Scottish Actors Of The Star Wars Franchise

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Discover the Scottish actors who played huge roles in the Star Wars cast and fought in a galaxy far, far away…

One of the greatest and most popular film franchises of all time, Star Wars is as successful as ever, spawning countless sequels, spin-offs, TV series, video games, theme park rides and even a brand-new themed hotel.

With the original film released in May 1977 and the unofficial commemorative Star Wars day on May 4 – may the “fourth” be with you – it’s time to celebrate the Scottish connections in the epic space franchise.

Two of the latest spin-offs, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Andor, were filmed in Scotland with both Glen Tilt in Perthshire and Cruachan Power Station in Argyll and Bute doubling as alien planets.

Plenty of Scottish actors helped make the Star Wars cast a success as they battled between the dark side and the light over the years. Read about some of the most notable.

Ewan McGregor

The Crieff boy inherited the role of Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi in the 1999 prequel The Phantom Menace from Alec Guinness, who played him the original trilogy. Ewan went on to play Obi-Wan in 2002’s Attack of the Clones and 2005’s Revenge of the Sith, before returning for vocal cameos in recent sequels The Force Awakens in 2015 and The Rise of Skywalker in 2019. Ewan’s Obi-Wan is introduced as a Jedi apprentice, before becoming a Jedi Knight and later Jedi Master, training Anakin Skywalker before Anakin’s tragic transformation to the ruthless Darth Vader. Following the events of Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan is assigned to protect Anakin’s young son, Luke, from afar. This time period will be explored in Ewan’s upcoming series, Obi-Wan Kenobi, which comes to streaming service Disney+ this month.

Ray Park

The Glaswegian actor and martial artist played villain Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace. The frightful looking black and red horned baddie may have been voiced by English comic Peter Serafinowicz in the film, but it was Ray that really brought the character to life. Following a climactic battle, Obi-Wan bisected Maul, with both parts of his body falling down a shaft. Despite that nasty wee accident, Ray returned as Maul in 2018’s Solo: A Star Wars Story and has also starred in films including X-Men and Sleepy Hollow.

Ian McDiarmid

With his sinister hushed tones and cloaked menace, Carnoustie-born Ian played Emperor Palpatine, the evil behind the likes of Darth Vader, in all three Star Wars trilogies. His history as a Shakespearean actor no doubt helped Ian play the shadowy villain, a character who is introduced in The Phantom Menace as a seemingly well-meaning public servant. Looking to have met his end at the hands of a redeemed Darth Vader in 1983’s Return of the Jedi, The Emperor returned in 2019’s The Rise of Skywalker and Ian has teased another comeback in Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Denis Lawson

Ewan McGregor wasn’t the first member of his family to have a role in the films, his uncle Denis Lawson has played fighter pilot Wedge Antilles since the first film in 1977. One of the best X-Wing pilots in the galaxy, Wedge leads the Rebel heroes into battle in four films, with his most recent appearance being a surprise cameo in The Rise of Skywalker. A prolific actor for decades, Denis has featured in popular Scottish films Local Hero and The Wee Man and was more recently seen in an episode of popular BBC series Death in Paradise. Unfortunately, Denis is yet to share the screen with his nephew in any Star Wars film or programme, but you never know what surprises are ahead.

Other Scots

Many other Scots have been involved in Star Wars over the years.

2015’s The Force Awakens held open auditions in Glasgow and while the main roles were cast elsewhere, the film included plenty of Scots. Glaswegian actor James McArdle followed in Denis’s footsteps by playing a fighter pilot, while fellow Glaswegian Brian Vennel played Bala-Tik, who came to blows with Harrison Ford’s Han Solo. Also in the film was Edinburgh actor Emun Elliot, helping Han Solo and co as part of the Resistance.

R2-D2 may be a droid on screen, however in The Last Jedi, it was Scots actor Jimmy Vee in the costume.

Aberdeen-born Michael Shread made an appearance as Admiral Kendal Ozzel in The Empire Strikes Back, who met a grisly end at the hands of his brutal boss Darth Vader.

Perhaps surprisingly, two episodes of animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars featured former Doctor Who lead David Tennant as a droid named Huyang. David even won an Emmy for his work on the show, proving that a Time Lord also has talents in a galaxy far, far away!

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