If rumors are to be believed, Star Wars: Episode VII is going to end up shaken, but not stirred, by a new addition to the cast. According to unnamed sources, Daniel Craig — AKA the current James Bond — will make an appearance in J.J. Abrams’ much-anticipated continuation of George Lucas’ space opera as the result of what’s described as his being “close friends” with Abrams.
If true, this won’t be the only time a big-name actor has asked for a role in Star Wars — although it may be the only time that such a request hasn’t fallen on deaf ears. Here are some other actors who’ve lobbied for a trip to a galaxy far, far away.
As if Daniel Craig’s example wasn’t enough, here’s more proof that it pays to be friends with J.J. Abrams. Grunberg, who’s appeared in almost everything that Abrams has directed to date — he missed out on Star Trek Into Darkness, but I think we all wish we could say the same — tweeted out last week that “it IS safe to assume I have a role in #StarWarsEpisodeVII,” although he said that sharing any more would mean that Abrams would have him killed. Of course, if that happened, we could rest assured that the actor’s skull would make a cameo in all of Abrams’ future movies, so it wouldn’t be all bad.
The Kick-Ass actress has an odd relationship with Star Wars, being reportedly at the center of a pre-Abrams pitch for the franchise by director Matthew Vaughan. While that movie hasn’t come to pass (yet — given Lucasfilm’s desire to augment the new trilogy with spin-offs, there’s still a chance), the actress told MTV that she was still eager to appear amongst the Jedi at some point. “I’d kill to be a part of that franchise,” she said. “J.J., I’ll give you my phone number. You can text me.”
The classically-trained British actor revealed his desire to appear in the series during a British radio interview, when he said that he’d called his agent as soon as he heard that Disney was relaunching the franchise. “I’d love to do my big franchise movie. Ian’s got his Gandalf, Pat Stewart has his Star Trek, Michael Gambon has got his Dumbledore,” he said. “They are running out of these old men, you see. I have to be the next.” Clearly, Abrams must have seen an episode of Jacobi’s terrible sitcom Vicious before deciding against the idea.
He might be preparing to appear as DC Comics’ Black Adam in the upcoming movie version of Shazam these days, but last year the Rock was trying to use the Internet to help him score a role in Episode VII. “I played with two lines of action figures when I was a kid, G.I. Joe and Star Wars,” he told a reporter while promoting the second G.I. Joe movie, going on to describe the offer to appear in G.I. Joe: Retaliation as being “like if I got a call from George Lucas saying, ‘I want you to be in Star Wars.’ [Now] I’m gonna call J.J. and you’re gonna help by printing it and I’m gonna be in Star Wars!” He gets points for bluntness, even if it didn’t help him actually land a role in the movie (as far as we know).
If nothing else, you have to credit the Avengers star with being smart with his nepotism. Instead of asking Abrams for a role in Episode VII, he admitted last week to asking Rian Johnson — his director in 2008’s The Brothers Bloom — for a role in Star Wars: Episode VIII, which Johnson is directing. “My e-mail to Rian after all these years was, ‘Rian, congratulations on everything you’ve been doing. And by the way, if there’s a part in Star Wars, please, anything, please consider considering me to join you,’” the actor told Collider. “I would like a role… it’d be nice to have something. And honestly, even a CGI role.”
Lots of Other Star Wars Actors
Whether it’s Samuel L. Jackson — who told E! Online that his character from the prequels, Mace Windu, could “come back as [a] one-armed or a one-handed Jedi that’s still around that didn’t actually die” — or Ray Park (who told MTV that all he needed to appear in the new movies was “food and water, and I’m there”), it’s almost to be expected that actors who appeared in the prequel trilogy are open to a re-appearance in the new movie. That series, after all, only finished nine years ago and they’re still looking for work.
Perhaps more surprising, though, is seeing actors from the iconic original trilogy asking for parts in the new movie, with both former Ewok Warwick Davis and former Darth Vader David Prowse suggesting that they’d be up for new roles in the sequel.
Saddest of all, perhaps, is poor Billy Dee Williams. Despite the reappearance of all of his Rebel Alliance comrades in Episode VII — even Chewbacca! — Lando Calrissian will be absent from the new movie, despite Williams showing interest in the possibility, even going so far as to asking fans to tell Disney and Lucasfilm that he wanted to do it. Yes, the same movie that actually tried to get Wedge Antilles back showed no sign in giving the world more Lando. Unless Daniel Craig’s entire Star Wars role is one where he explains that Lando couldn’t be present because he was too busy in his own spin-off movie in theaters soon, I think we can all agree that Star Wars: Episode VII can only be described as a massive missed opportunity — and a sign that more people should make friends with J.J. Abrams for the good of their careers.
Graeme McMillan is a writer based in Portland, Oregon, who’s written for Time.com, Wired.com and The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision blog. He loves only gold.