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15 Best Actors Star Wars Wasted

CBR 1/9/2023 Sean Migalla
© Provided by CBR

When the first Star Wars film came out, nobody really expected it to be a huge hit. After the original trilogy became a worldwide sensation, it seemed that Star Wars films had their pick of talented actors when it came time to cast the roles.

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While newer Star Wars films managed to get some big names, the movies didn't always do the best job of utilizing their talent. In fact, some actors seemed to be pretty poorly cast in the role that they were given. Other actors did a great job with their roles, but just weren't given enough screen time or else had their performances inhibited by poor creative choices.

Update January 7th, 2023 by Louis Kemner: by now, the Star Wars universe is bigger and better than ever in Disney's current canon, with eleven live-action movies and many new TV shows for Star Wars fans to explore. This space adventure involves some of the industry's best musical composers, special effects experts, costume designers, and certainly talented actors, and many of them truly shine in that faraway galaxy. But many other actors are wasted in the Star Wars franchise, either because their character didn't appear often enough or because the actor didn't have a worthwhile role to play.

Daniel Craig Appeared Only As A Brief Cameo

Daniel Craig has a lot of range. He's just as convincing as the good-natured Benoit Blanc as he is the hardened spy James Bond. That makes it unfortunate that the only role he has played in Star Wars was a quick cameo hidden under a Stormtrooper helmet.

Craig's cameo doesn't even require too much acting from him, and could easily have been done by an extra. While it was a fun Easter egg for audiences, it was still a waste of a remarkable talent. There are plenty of roles Craig could play in a Star Wars film, and, hopefully, Disney doesn't decide that this small guest appearance would disqualify him from playing later roles.

Both Natalie Portman And Padmé Were Robbed By Bad Writing

Natalie Portman is capable of some great performances, as proven by The Black Swan and Annihilation. In some of her scenes as Padmé, audiences got a glimpse of how interesting the character could have been if her role as an idealistic politician had been given more screen time. Unfortunately, that was rarely the focus of her character.

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Natalie Portman spent most of her time as Padmé shackled to Anakin and forced to read some very unnatural sounding romantic dialogue. It's a shame, because she probably would have been great as the more proactive Padmé seen in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series. Instead, Portman spent a majority of the prequels in largely the same sort of scenes, unable to explore the depth of her character.

Werner Herzog Was Never The Real Threat

Werner Herzog may be more prolific a director than an actor, but he still has an incredible on-screen presence. This is helped in no small part by his distinct voice, which lends an air of gravity to every line of dialogue he speaks.

While Werner Herzog appeared to be a big player in The Mandalorian's first episode as the mysterious client, it turned out he was never the true antagonist of the series. His character was somewhat unceremoniously discarded near the end of the season and replaced with Giancarlo Esposito's Moff Gideon. While Esposito is an incredibly talented actor as well, it still felt like a waste to have Herzog's character play such a small role in the end.

Oscar Isaac's Time As Poe Was Ruined By Lack Of Vision

The Star Wars sequel films seemed to lack a cohesive vision in many ways. One issue that was pretty clear to audiences was that the series had no idea what to do with the character of Poe Dameron, leaving Oscar Isaac without too much to do.

What little fans do get of Poe Dameron in The Force Awakens had them excited to see where his character would go in future installments. Oscar Isaac was charming as Poe Dameron and had great chemistry with John Boyega as Finn, so audiences were looking forward to them teaming up in the future. Unfortunately, Poe was largely isolated from the rest of the main cast in the second film and as the saga wrapped up it still felt like audiences knew little about him.

Rose Byrne Barely Existed On Screen

Rose Byrne is a very talented comedian but is also capable of playing more dramatic roles. That's why it's so unfortunate that Byrne was cast for a largely nothing role in several short scenes of the prequel trilogy.

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In Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, Rose Byrne plays the role of Padmé's decoy, Dormé. Byrne's character is mainly seen sitting silently next to Padmé, and only gets a few short lines of dialogue. Any actor could have easily pulled off this role, so it seemed like a waste to use one as talented as Byrne for such a small presence.

Donnie Yen's Role In Rogue One Was Shallow And Boring

Star Wars fans were very excited when it was announced that Ip Man star Donnie Yen would be joining the cast of Rogue One. Yen's introduction in the midst of a thrilling action scene made it seem like Rogue One was going to make the most of his inclusion, but things only went downhill from there.

After his initial introduction, Donnie Yen spends most of his time as Chirrut Îmwe just hanging out not doing too much. Even during the climactic battle of Rogue One, the most exciting thing Yen does is slowly walk across a battlefield while the Force protects him from being shot. Yen's character, like the rest of the Rogue One crew, is killed off at the end of the movie.

