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What the cast of the original Star Wars trilogy looks like today

It's been more than four decades since Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope dazzled audiences. All three episodes of the original trilogy have stood the test of time, continually delighting generations of new viewers—even those born decades after their initial release. But what about the cast? How have they aged, and what have they been up to since the Rebels blew up the second Death Star? Let's take a look.

Mark Hamill — Luke Skywalker

Mark Hamill is one of television's most recognizable voice actors, having voiced Skips on Regular Show and Senator Stampingston on Metalocalypse, among many others. Of course, he's also the most iconic voice of The Joker. Still, most people know Hamill for his onscreen performances as Luke Skywalker—a role he isn't finished playing.

In order to get back into Jedi Master shape for his part in 2017's The Last Jedi, Hamill, born in 1951, had to get back on the tried-and-true Hollywood diet of not eating junk food. "You just cut out all the things you love," he told Vanity Fair. "No more candy bars. No more stops at In-N-Out."

Hamill's not afraid to share his thoughts on how he'd have written 2015's The Force Awakens differently—he would have preferred that both Skywalker and Leia be present for Han Solo's death. "As it is," he noted, "Chewie's there, and how much can you get out of [passable Chewbacca wail] 'Nyaaarghhh!' and two people who have known Han for, what, 20 minutes?" Hamill wanted to make his triumphant return in the film's climactic battle, but had to wait for a wordless appearance in Force Awakens' final scene. Better late than never—here's to a lot more of Luke in The Last Jedi.

Harrison Ford — Han Solo

Undoubtedly the biggest (Hollywood) star in the Star Wars universe, Harrison Ford has spent most of his career playing the leading man in major motion pictures. In addition to playing Han Solo in the original trilogy and The Force Awakens, Ford is the face of the Indiana Jones franchise, and played Rick Deckard in Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049. He also played Jack Ryan in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, President James Marshall in Air Force One, and Colonel Graff in Ender's Game—just to name a few.

Ford always wanted his character to die at the end of the original Star Wars trilogy, but—spoiler alert!—it didn't happen. So how did he feel about the decision to kill off Solo in The Force Awakens?

According to director J.J. Abrams, Ford had no qualms with the gut-wrenching moment. "He was very thoughtful about it, and he got it," Abrams told Fandango. "He understood why it was so powerful ... Harrison's always said that he knew that Han needed to have clear utility ... it's about bringing this new villain to the fore, and there's nothing I could think of that is more hideous than patricide, especially when it comes to Han Solo." Don't remind us.

Peter Mayhew — Chewbacca

It isn't the only role he's landed in his long career, but Peter Mayhew is most widely known as the galaxy's most famous Wookiee, Chewbacca.

Mayhew has played Han Solo's furry pal for decades, stepping into the costume every time we've seen Chewbacca to date, but the 73-year-old actor passed the Bowcaster on to Finnish-born basketball player Joonas Suotamo—who already had some practice as Mayhew's stunt double—for the Han Solo standalone film. "Peter's guidance and kindness have been invaluable gifts which warmed my spirit and prepared me for this journey," Suotamo wrote in an official statement, "I aspire to make Peter proud and bring Star Wars fans the Chewie they know and love." Sounds good to us.

Though Mayhew leaves a big, furry suit to fill, fans can look forward to hearing Wookiee roars for years to come—and they can keep up with his social media updates (including some incredibly cool firsthand memories and memorabilia from his years on the Star Wars set) via Twitter.

Anthony Daniels — C-3PO

Everyone knows Anthony Daniels as the gold-plated droid C-3PO, but he's done plenty of less widely seen work, including roles in Bruges-La-Morte, The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady, The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Attack of the Hawkmen, and Help! I'm No Bigger Than a Bug.

As a Star Wars lifer, Daniels has some strong opinions about the franchise. He's not a particularly big fan of Episodes I-III, telling The Guardian that "the [prequels'] effects are clever but pointless. The skill is there, but so what? Coldness, that's the word. Bleakness, even."

Daniels has issues with the franchise's new owners, Disney—particularly their strict control over the films' secrecy. The actor once tweeted that he'd "met so-and-so. An actor who plays a ... thing in the film. A character. Immediately," he recalled, "I received a message from Disney: 'Remove the tweet! You're not allowed to say that!' Honestly. It's a kind of Kremlin attitude." And don't even ask Daniels about Rogue One's K-2SO. It's a bit of a sore subject.

