highest offices in all of the Galactic Empire even into its final days, meaning he could realistically show up in almost any movie that takes place during the three established eras.
Under all the makeup and prosthetics that make up the big blue Chagrian were two different actors. The character was played by Jerome Blake in The Phantom Menace, but David Bowers took over for both Attack of the Clone and Revenge of the Sith (although Blake did portray the character again for reshoots).
While the actor portraying the character might not be the most iconic thing people remember in this case, Mas Amedda definitely still has a place in the Star Wars universe, and could even realistically show up in Rogue One if any scenes bring us anywhere near the Imperial bureaucracy.
8. Jar Jar Binks
Some people may already have torches and pitchforks for this suggestion existing, but Jar Jar Binks could still have a massive role to play in Star Wars lore, and the excitement surrounding the Darth Jar Jar theory proves that. It’s extremely doubtful the clumsy Gungan is a Sith Lord, but he did live to see his actions innocently contribute to the end of the Jedi, the death of his friend, Padme Amidala, and the downfall of the Republic.
Was Jar Jar involved in the early days of the Rebellion? It’s not likely that he would take a role in the Empire, and he’s not anywhere to be seen during the original trilogy. It’s possible he died trying to rectify his actions, or maybe he was with Bail Organa on Aldaraan when it was destroyed.
While most people would claim they never want to see Jar Jar Binks on screen again, the desire to see Darth Jar Jar shows that fans are enticed by the idea of his story being wrapped up in a compelling way. Obviously bringing him back as an unchanged loudmouthed blundering idiot might trigger some fans still holding on to their prequel hatred, but Ahmed Best – while he claims he doesn’t want to return to the franchise – has already shown he’s capable of portraying the character with a little more nuance, so there’s definitely room to see him back so long as it’s a fairly minor role.
7. Padme Amidala
The Star Wars prequels may have mainly focused on the story of Anakin and Padme, ending with her death, but there’s still a lot of story to be told for the former queen of Naboo. When Star Wars is branching out into spin-off movies and different genres, there’s a good argument to be made that Natalie Portman should return to the franchise for a story focused on her as a female politician.
Many fans might flinch when they hear anything about Star Wars politics, but as The Clone Wars adequately showed, politics in the Star Wars universe are especially compelling when the story is able to make them a primary focus. If Lucasfilm is trying to put out more female-led Star Wars movies, it seems like an appropriate time to tell the story about one of the greatest female politicians in the Star Wars story so far (one with tremendous potential, considering Portman’s otherworldly talent). Even if she isn’t the sole focus of the movie, any movie set during the prequel era could realistically see her show up, which is an opportunity Lucasfilm shouldn’t pass up.
6. Sheev Palpatine
Speaking of politicians, Palpatine could always make an appearance in a Star Wars movie set during the prequels or the original trilogy. While many of the original actors have aged enough that it would be difficult for them to reprise their younger selves, Ian McDiarmid benefits from the fact that Palpatine was already made up to look far older for Return of the Jedi, only to show up a quarter century later to portray the quarter century younger Senator Palpatine.
As it stands, the first 6 movies really do tell the story of Sheev’s rise and fall, so there wouldn’t be much of a point to a Palpatine-centric story, unless it was set years before The Phantom Menace, but that might be a bit much to ask of McDiarmid’s age bending ability. Even so, as the Emperor of the entire galaxy, he could justifiably show up in any movie set between Phantom Menace and Return of the Jedi in small doses. The actor claims he’s not going to be in Rogue One, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a fan that wouldn’t love to find out that he’s lying.
5. Wedge Antilles
Denis Lawson famously turned down a part on The Force Awakens, claiming it would “bore” him, but that doesn’t mean his role in this universe is over. In fact, Wedge Antilles is still actively involved in Star Wars canon through Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath novel series, set after Return of the Jedi, and is set to make an appearance in Star Wars Rebels in season 3 (voiced by Nathan Kress).