Donald Glover Deserved His Own Movie As Lando

Donald Glover was an excellent choice to play a young Lando Calrissian, and he absolutely nailed the role in Solo. Unfortunately, Lando isn't as big a presence in Solo as he should have been. While this wouldn't have been a big issue initially, a change in Disney's plans for Star Wars made things worse.

Initially, Donald Glover was supposed to both appear in Solo and get his own movie as Lando. However, with the poor response and box office from Solo, Disney reworked their plans for Star Wars and Glover's film was scrapped.

Liam Neeson Should Have Returned In Some Way During The Prequels

Liam Neeson's Qui-Gon Jinn played a similar role to Alec Guinness's Obi-Wan in the original Star Wars films. He was the mentor to one of the heroes, and he died in the first film leaving room for the hero to step up and take his place.

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Throughout the original Star Wars trilogy, Obi-Wan returned in each movie as a Force ghost to offer sage advice. It would have been nice to see Qui-Gon in a similar role in the Star Wars prequels to give Neeson more screen time. Unfortunately, fans only got Neeson for one movie, and it was arguably the worst of the prequel films.

Samuel L. Jackson Wasn't Used To His Full Potential

Samuel L. Jackson is a great actor. He brings so much energy to his roles and has a way of bringing intensity to a scene without going too far. However, Jackson's talent as both an action hero and a big personality was wasted in the role of Mace Windu.

Because the Jedi were presented as a largely sedate and emotionless group, Jackson wasn't allowed to bring the same intensity as Windu that he normally can. This left fans feeling cheated since many had expected Jackson to be playing a tough take-no-prisoners type of warrior as opposed to a guy who sat around meditating most of the time.

Disney Didn't Know What To Do With John Boyega

Just like Poe, fans were very excited about Finn after his introduction in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The concept of a Stormtrooper turned good was a new one for the series, and John Boyega did a great job making Finn likable.

Finn had a strong character arc in the first sequel movie, but the filmmakers didn't seem to know what to do with him in the sequels. Boyega had such great chemistry with co-stars Daisy Ridley and Oscar Isaac that fans wanted to see Finn explore a romantic relationship with either of their characters. Unfortunately, Finn wasn't even given a lot of time to interact with Rey and Poe in future films or form a deeper relationship with them.

Benicio Del Toro Had a Limited Run As DJ

In 2017's The Last Jedi, the heroic duo Finn and Rose Tico visited Canto Bight to meet the code breaker, as per Maz Kanata's suggestion. They failed to make contact with him, but they did meet an eccentric hacker named DJ in the casino's jail.

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Famed actor Benicio Del Toro portrayed DJ in The Last Jedi's second half, but the character was really just a plot device who betrayed Finn and Rose before skipping off into the sunset. Benicio Del Toro was amusing as DJ, but he didn't say or do anything memorable in that time.

Warwick Davis Was A Space Teddy Bear

British actor Warwick Davis has appeared in many TV and movie roles since the 1980s, including a handful of roles in the Star Wars movies. Warwick Davis often portrays petite characters such as small droids, a street vendor in 1999's The Phantom Menace, and most of all, Wicket the Ewok.

Wicket W. Warrick is a notable Ewok from 1983's Return of the Jedi, a teddy bear-like alien who met princess Leia in person and befriended her. These are wonderfully cute roles, but fans might wonder if Star Wars could have given Warwick Davis a more substantial role too.

Christopher Lee Was Underused As Count Dooku

The late Christopher Lee is remembered as a truly remarkable person in his decades-long acting career and in real life alike. He accomplished many astonishing things and has portrayed memorable characters like Saruman the villainous wizard in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

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Pound for pound, Mr. Lee did an excellent job with his character Count Dooku/Darth Tyranus. But the prequel trilogy simply didn't have enough of him, and he died almost right away in 2005's Revenge of the Sith because Count Dooku had become a loose end by then.

Mads Mikkelsen Had A Limited Role As Galen Erso

Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen portrayed Jyn Erso's conflicted father Galen Erso in 2016's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The highly talented Mads Mikkelsen did a fine job selling his character's conflicted and tense character arc, but he has a rather passive role, too.

Galen Erso was mostly a victim of his circumstances, and his character didn't say or do a whole lot. Mads' acting range wasn't fully utilized in this role, and then he died later in the movie before the narrative could do much more with him.

Peter Cushing Only Lasted For One Movie

Story-wise, it was immensely satisfying for the cold-blooded Grand Moff Tarkin to perish when the Death Star exploded in A New Hope. Tarkin was not only cruel, but also overconfident, and he paid for it when Luke fired those torpedoes down the exhaust port.

Still, it's a waste for the British actor Peter Cushing to bow out of the original trilogy after just one movie. If his character had survived, fans could have been treated to more of Tarkin's menace throughout the original trilogy, but perhaps humbled a little.

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