David Prowse — Darth Vader

Disney and LucasFilm have done a great job of getting the old gang back together for the most recent additions to the Star Wars film franchise, but one actor who's left out is David Prowse, the man really behind the menacing Darth Vader mask.

"I didn't know anything about Darth Vader coming back, actually," Prowse told Radio Times regarding the character's appearance in 2016's Rogue One. Though he claimed to be delighted by the news of Vader's return—still featuring James Earl Jones' voice—he couldn't deny feeling slighted, saying that "it'd be nice to be offered the job again, because I'm still fit and healthy, and I'm still Darth Vader in and around the country."

Prowse, however, has never had a particularly healthy relationship with LucasFilm. When filming A New Hope, he was entirely unaware of the fact that George Lucas never actually intended to use the actor's voice. Later, Prowse spoiled the whole "Luke, I am your father" twist a solid two years before The Empire Strikes Back hit theaters. Prowse has allegedly never seen a cent from Return of the Jedi, which may help explain why he appeared in the unfavorable documentary The People vs. George Lucas—which all but permanently alienated Prowse from the Star Wars family.

These days, Prowse claims he simply doesn't care, stating he "doesn't even own Darth Vader's mask anymore."

James Earl Jones — Darth Vader (voice)

Though James Earl Jones didn't actually wear the suit, his voice is—for all intents and purposes—Darth Vader.

Jones is a legend of both the screen, and easily has one the most recognizable voices in the history of film. Not only did he voice Vader, he also lent his pipes to Mufasa in The Lion King. In front of the cameras, he played Terence Mann in Field of Dreams, Admiral Greer in The Hunt for Red October, and Mr. Mertle in The Sandlot, among others.

On the subject of Star Wars, Jones says he "lucked out." As a Mississippi-born boy with a stutter, he claims he was very fortunate to overcome his handicaps and land the $7,000 gig. When asked about his most famous line—in which he tells Luke that he is, in fact, his father—Jones said he thought Vader was fibbing. "When I first saw the dialogue that said 'Luke, I am your father,'" Jones recalled, "I said to myself, 'he's lying. I wonder how they're going to play that lie out.'"

Billy Dee Williams — Lando Calrissian

He's had a long career that includes roles like Harvey Dent in Tim Burton's Batman, but Billy Dee William's claim to fame is undoubtedly playing Lando Calrissian, a side character turned hero in the original Star Wars trilogy.

Williams passed the famous role on to Donald Glover for the "young Han Solo" standalone film, and in February 2017, they were spotted having lunch. "He had questions about [Lando]," Williams told The Hollywood Reporter. "I didn't want to impose on anything he wanted to do ... I know he has his own ideas. He's a very talented young man."

Nevertheless, Williams isn't ready to part with Lando permanently. "Well, eventually something else has to happen with it," he said. "But I'm not saying goodbye to that character. It's still very much a part of my life. I created that character." And though Williams was nowhere to be found in The Force Awakens—a notable absence with Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill all showing their faces—it's hard to imagine he won't pop up before Episode IX has run its course.

Regarding a possible cameo in the Han Solo movie, Williams just had this to say: "If they asked me, I wouldn't say no."

Frank Oz — Yoda (voice)

In addition to controlling and voicing Yoda in the original Star Wars trilogy, Frank Oz is responsible for more famous puppets than you might realize. He's the man behind Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, Animal, and other famous Muppets, and his puppeteering doesn't stop there. He's also responsible for childhood favorites Bert, Grover, Cookie Monster, and others on Sesame Street.

Oz is also an accomplished director. He helmed The Dark Crystal alongside Jim Henson, and some of his more widely seen live-action efforts include Little Shop of Horrors, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Indian in the Cupboard, The Stepford Wives, and Death at a Funeral.

Controlling the Yoda puppet was no easy feat. "I tried extra hard to make it look easy," Oz told The Hollywood Reporter. "Nobody should even notice I'm doing the job. The goal is for Yoda to be transcendent and I believe we did that." Generations of fans would agree that Oz succeeded, but is Yoda transcendent enough to appear in The Last Jedi? Oz won't say, but with the puppetmaster being spotted on set, it would seem that we may not have seen the last of Luke Skywalker's Jedi Master.

