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Star Wars cast and characters - where are they now?

The Star Wars cast is huge, so here's what you need to know about the key Jedi and Sith actors behind the best Star Wars characters.

We love Star Wars and have spent many happy hours in George Lucas’ galaxy far, far away. With that in mind, we know our way around the Star Wars cast — the famous faces behind the lightsabers, spaceship cockpits, and alien make-up.

Star Wars came about because George Lucas wanted to create an epic space opera  a series of the best science fiction movies filled with intergalactic wizards, robots, and a tyrannical regime seeking to control the galaxy. Regardless of what you think of each instalment or how you choose to watch the Star Wars movies in order, there’s no denying the magic of the best Star Wars characters. Much of that is down to the cast, so let’s get to know them better.

The main Star Wars cast

Below are the main cast and characters in the Star Wars franchise. We’ve left no droid or pilot behind.

Here’s the main Star Wars cast list:

  • Kenny Baker as R2-D2
  • Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca
  • Anthony Daniels as C-3PO
  • Christopher Lee as Count Dooku
  • Peter Cushing as Wilhulf Tarkin
  • Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker
  • Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia
  • Harrison Ford as Han Solo
  • Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • Natalie Portman as Padmé Amidala
  • Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker
  • Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu
  • Ian McDiarmid as Emperor Palpatine
  • Daisy Ridley as Rey
  • Adam Driver as Kylo Ren
  • John Boyega as Finn
  • Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron

Star Wars cast: Kenny Baker as R2-D2

Kenny Baker as R2-D2

Everyone knows the Rebellion would have lost the galactic civil war if it wasn’t for R2-D2. True, he looked like a pedal bin made of Lego, but this little droid was crucial in delivering the Death Star plans to the Rebels, set Luke on the path to finding Obi-Wan, and was even there when the young Jedi blew up the Death Star. He’s basically the deuteragonist of the original film.

Kenny Baker was the man inside R2, and he got his first taste of showbiz in the ’50s when he formed a comedy act known as the Minitones. Hollywood beckoned for Kenny, though, when George Lucas chose him to play R2-D2. Baker would play R2 in one form or another in all three of the original films and the three prequels. Baker also served as the R2-D2 consultant on The Force Awakens.

Star Wars wasn’t Baker’s only film work, though; he’d also appear in The Elephant Man and some of the best fantasy movies ever made, including  Time Bandits, Willow, and Labyrinth. Baker passed away in 2016 at the age of 81. He’s survived by his two children.

Star Wars cast: Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca

Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca

Han’s right-hand man and partner in literal crime, Chewbacca, is a brave smuggler who’s eager to join the Rebel Alliance and bring an end to the Empire’s tyrannical rule over his homeworld. At 7 feet 3 inches, Peter Mayhew was the perfect choice to play the imposing Chewie, but this wasn’t Mayhew’s first acting gig.

Mayhew was actually cast in Sinbad and The Eye of the Tiger before he played Chewie, although both films were released in 1977. Mayhew would go on to play Chewie in every Star Wars film up until The Force Awakens. He also lent his voice to Dragon Ball GT, Clone Wars, and appeared in an episode of Glee. Mayhew died of a heart attack on April 30, 2019.

Star Wars cast: Anthony Daniels as C-3PO

Anthony Daniels as C-3PO

The fussiest character in the history of science fiction, C-3PO basically serves as comic relief for the original trilogy and as R2-D2’s less competent sidekick. Still, this golden grumbler had his uses, like that time he tricked the Ewoks into thinking he was a god and convinced them to attack the Imperial soldiers.

Anthony Daniels has played C-3PO in 11 of the 12 Star Wars movies   (The character doesn’t appear in Solo), and the character was arguably his big acting break. Since playing Threepio, Daniels has lent his voice to Legolas in Ralph Bakshi’s animated Lord of the Rings movie but for the most part, he’s stuck to a galaxy far, far, away playing C-3PO in countless TV series.

