This article contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The dead speak in The Rise of Skywalker, and that required many celebrities to make cameo appearances in the final installment of the Skywalker Saga. In addition to the exciting new characters and many returning faces, there were plenty of celebrities who made surprise cameos in The Rise of Skywalker, proving that even some of the biggest stars in the world couldn't resist the chance to appear in a Star Wars film.
In addition to emotional sequences involving each member of the original trio — all of whom got to return as a Force ghost at some point in the movie — and the introduction of unforgettable new aliens and droids, Episode IX pulled out all of the stops to help bring the story of Luke, Leia, and Han Solo full circle. Most memorably, several actors who have played Jedis in both the Star Wars saga and the various television shows reprised their roles in order to help Rey (Daisy Ridley) on her journey to become a Jedi Master herself. The scene was powerful, inspiring and deeply emotional — but they were just a few of the movie's most exciting cameo appearances.
From the "blink-and-you'll-miss-it" quick cameos, to returning actors who played an important role in the film's most climactic sequence, here are all of the cameos in The Rise of Skywalker.
James Earl Jones & Andy Serkis
Villains of the past, Darth Vader and Snoke, make brief appearances in Rise of Skywalker — or, their voices do. In an early scene when Kylo Ren first meets Palpatine, he hears the voices of the Dark Side in his head, including the voices of James Earl Jones and Andy Serkis.
Harrison Ford made a surprise — and heartbreaking — appearance as Han Solo in The Rise of Skywalker. He appeared in a crucial point in the film to give his son, Ben, some guidance. He even got to say Han's iconic love line, "I know," one last time.
Mark Hamill, Frank Oz, & Alec Guinness
Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker played a significant role in Rise of Skywalker, returning as both a Force ghost to encourage Rey not to give up on her journey, and helping her get to Exogol to face off against Palpatine. However, Luke can also be heard as one of the voices of the Jedi Masters who came before, who give her strength during her final battle. "Rey, the Force will be with you — always," Luke says at the very end of the sequence.
Also heard in the Force voices is Yoda, played by Frank Oz, who tells Rey that she has never been alone. Original trilogy actor, Alec Guinness, who played Luke's mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, can also be heard. But it wasn't just original trilogy actors who returned for the crucial scene.
Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Samuel L. Jackson, & Liam Neeson
Before he reprises his iconic role for the upcoming Disney+ series, Ewan McGregor played Obi-Wan Kenobi once more in Rise of Skywalker, as the very first voice that Rey hears after calling on the Jedis of the past to "be with her" in the fight against Palpatine. "These are your final steps, Rey," McGregor's Obi-Wan says. "Rise and take them."
A significant source of support in Rey's battle between the light and dark sides of the Force is also from the prequel series: Hayden Christensen's Anakin Skywalker, who encourages the young Jedi to "bring back the balance" in the Force. "The Force surrounds you, Rey," Christensen also says at another point in the sequence. The pair are joined by the voices of Samuel L. Jackson's purple lightsaber-wielding Mace Windu and Liam Neeson's Qui-Gon Jinn.
Freddie Prinze Jr., Ashley Eckstein, Jennifer Hale, & Gin Clarke
Rise of Skywalker's most climactic scene didn't just pay homage to the Jedis of the film sagas — they also brought back several notable characters from the animated series, to connect the Skywalker Saga to Clone Wars and Rebels. These included Freddie Prinze Jr.'s Kanan Jarrus, Ashley Eckstein as Ashoka Tano, Jennifer Hale as Aayla Secura, and Gin Clarke as Adi Gallia.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, JJ Abrams, & Chris Terrio
Fighting alongside Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Oscar Isaac), and Rey were plenty of famous faces, playing plenty of new characters for the final film. Screenwriter Chris Terrio as Aftab Ackbar, the son of the iconic Col. Ackbar from the original trilogy, and director J.J. Abrams, who provided the voice for the franchise's newest droid, D-O.
One of the briefest cameos in the film comes courtesy of Lin-Manuel Miranda, who played a Resistance pilot, likely in the ending celebration scene. The composer and actor also wrote a song specifically for Rise of Skywalker, which he revealed on Twitter "[has] got a nice beat & you can dance to it."
In addition to all of the new faces, the Resistance also got help from Denis Lawson's Wedge, who appeared in the film's climactic battle to help the Resistance after Lando (Billy Dee Williams) and Chewbacca put out the call for help. This marked Lawson's first return to the franchise since the original trilogy.
When Finn, Poe, and Rey arrive on Kijimi in search of someone who can help recover the coordinates of Exegol from C-3PO's memory, they pass legendary composer John Williams in the front of a droid shop. Williams, who also composed the score for Rise of Skywalker, makes a very brief appearance as the menacing-looking character named Oma Tres, a bartender with a mechanical eye. Inside the droid shop, Star Wars fans are introduced to the hilarious Babu Frik, a tiny alien voiced by Harry Potter star Shirley Henderson, who helps the trio out as best as he can.
Harry Styles & Ed Sheeran
As with every Star Wars saga, there are a few big name celebrities who are rumored to play Stormtroopers in Rise of Skywalker. This time around, fans are on the lookout for Ed Sheeran, who was spotted wearing a Stormtrooper costume in a behind-the-scenes video that was released in November, and Harry Styles.
"Wonder who'll be the #SecretStormtrooper in this one?" Hamill teased on Twitter in a since-deleted post ahead of the Rise of Skywalker premiere. "Considering they've all been UK Superstars (2 Royals+2 Actors) but still no singer, all the clues point in one direction: #Stylestrooper." The actor seemed to confirm the news with a follow-up tweet on Dec. 19, where he apologized for "for dropping the #SecretStylestrooper SPOILER" on social media. "Still- the mystery remains: Which one is Harry?" Hamill added, stirring up fans' curiosity once more.
Emmy winner, and Killing Eve star Jodie Comer has a very brief but important scene in Rise of Skywalker, playing Rey's mother, who sold her to the scavengers on Jakku in order to protect her from Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid). Rey's father — the son of Palpatine who rebelled against the emperor and became a "nobody" — was played by Billy Howle, best known for his work in Dunkirk.
While audiences might not know which one of the many Stormtroopers in Rise of Skywalker is being played by a former member of One Direction, all of the high-profile cameos and buried Easter Eggs is sure to have fans returning to the theater again and again, to make sure they've spotted everyone who pops up in the galaxy far, far away.