Jeremy Bulloch — Boba Fett

Despite a minimal amount of screen time and only a handful of lines, Boba Fett is one of the Star Wars universe's most beloved characters.

Jeremy Bulloch correctly assumed his voice would be dubbed over in post-production, and didn't mind at all. In fact, he "was quite happy" with the result. "It's quite fun because, at the time, you think, I wonder what kind of voice this will be," he told Vanity Fair. "Whether it will be electronic or will it be just an ordinary voice? Looking at the outfit, I thought it would be some croaky type of person." Instead, it ended up being Jason Wingreen's menacing, but quite human, voice—which has since been replaced by the voice of the prequels' Temuera Morrison.

It also turns out that Fett's famously badass bounty-hunting outfit wasn't fun to wear. "It is possibly the most uncomfortable costume I've ever worn," Bulloch claimed. "As they clicked the jet-pack into position, you'd lean back. It was top-heavy and you were almost falling over. And the backs of your legs and your feet—at the end of it you'd just long for a hot bath." Sadly, all Fett got was a hot Sarlacc pit.

Ian McDiarmid — The Emperor

Ian McDiarmid is a man of the theatre, having starred in many productions while taking home a Tony Award for his role in Faith Healer. That being said, he'll always be best known for his role as the evil Sith Lord and Imperial Emperor Palpatine—who sports one nasty-looking mug, but has the enviable ability to shoot lightning bolts from the tips of his fingers.

McDiarmid wasn't originally supposed to play the most evil man in the galaxy. According to USA Today, a much older actor was tapped to play the part, but his eyes didn't respond well to the Emperor's yellow contact lenses. When McDiarmid got the call to go in and talk to George Lucas and Return of the Jedi director Richard Marquand, he didn't even know which role he was being considered for. "I knew who the Emperor was vaguely because he had made an appearance in The Empire Strikes Back," McDiarmid said, "but the idea that that should be me was beyond surreal."

It was actually the actor's nose which got him the job... at least partly. "As I was leaving and just going out the door," recalled McDiarmid, "George said, 'Oh by the way, great nose.' I thought that was an unusual thing to say, but then I thought maybe that's a good sign." As it would turn out, McDiarmid's nose was one of the only parts of his face not heavily altered by the Emperor's grotesque makeup.

Kenny Baker — R2-D2

Everybody knows R2-D2 is a little droid with a big personality. Fewer people know, however, that without Kenny Baker, R2-D2 would have just been a lifeless robot.

Measuring in at 3 feet 8 inches tall, Baker portrayed R2-D2 from inside the droid's shell, providing the little things casual viewers might take for granted. For instance, what would R2-D2 have been without—as StarWars.com points out—his nervous wobbling illustrating fear, or the slow turn of his domed head signifying suspicion? There's a lot of unique acting that went into giving the droid such memorable traits, and George Lucas rightfully called Baker "the heart and soul of R2-D2."

Baker didn't only play R2-D2 in both the original trilogy and the prequels. He also played Paploo, the rambunctious Ewok who jacked a speeder bike on the forest moon of Endor. (Say what you will about Ewoks, but Paploo was hardcore.) Outside the Star Wars universe, Baker acted in a long list of productions that included Labyrinth, Willow, and Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Baker died on August 13, 2016, after battling an illness. In February 2017, it was announced that Scottish actor Jimmy Vee would assume the role of the R2 unit in future productions.

Carrie Fisher — Princess Leia Organa

Star Wars made Carrie Fisher a worldwide star, but the feisty Leia Organa was far from her only character. Film fans know Fisher played the Mystery Woman in Blues Brothers, Carol Peterson in The 'Burbs, and Marie in When Harry Met Sally..., among many others.

Fisher's onscreen work was only part of her incredible career, however. She was also an accomplished writer—not just as an author whose published works included the bestsellers Postcards from the Edge and Surrender the Pink, but as a playwright and screenwriter. The latter career included the screenplay for the film adaptation of Postcards from the Edge as well as a slew of projects for which Fisher was hired as one of Hollywood's most in-demand script doctors; although it was often uncredited, her work helped polish future hits like Sister Act and The Wedding Singer.

Fisher died on December 27, 2016 at the age of 60, following a massive heart attack. An autopsy report later revealed she had cocaine, morphine and ecstasy in her system when she died, prompting her survivors to try and further educate people about the perils of addiction—a cause Fisher was passionate about in life, openly sharing her long struggle with sobriety.