No matter how much time is spent writing the perfect script, or assembling the perfect cast, a single celebrity appearance can wind up being the only thing audiences talk about. Whether it's adding to the story, delivering an unexpected gag, or just an incredible moment that fans might not even catch, the right cameo can take a movie from good to great.
Here are Screen Rant's 10 Hidden Movie Cameos You Missed.
Corporate branding was a major plot point in the Jurassic Park reboot, which meant the bigger, better dinosaur park featured an IMAX theatre, Jamba Juice, and even Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville, the chain of restaurants founded by the famous singer. When the Jurassic World visitors are sent scrambling by attacking pteradons, it's hard to miss one man who doesn't want to lose his margaritas in the chaos. The best part: that's Jimmy Buffett himself, apparently more worried about keeping his costs down than a pack of killer dinosaurs.
Star Trek: Nemesis
Some directors like to keep their personal favorite TV shows and movie franchises to themselves, but director Bryan Singer was an obvious Star Trek fan long before he worked with some of the franchise's veterans. He even included a nod in his X-Men universe, featuring an episode of The Original Series in Days of Future Past. But it was Next Generation star Patrick Stewart who scored him a cameo in Star Trek: Nemesis, officially making him an in-universe crew member of the USS Enterprise.
Guardians of the Galaxy
From the moment James Gunn got the job of writing and directing Marvel's space adventure Guardians of the Galaxy, fans knew that actor Nathan Fillion would have to make an appearance, having starred in Gunn's previous movies Slither and Super. Rumors spun out of control claiming the Firefly star would play one of a dozen cosmic heroes, from Cosmo the Spacedog to Nova himself. But in the end, most casual fans probably missed his cameo altogether. The actor's sense of humor wasn't used to play an outlaw, Ravager, or goon - just a prison inmate promising to put Star-Lord through a night he'd never forget. It's a smaller role than fans hoped for, but you can't say it's not a memorable one.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Raiders of the Lost Ark was a universal hit, but fans are a bit more divided on its prequel, Temple of Doom. So some Indiana Jones fans may not have realized that Ghostbusters star Dan Aykroyd makes a blink-and-you-miss-it appearance sending Indy onto an airplane out of Shanghai. The actor made the cameo since he was a close friend to director Steven Spielberg - who can also be spotted, along with producers George Lucas, Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy dressed as missionaries in the same scene.
Ron Jeremy may be better known for his career in adult films, but he's made at least one Hollywood appearance worth watching. When the containment unit at Ghostbusters headquarters is turned off in the first movie, it releases every ghost, spectre or spirit the team has caught. It sends the film's story to its climax, and Ron Jeremy is there to see it firsthand, in an uncredited cameo among the New Yorkers gathering to see the explosion.
Seeing a famous actor or director in the background of a movie is a fun thing to watch out for, but what about celebrities put right in the spotlight without fans ever noticing? Director Edgar Wright packed too many cameos to count into his buddy-cop action comedy Hot Fuzz, but two stand out for their eyes alone. The man dressed as Santa Clause putting a knife through the hero's hand in flashback is Lord of the Rings mastermind Peter Jackson, and his masked girlfriend - make that ex-girlfriend - is played by none other than Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett.
The Star Wars parody from Mel Brooks is filled to the brim with inside jokes and slapstick humor, but it wasn't just George Lucas's trilogy that got sent up in the movie. When the hero 'Lone Starr' and his partner 'Barf' stop in at a space truckstop, they get a front row seat for a horror show. Reenacting the chestburster scene from Alien would have been a good enough joke, but actually having Oscar nominated actor John Hurt reprise his role as the alien's victim is too good a cameo to believe.
Dumb & Dumber To
The original Farrelly Brothers movie starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels was a hit from the start, but the sequel Dumb & Dumber To released twenty years later... wasn't. Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence may have had her brief scene cut from the movie completely, but one incredible cameo made it through. Most viewers will recognize that Harry's new roommate, 'Icepick' is a crystal meth cooker torn right out of AMC's Breaking Bad - what they won't recognize is that it's one of the directors' friends under the mask: Bill Murray.
Today, every fan of X-Men, Spider-Man, or Marvel's Avengers universe knows Stan Lee, the creator of some of the most famous superheroes in comic book history. That's thanks to his almost mandatory cameos in Marvel films that even non-comic readers know to watch out for. But long before his characters - and cameos - were dominating the box office, it was director Kevin Smith who knew a brief appearance from the Marvel icon in his second movie would send comic book nerds into a frenzy. It's likely been missed by plenty of Marvel movie fans, but Lee's scene in Mallrats is probably the funniest and most dramatic one he's ever turned in, playing along with the movie's crude humor, and even delivering a heart-to-heart for the ages. A fact made even more impressive by his admission of making it all up.
This re-imagining of Peter Pan was meant to be a children's movie, but there were plenty of kid who couldn't handle the infamous "Boo Box" - Captain Hook's punishment for men in his crew who doubted his plan. But the pirate who wound up locked in the box with some scorpion friends wasn't a man at all, but actress Glenn Close in disguise. Apparently it pays to have Steven Spielberg as a director, since he also roped in George Lucas and Carrie Fisher to play the kissing couple accidentally sprinkled with fairy dust.
Those are the best celebrity cameos we noticed in our favorite films, but which ones do you think we missed? Be sure to name them in the comments, and remember to subscribe to our channel for more videos like this one.