Now that he’s seen the success of The Force Awakens, maybe Denis has softened to the idea and will make an appearance in Episode 8 and/or 9, or a spin-off movie that takes place around that time. Wedge has always been a fan-favorite character, and he had a much larger part in the non-canon Star Wars Legends content, so the demand is already there. It’s likely just dependent on if Lawson decides a return to the franchise wouldn’t be so boring after all.
4. Boba Fett
One of the most persistent rumors since Disney bought Lucasfilm has been that a Boba Fett movie is in the works. It was widely assumed that this is the story that Josh Trank was assigned before it was delayed and Trank left the project in the wake of the rumors swirling about his behavior during the production of Fantastic 4.
Boba Fett is in a unique situation compared to many other characters on this list, because we already have two actors, Daniel Logan and Temuera Morrison, that could show up, depending on how old Fett is for the movie. Granted, Boba is a clone of Jango, so Daniel Logan pretending to be a young Boba might pose some continuity questions, but Boba hasn’t been shown without a helmet since the latter seasons of The Clone Wars, where he was still modeled after a young Logan, so it’s not unrealistic for them to find a way to make the younger actor’s appearance work.
3. Anakin Skywalker
There have already been a lot of rumors about Hayden Christensen returning to the franchise in the form of a Force Ghost, and Lucasfilm even considered including him in Episode VII at one point, but it didn’t end up in the final film. Now the rumor mill is churning for Episode VIII. Hayden Christensen’s Force ghost was shown at the end of Return of the Jedi, so bringing Luke back in the sequel trilogy as a Jedi Master would make it difficult to avoid without at least a nod to Anakin.
Force ghosts aren’t the only way he could appear, though. There are still untold Anakin Skywalker stories during the prequel era, and Hayden could return to the franchise under new creative control and possibly tell an Anakin Skywalker story that redeems his role in the franchise. Lucasfilm was able to assuage the fears of most fans after the Disney acquisition by making The Force Awakens into what many people considered a strong return to the franchise, and that credibility should be enough for a return to the prequel era with Christensen as young Anakin.
2. Obi-Wan Kenobi
Of all the things that happened in the prequels, Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi is probably the single thing fans most desire to see more of. He even has a single line in The Force Awakens during Rey’s “Force back.” Like Hayden Christensen, one of the places people most expect to see McGregor pop up is as a Force ghost in Episode 8 or 9, in an expanded form of the role he already played in the sequel trilogy.
McGregor can also reprise a young Obi-Wan as well, though. The Star Wars comic series has shown that the 18 years Obi-Wan Kenobi spent on Tatooine between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope weren’t entirely without action, so there’s a lot of room for a reprisal there, but he could also show back up during the height of the Clone Wars alongside Temuera Morrison, Hayden Christensen, and others to fill in untold stories from that era. Besides, he’d love to return.
1. Darth Maul
Many Star Wars fans walking into The Phantom Menace for the first time were excited to see the new villain, Darth Maul, and he largely lived up to the hype, except for the fact that he apparently died at the end of the movie, meaning his acrobatic lightsaber combat wouldn’t be seen again in another prequel film. Only it turns out, Maul isn’t actually dead. Fans of The Clone Wars know that Maul didn’t only survive his fight with young Obi-Wan Kenobi, but he actually stirs up quite a bit of trouble before disappearing for over a decade and a half, returning in the season finale for the second season of Star Wars Rebels, with even more screen time in season 3.
With Maul’s ultimate fate still unspecified, and with over a decade and a half of former Sith apprentice’s antics currently going unchronicled in any storytelling, there’s an excellent opportunity for Ray Park to return to the role for a live-action Darth Maul. This could be anything from him leading his criminal conglomerate known as the Shadow Collective during the years between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, or it could even be the story of his ultimate demise, provided that’s not covered in Rebels. There is legitimately potential for a live-action Star Wars movie showing Maul’s final battle and death at the hands of Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, Obi-Wan Kenobi, or even a live action Ahsoka Tano, and that’s a movie a ton of fans would love to see.
Who would you most like to see return to their live action Star Wars role? Did we miss anyone? Let us hear about it in the comments!