|Where Are They Now: 'Star Wars'|
|By LUCHINA FISHER (@luchina)||May 3, 2013, 11:05 AM|
This May 4, "Star Wars" fans will have something to cheer about: the prospect of the first new "Star Wars" film since 2008.
May 4 became an unofficial holiday for "Star Wars" fans after creator George Lucas was asked to repeat the movie's famous line, "May the force be with you," in a 2005 interview on German television. The interpreter translated the sentence into German as "We shall be with you on May 4."
Since then, fans worldwide have celebrated the pun, "May the fourth be with you."
This year, Disney, which took over the "Star Wars" franchise and is the parent company of ABC News, is throwing a "Death Star-sized party" at its Walt Disney World Resort.
After acquiring Lucasfilm last October, Disney announced that it would produce three new "Star Wars" films. The first, "Star Wars Episode VII," directed by J.J. Abrams, isn't scheduled to hit the big screen until 2015, but the buzz has already been building.
With some of the original cast members slated to appear, we thought it would be fun to see what the actors have been doing since the first "Star Wars" trilogy launched in 1977.
Click through to see the "Star Wars" cast, then and now.
Mark Hamill made his film debut in the original "Star Wars" trilogy as Luke Skywalker, the young star fighter pilot who rescued Princess Leia. But he found that the force never left him, despite roles in a couple other films. To escape typecasting, he took roles on Broadway and began doing voice work, most notably as the Joker in "Batman: The Animated Series." Now, 61, Hamill seemed at first reticent to reprise his role for the seventh film in the series, saying he was waiting to see the script. By March, however, Lucas told Bloomberg Businessweek that Hamill and his co-stars, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, had pretty much signed on.
Harrison Ford's casting as Hans Solo is now part of film lore: Initially hired by Lucas to read lines for actors auditioning for "Star Wars," Ford so impressed the director that Lucas cast him as Han Solo. His first lead film role, which he reprised in the "Star Wars" sequels, "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi," made him a superstar. His leading man status was solidified when he starred as Indiana Jones. Now 70, Ford is one of Hollywood's most successful actors, with his films pulling in more than $6 billion worldwide. He told a reporter on the red carpet for his latest film, "42," that he was "looking forward to" reprising Han Solo for "Star Wars Episode VII." "It's not in the bag yet, but I think it's happening," he said.
The daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher became famous for her role as Princess Leia in the original trilogy. She later carved out a successful career as a writer, adapting her novel "Postcards from the Edge" for the screen and her memoir, "Wishful Drinking," into a successful stage show. Now 56, Fisher has been upfront with her struggles with bipolar disorder, prescription drug addiction and weight. She recently joked to reporters at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo that she liked the idea of being cast in the latest "Star Wars" film, "because they are sending a trainer to my house so I can get in really good shape. So I'm really eating a lot of sugar in advance, as you can see. By the time I really get down to it I will have eaten everything."
A new generation of filmgoers was introduced to legendary actor Alec Guinness when he starred as the supremely wise Jedi knight, Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi. The role earned him an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor in 1977. Guinness had earlier won an Academy Award for best actor in 1957 for "The Bridge on the River Kwai." He died in 2000 at the age of 86.
As gold-plated android C-3PO, English actor Anthony Daniels is the only cast member to have appeared in all six "Star Wars" films as well as the 2008 CGI film "The Clone Wars" and its subsequent TV series. In addition, the 67-year-old has made TV and stage appearances and been a visiting scholar at Carnegie Mellon University.
Fellow British actor Kenny Baker was the man inside R2-D2 for all six "Star Wars" films. At 3-feet-8-inches, Baker was also cast as an Ewok in 1983's "Return of the Jedi." After starring alongside Daniels in six films, Baker went public with friction between the two stars. In a 2011 blog interview online, Baker, now 78, said, "Daniels has no time for any of the other actors, not just me. ... I just don't like him and have never understood what his problem is. Other than Daniels thinks he was the greatest gift to George Lucas and I was merely a nobody who operated a robot's controls and didn't contribute anything from an acting perspective."
As Han Solo's loyal first mate, the hairy Chewbacca, 7-foot-3-inch actor Peter Mayhew starred in four of the "Star Wars" films. Since then, Mayhew, now 68, has made numerous appearances as Chewbacca, who Entertainment Weekly named as one of the "greatest sidekicks" in film history.
While British bodybuilder David Prowse filled out the physical form of Darth Vader, James Earl Jones provided his deep, imposing voice, though he was originally uncredited -- at his own request -- on the first two films. Jones, now 82, has reprised his role as the voice of Vader in "Star Wars" games and theme park attractions, as well as several other films. In a career spanning more than 50 years, Jones has won three Emmys and two Tonys, making him one of the world's most distinguished and versatile actors.