Fun fact: he was no fan of science fiction when he took the role. Daniels famously walked out of a screening of 2001: A Space Oddysey after just 10 minutes (don’t worry, he admits he was wrong now).

Star Wars cast: Christopher Lee as Count Dooku

Christopher Lee as Count Dooku

Arrogant and powerful Count Dooku replaced Darth Maul as Palpatine’s second Sith apprentice, and he was arguably a massive upgrade. Dooku was more than capable of fending off two experienced Jedi at once (As Obi-Wan and Anakin learned), and he could even go toe-to-toe with Yoda.

Still, as dangerous as Dooku was with a lightsaber, his skill as a politician arguably made him a bigger threat, and Dooku’s Separatist army managed to push the Republic to the brink of destruction. It’s just a shame he didn’t think to tell Anakin that Palpatine was a Sith before he lost his head.

The inimitable Christopher Lee played Dooku, and while we wish we could say it was his greatest performance, it’s not. Across a career that nearly spanned seven decades, Lee was infamous for playing bis-screen villains, including Dracula, the mummy, Scaramanga in the James Bond movies, and he was Peter Jackson’s Saruman.

Oh, and that’s before we even get into the fact that he was a literal secret agent who served as the inspiration for James Bond, had his own metal band, and was the only member of the lord of the Rings cast to meet J. R. R. Tolkien. Lee passed away in 2015 shortly after his 93rd birthday but what a life he led.

Star Wars cast: Peter Cushing as Tarkin

Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin

Tarkin’s famous for two things: for keeping Vader on a leash and for blowing up Alderaan. Honestly, we’re not sure which one’s more impressive, considering Vader’s love of choking Imperial officers who even look at him slightly askew.

Peter Cushing played Tarkin, and he was already an acting titan by the time he slid into the Moff’s leather boots. Cushing got his start in the theatre, but he really made his name in Hammer Horror films playing Van Helsing opposite his good friend Christopher Lee.

His final performance was in Biggles: Adventures in Time, where he played Air Commodore William Raymond; however, following the death of his wife, Helen, Cushing slowly withdrew from public life, and he passed away in 1994 at the age of 81.

Star Wars cast: Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in Return of the Jedi

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker

The man at the heart of the whole franchise and the original Jedi hero from a galaxy far, far away, Mark Hamill, found fame as Luke Skywalker. As well as leading the first three of the best science fiction movies, Hamill popped up again for the recent Disney sequels and was also (sort of) part of the Star Wars series The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett.

But the actor has gone on to play plenty of big roles in his career, finding most of his success as a voice actor. Hamill joins the ranks of great Joker actors, after lending his sinister tones to one of the best Batman villains.

In live-action, Hamill has appeared in Kingsman: The Secret Service, John Carpenter‘s Village of the Damned, and Fall of the House of Usher.

Star Wars cast: Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in The Empire Strikes Back

Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia

Like Hamill, the Star Wars wave made Carrie Fisher an icon as Princess Leia, and she would go on to amass plenty of other credits in her long career. Sadly, Fisher is no longer with us, having passed away in 2016.

She starred in The Burbs alongside Tom Hanks, one of the best romance movies — When Harry Met Sally — and one of the best kids movies for those with a sense of anarchy, Drop Dead Fred.

Fisher showed her face in the Scream franchise, joining the Scream cast for a cheeky cameo in the third movie, and had many guest appearances on some of the best TV series. She was also a talented author and published multiple books about her career and personal life before her passing, showing just how endless her talents were.

Star Wars cast: Harrison Ford as Han Solo in A New Hope

Harrison Ford as Han Solo

No one benefitted more from the original Star Wars trilogy than Harrison Ford, whose career hit the stratosphere after his turn as the loveable rogue Han Solo. While Luke may be the hero of the saga, let’s be honest, we’d all rather be Han, right?

