The Star Wars prequel trilogy itself didn’t launch a lot of its actors into stardom. However, it didn’t manage to hire a great many people who became stars after Darth Vader yelled his famous “Nooooooo!” at the end of Revenge of the Sith. To celebrate the prequel reunion that Disney+’s new Obi-Wan TV series is set to become, here’s a look at the trilogy’s secret stars.
And yes, before we go on, we know most Star Wars fans are already well aware of them…
Keira Knightley as Sabé
Keira Knightley was such an unknown when she became Queen Amidala’s decoy (and impressive ringer for star Natalie Portman) that The Phantom Menace misspelled her name as “Kiera” in its credits. Since then, however, she launched to stardom three years later with Bend It Like Beckham, followed by the massively successful Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Pride & Prejudice, Never Let Me Go, and countless other films. Sabé herself has gone on to lead an interesting life in Star Wars novels, including the recent Padmé Amidala books by E.K. Johnston and Marvel’s latest volume of its Darth Vader series.
Sofia Coppola as Saché
The daughter of famed director Francis Ford Coppola, her cameo as another of Queen Amidala’s handmaidens in The Phantom Menace was her second-to-last acting credit in a career that included all three Godfather films, The Outsiders, and Peggy Sue Got Married. However, she reached her greatest acclaim as a director, beginning with 1999’s The Virgin Suicides, which was followed by 2003’s Lost in Translation, 2006’s Marie Antoinette, and most recently, last year’s On the Rocks.
Dominic West as Palace Guard
Although Dominic West had played parts in not one but two film adaptations of Shakespeare plays, he only managed to grab the part of a Naboo palace Guard in 1999’s The Phantom Menace. In 2002, the English actor gained critical acclaim for his role as Baltimore cop Lt. Jimmy McNulty on HBO’s The Wire. Since then, he’s bounced between highbrow drama like The Hour, The Affair, and Les Misérables and Punisher: War Zone, 300, John Carter, and the updated Tomb Raider film.
Peter Serafinowicz as Darth Maul
The voice, specifically. While Ray Park played the lightsaber-swinging body of the Sith Lord, Maul’s deep, sinister bass was courtesy of the English comedian Serafinozicz in his first movie role (where he also voiced a Gungan scout and a Battle Droid Commander for good measure). Chances are you’ll know his first on-screen performance as the smarmy antagonist Pete in Shaun of the Dead, or maybe his brief role as Nova Corps officer in Guardians of the Galaxy, but was also The Tick in Amazon Prime’s recent, cancelled-too-soon TV series about the big blue bug. He’s also done countless voices for cartoons, video games, and more TV series — like a certain bear in His Dark Materials — who need someone dripping with gravitas.
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Richard Armitage as Naboo Fighter Pilot
Richard Armitage — star of The Hobbit movie trilogy as none other than Thorin Oakenshield himself — was such an unknown that when even though he appeared in a background shot of Naboo soldiers in The Phantom Menace, he wasn’t credited on the film whatsoever. He made up for it later, however, with star turns in many, many popular British TV series (MI-5, aka Spooks, for one). Athough Americans might recognise him best as the infinitely creepy Francis Dolayhyde from Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal TV series or as the perfectly acerbic voice of Trevor Belmont in Netflix’s Castlevania animated series. Speaking of voices, he also played none other than Logan himself for Marvel too.
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Rose Byrne as Dormé
Rose Byrne has had a massive career in Hollywood, starring in comedies like Spy and Neighbours to dramatic hits like Damages and Mrs. America to nerd fare such as the X-Men: First Class universe, where she played Moira MacTaggert twice, and the Insidious movies. You might have missed it but she also played a robot for Netflix in I Am Mother! But her first appearance in a major Hollywood film was as Padmé’s servant and lookalike Dormé in Attack of the Clones.
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Joel Edgerton as Owen Lars
Edgerton was relatively unknown outside of Australia when Lucas cast him as Anakin’s brother-in-law and Luke’s surly uncle-to-be, Owen Lars, in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. What actually brought us here today was the fact that we found out Edgerton will reprise the role in the upcoming Obi-Wan TV series, alongside Bonnie Piesse as Beru. Since 2002, he’s starred in major motion pictures like Zero Dark Thirty, Kinky Boots, King Arthur, and The Great Gatsby, plus the very cool Midnight Special — and written and directed a few others, too. He also has a role in the highly-anticipated The Green Knight starring Dev Patel.
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Temuera Morrison as Jango Fett
Temuera Morrison was well-known in his native New Zealand before George Lucas cast him in Attack of the Clones as one of the most important characters in the Star Wars galaxy: Jango Fett, the genetic prime which all Clonetroopers were based from, and the father (more or less) to the young incarnation of the fan-favourite character Boba Fett. Morrison struggled with other breakout roles but always had a home playing or voicing the various clones that made up the Army of the Republic in ancillary Star Wars media over the years.
In 2016, he provided the voice of Chief Tui in Disney’s hit Moana, following that up with Aquaman’s father Thomas Curry in the DC superhero’s solo film. However, while Star Wars die-hards are very familiar with him, his biggest star turn has unquestionably been as the older version of Boba Fett in season two of The Mandalorian — a role so celebrated Morrison has already nabbed his own upcoming Disney+ TV series titled The Book of Boba Fett.
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Keisha Castle-Hughes as Queen Apailana
Thanks to the extreme wonkiness of Nabooian politics, after Padmé served her two terms and became the planet’s representative to the Galactic Senate, other queens were elected in her place. Nine years after ceding the crown, it was picked up by Apailana, played by Castle-Hughes. Although Revenge of the Sith was her first movie after becoming the youngest person ever nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for Whale Rider, Castle-Hughes’ star waned after the film until picking back up in the 2010s with shows like The Almighty Johnsons, Roading, FBI: Most Wanted, and Game of Thrones, where she played Obara Sand. She’s also featured in a few other genre titles like Shunji Iwai’s Vampire and a one-episode turn on The Walking Dead.