There are some movie characters so iconic and so strongly tied to the actor who plays them that to recast them with anyone else would be sacrilege. Although many examples of this kind of role exist in the Star Wars universe, that has not prevented such an event to happen to its most beloved characters many times.
However, luckily, many of the Star Wars characters who have been recast have been blessed with people of tremendous talent to carry the weight -- and sometimes to even greater heights than ever before. See for yourself with our favorite examples of live-action characters from a galaxy far, far away who are credited to more than one actor, starting with one who is making a huge comeback with his own series.
Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness, Ewan McGregor)
We first met Obi-Wan Kenobi years after the fall of the Jedi Order in the original Star Wars: A New Hope from 1977, in which he was played brilliantly by Academy Award winner Alec Guinness. Playing his younger self from padawan to master would be Ewan McGregor, whom fans would cite as one of the best reasons to watch the Prequel Trilogy and later welcome his return on the Disney+ original series Obi-Wan Kenobi with open arms.
Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher, Vivian Lyra Blair)
One of Ewan McGregor’s most impressive co-stars on Obi-Wan Kenobi is Bird Box’s “Girl” actor Vivien Lyra Blair, who gives a surprisingly entertaining and heartfelt performance as 10-year-old Leia Organa, who has been kidnapped by the Empire in order to lure the titular Jedi out of hiding. Star Wars fans are very familiar with the character, originally portrayed by the late Carrie Fisher, who portrayed Leia starting from the beginning of the Star Wars saga, up until her final performance in 2017’s The Last Jedi.
Owen Lars (Phil Brown, Joel Edgerton)
Another Star Wars prequel trilogy veteran reprising his role alongside Ewan McGregor on Obi-Wan Kenobi is Australian actor and filmmaker Joel Edgerton as Luke Skywalker’s uncle, Owen Lars. The Tatooine moisture farmer would meet a devastating end at the hands of the Empire in the 1977 original film, in which he was portrayed - opposite Mark Hamill - by Phil Brown. Brown also starred in franchises like the Superman movies and one of the Pink Panther sequels, but would always be best known as Uncle Owen.
Beru Lars (Shelagh Fraser, Bonnie Piesse)
Playing Owen Lars’ wife, Beru, was English actress Shelagh Fraser, who gives one of the most heartfelt performances in Star Wars: A New Hope despite her modest amount of screen time. Of course, Bonnie Piesse had even less screen time and less to say as a teenage Beru, but is still a memorable presence in the prequels due to the importance of her role, which is why she has also makes a return on Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Mon Mothma (Caroline Blakiston, Genevieve O’Reilly)
Another actress with a modest amount of screen time in the Prequel Trilogy (namely 2005’s Revenge of the Sith) is Genevieve O’Reilly as the future leader of the Rebel Alliance, Mon Mothma, whom she would reprise in 2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Originating the role was Caroline Blakiston, whose screen time was also quite brief in 1983’s Return of the Jedi, but still memorable and iconic enough inspire such an enduring legacy.
Boba Fett (Jeremy Bulloch, Daniel Logan, Temuera Morrison)
A character whose legendary status vastly outweighs his screen time is the mysterious bounty hunter Boba Fett, who was first physically played by the late Jeremy Bulloch in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and voiced by Jason Wingreen in the former movie. We met Boba as a young boy in 2002’s Attack of the Clones, as played by New Zealand-born actor Daniel Logan, and his father, Jango, played by fellow New Zealander Temuera Morrison, who would go on to assume the fan-favorite role himself on The Mandalorian and on his own Disney+ miniseries, The Book of Boba Fett. Morrison's Boba has also been heard in Empire instead of Wingreen's since the 2004 edits to the Original Trilogy.
Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader (James Earl Jones, David Prowse, Sebastian Shaw, Jake Lloyd, Hayden Christensen, Spencer Wilding)
A Star Wars veteran making, arguably, the most exciting return on the Obi-Wan Kenobi cast is Hayden Christensen as the Sith Lord formerly known as Anakin Skywalker, Darth Vader - a role he also shares on the series with James Earl Jones, who has voiced the iconic villain since the beginning. David Prowse would usually wear the suit, save when Sebastian Shaw played a reformed, unhelmeted Anakin at the end of Return of the Jedi and when Spencer Wilding donned the costume in Rogue One. Jake Lloyd played a very young, uncorrupted Anakin in 1999’s The Phantom Menace before Christensen took over the role to play him as a Padawan and, later, a Jedi Knight in the final two prequels.
Emperor Palpatine (Clive Revill, Marjorie Eaton, Ian McDiarmid)
Younger Star Wars fans likely just know Ian McDiarmid as Emperor Palpatine, but those who experienced the original trilogy in its prime remember how different Darth Vader’s boss first looked and sounded in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back when his holographic image was physically portrayed by Marjorie Eaton and voiced by Clive Revill. The role was recast for 1983’s Return of the Jedi with McDiarmid, who went on to reprise him in the prequel trilogy and 2019’s The Rise of Skywalker and was added into the 2004 re-release of Empire.
Han Solo (Harrison Ford, Alden Ehrenreich)
To Star Wars fans of any generation, Han Solo is and always will be Harrison Ford, who was still working as a carpenter when his American Graffiti director George Lucas cast him as the captain of the Millennium Falcon in the first Star Wars. However, the Academy Award nominee himself was said to be very impressed by Alden Ehrenreich’s performance in the title role of 2018’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, which traces the outlaw’s origins from serving the Imperial Army to winning his famed ship in a poker game from another familiar face.
Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams, Donald Glover)
One would assume that no one else could ever play Lando Calrissian - the mayor of the Cloud City and old friend of Han Solo (despite pronouncing his name wrong) - with as much charm and charisma as Emmy nominee Billy Dee Williams. However, Emmy and Grammy winner Donald Glover proved that was not the case by absolutely nailing his portrayal of the smuggler-turned-resistance leader while he still owned the Millennium Falcon in Solo.
Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew, Joonas Suotamo)
Another actor who would portray a legendary original Star Wars character was Joonas Suotamo, whose tenure as Han Solo’s Wookiee friend and co-pilot, Chewbacca, began when he shared the role with its originator, the 7’3” Peter Mayhew, in 2015’s The Force Awakens. The Finnish basketball player took over the role completely for 2017’s The Last Jedi and reprised him in Solo and The Rise of Skywalker, but the first name fans still associate Chewie with is Mayhew, who sadly passed away at the age of 74 in 2019.
On second thought, there could come a day when Joonas Suotamo is celebrated for his portrayal of Chewbacca just as strongly as Peter Mayhew, just like how Ewan McGregor and Alec Guinness are equally praised for their respective performances as Obi-Wan Kenobi. In a franchise as endurable as Star Wars, a dizzying rotation of different people in the same part eventually becomes a necessity, so each actor should be held to the same fair standard. Therefore, in my book, there is not just one Lando, or one Boba Fett, or even one Han Solo (and I say that as a huge Harrison Ford fan), but a wonderful assortment of different depictions to revisit time and time again.
Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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