Not content with playing the coolest guy in the galaxy, Ford would also go on to lead the Indiana Jones franchise, a project he is still working on to this day. Check out our Indiana Jones 5 review for more on that.

He also starred in one of the best thriller movies, The Fugitive, and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. Ford has also taken on his first-ever TV role, joining the Yellowstone timeline and leading the 1923 cast along with Helen Mirren.

Star Wars cast: Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Phantom Menace

Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi

When the prequel trilogy launched with The Phantom Menace, it needed a bona fide star to lead the way, and Scottish actor Ewan McGregor was fresh off the back of a blistering turn in Trainspotting. He was deemed the perfect man to take on the legacy of Obi-Wan Kenobi, filling the shoes of Alec Guinness.

McGregor has appeared in various British films such as Shallow Grave, Little Voice, and Brassed Off. He also starred in Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge, where he showed off his beautiful singing voice. More recently, he played an older version of Danny Torrance in the sequel to The Shining, Doctor Sleep. He also joined the DCU, briefly, as Black Mask in Birds of Prey.

Star Wars cast: Natalie Portman as Padme Amidala in Attack of the Clones

Natalie Portman as Padmé Amidala

Natalie Portman may have been young when she stepped into the world of Star Wars, but she had already had a pretty big role long before that. Her first feature film role, in fact, was opposite Jean Reno in the violent action movie Leon, in 1994. She also appeared in Michael Mann’s masterpiece, Heat, a year later.

Since Star Wars, Portman has continued to take on impressive roles, starring in V for Vendetta, Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited, and of course, an incredible Oscars-winning performance in the psychological thriller Black Swan in 2010.

Now, Portman is part of the MCU, having appeared as Jane Foster in three of the four Thor movies in order, wielding Thor’s hammer in Love and Thunder. Who knows, maybe she’ll be back for more? Even with the Thor 4 ending, there’s some room to speculate.

Star Wars cast: Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker in Revenge of the Sith

Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker

Taking on the role of Anakin Skywalker and treading the path towards the iconic role of Sith lord Darth Vader should have made Hayden Christensen a global superstar, but it didn’t quite play out that way.

After the prequel trilogy ended, Christensen starred in a half-decent science fiction movie by the name of Jumper, but it wasn’t enough to maintain his momentum, and he basically fell off the face of the Earth.

A few questionable roles later, Christensen has returned to the world of Star Wars after reprising his role (and smashing it, we should add) as Darth Vader in the recent Obi-Wan Kenobi series on one of the best streaming services, Disney Plus. He also appeared alongside his Padawan on Ahsoka.

Star Wars cast: Samuel L Jackson as Mace Windu

Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu

Of all the Jedi Council we meet in the Prequel Trilogy, none are anywhere near as cool as Mace Windu. He’s so cool, in fact, that he has his own unique color of lightsaber, and it’s Samuel L. Jackson that we can thank for bringing that purple glow to the big screen.

We probably don’t need to remind you that Jackson is a stalwart of the MCU. If you’re watching the Marvel movies in order, you’re very likely to see Nick Fury at pretty much every turn, and he is, without a doubt, one of the best Marvel characters ever.

Long before he was busy making the best superhero movies, however, Jackson forged a name for himself with roles in many 90s greats. Most notably, his work with Quentin Tarantino on Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown catapulted Jackson to stardom. He also pulled out a terrific performance in one of the best Spike Lee movies, Jungle Fever, which really showcased his range as an actor.

Star Wars cast: Ian Mcdiarmid as Emperor Palpatine

Ian McDiarmid as Emperor Palpatine

When it comes to bad guys, this guy trumps them all. Sheev, the Chancellor, Darth Sidious, Emperor Palpatine; whatever you want to call him, there is no denying this is the best Star Wars villain of them all.

His time in Star Wars is undoubtedly the standout of a long career for Ian McDiarmid, and the esteemed actor has appeared across all three time periods in the whole Skywalker Saga. From his first appearance in the best ’80s movie, Empire Strikes Back, through to his surprise return in Rise of Skywalker, Palpatine has been at the heart of everything rotten in the galaxy for decades now.

However, McDiarmid has also appeared in various other productions, including the role of Professor Levi in the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, the romantic horror movie Sleepy Hollow, and more recently, The Lost City of Z.

Star Wars cast: Daisy Ridley as Rey in The Rise of Skywalker

Daisy Ridley as Rey

In 2015, a new trilogy began thanks to Disney acquiring LucasFilm, and with it came a new band of Star Wars characters. The leader of this new pack of heroes was Rey, played by young actor Daisy Ridley, a relative unknown at the time.

Ridley hasn’t had much chance to do anything else since Star Wars, but she has found time to squeeze in Murder on the Orient Express, as well as teaming up with Tom Holland for Chaos Walking, a movie nobody really talked about. Her latest movie, Sometimes I Think About Dying, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2023.

We also know now that one of the new Star Wars movies on the way will feature Rey as the main protagonist. And we definitely think Rey deserves a new Star Wars movie.

Star Wars cast: Adam Driver as Kylo Ren in The Last Jedi

Adam Driver as Kylo Ren

Regardless of how cool Han Solo is and how famous Ford may be, there’s a good argument to suggest his on-screen son is one of the best actors to ever grace the Star Wars universe. Adam Driver is one of the finest performers of his generation and shows no signs of slowing down.

Funnily enough, he first shot to fame as a supporting character in the TV series Girls, before finding his feet on the big screen. He had small roles in J. Edgar and one of the best Steven Spielberg movies, Lincoln. in the early 2010s. He then landed more substantial roles in one of the best Oscar Isaac movies, Inside Llewyn Davis, and Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young.

Since Kylo Ren, Driver has been an unstoppable force, and a certifiable leading man, with credits such as Paterson, Silence, Logan Lucky, BlacKkKlansman, and Marriage Story under his belt. Most recently, he starred in two Ridley Scott movies — House of Gucci and The Last Duel, as well as the Netflix movie White Noise.

Star Wars cast: John Boyega as Finn in The Force Awakens

John Boyega as Finn

John Boyega was marketed as one of the main players in the new sequel trilogy, with many suspecting he would become a Jedi after turning his back on his fellow Stormtroopers. That didn’t happen, and his character Finn was disappointingly sidelined more and more as the trilogy went on.

Nevertheless, Boyega has plenty of talent to keep him going outside of Star Wars. Boyega already had a very cool leading role under his belt after starring in one of the best monster movies, Attack the Block. He also starred in Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit, a sequel to Pacific Rim, and was part of Steve McQueen’s highly-rated Small Axe mini-series.

Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron

Poe is a rebel pilot who is an essential cog in the new trilogy, as his trusty droid BB-8 tries to deliver the map to Luke to the resistance. Charming, a grease monkey, and high energy, Poe can be hotheaded and impulsive but always comes around to the right side of things at the end of the day. A fried to Rey and Finn, if Poe’s morale is down then we’re all in a lot of trouble.

Oscar Isaac has had most of his success in the later stages of his career, with recent appearances in major franchises like Dune and the MCU, where he stepped into the role of Moon Knight. But Isaac has a strong history acting in independent films too, and picks interesting projects.

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So, those are the main players from the three trilogies in the Star Wars timeline. But find out more with our guides to the best Star Wars ships, the best Star Wars aliens, the best Star Wars droids, the Andor cast, the Ahsoka cast, and The Mandalorian characters.

You can also find out why the new Star Wars movie needs John Boyega and learn about the time Darth Vader was wrongly accused of leaking Star Wars secrets, as well as the Darth Maul fan film that’s better than most of the official movies.

Then, look ahead to the future with our guides to the Andor season 2 release date, The Mandalorian season 4 release date, and The Acolyte release date. There’s plenty more Star Wars to come.