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Unexpected Demands Made By Star Wars Actors

It's hard to imagine the world of entertainment without "Star Wars." The franchise has dominated popular culture since its debut in 1977, with blockbuster movies, successful television shows, and a vast array of books, toys, comics, and video games arriving every year. Growing out of a film that featured a cast of relatively unknown actors setting out to save the galaxy from the evil Darth Vader and the Empire, "Star Wars" is now ingrained in the zeitgeist of Western culture. More than 40 years on, the likes of Yoda, Han Solo, and Boba Fett are household names.

While the special effects, expertly crafted models, and iconic music have all played a part in the success of the franchise, no one has played a bigger role than the actors who portray the various characters. While many of the "Star Wars" performers from the past have sadly passed away, their importance to the series cannot be overstated. Without stars such as Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill, the fictional world would be very different.

That also means that these actors, who are in demand and are often needed to return for sequels, can pretty much name their price when it comes to negotiations. That doesn't just mean getting a big pay bump either — some of the "Star Wars" actors are able to make outrageous and strange demands that no one else would get away with. Read on to find out exactly what the cast has requested over the years to get them to sign on the dotted line.

Liam Neeson only wants to return fully for a movie

While Liam Neeson had a major role in "The Phantom Menace," the actor only appeared in that one movie before effectively departing the series. But there are certainly plenty of opportunities for the popular star to return to the world of "Star Wars." After all, the likes of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill have reprised their roles in the sequel trilogy, while Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, and Temuera Morrison have all turned up in recent television series such as "The Mandalorian" and "Obi-Wan Kenobi."

The actor recently confirmed that he would be willing to return to "Star Wars," although he seems prepared to only come back in certain circumstances. Neeson has voiced the Jedi Master several times outside of "The Phantom Menace," according to IMDb, and even made a brief surprise appearance in the final episode of "Obi-Wan Kenobi."

But in quotes recently reported by IGN, Neeson explained that he would only want to reprise his role as Qui-Gon Jinn if it was in a film, seemingly ruling out a major role in any upcoming Disney+ series. He said, "I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to TV, I must admit, I just like the big screen, you know?" This doesn't seem to be a flat-out refusal to come back for more cameos or voiceover work, as evidenced by his recent appearances. But he might be unwilling to return for a project that features the Jedi Master as a main character unless it's a movie, effectively ruling out a similar TV series chronicling the life of Qui-Gon Jinn. 

Donnie Yen wanted the ability to transform his character

Donnie Yen is an actor from Hong Kong who has appeared in a wide range of movies, from "Ip Man" to "xXx: Return of Xander Cage." For the 2016 film "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," he portrayed the character of Chirrut Îmwe, who becomes an ally of the Rebel Alliance and is instrumental in helping Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor complete their mission to steal the plans for the Death Star. A human born on Jedha, he is a member of the Guardians of the Whills and an expert warrior with his uneti-wood staff and lightbow, despite his blindness.

Landing the expert martial artist was something of a coup for the movie, but Yen took some convincing to join the cast. Speaking to Jet Set magazine, the actor revealed that he was hesitant to appear in the film because of the distance and time he would have to spend away from his home while filming in the U.K. However, he also said that he told director Gareth Edwards that he wanted input on his character if he were to accept because, as he said, "when you hire me, you're not just getting an actor; you are getting a choreographer, a director." It was Yen's suggestion to make the character blind and he subsequently was able to influence other areas of Îmwe's personality and backstory.

Temuera Morrison wants Boba Fett to get back to bounty hunting

Temuera Morrison only joined the "Star Wars" universe in 2002 when he portrayed the bounty hunter Jango Fett in "Attack of the Clones." This role led to him portraying the Clone Troopers in the franchise and later replacing the original actor's voice as Boba Fett for the 2004 re-release of "The Empire Strikes Back." Since then, he has portrayed the infamous bounty hunter physically as well in both "The Mandalorian" and "The Book of Boba Fett," expanding his "Star Wars" credits to everything from video games to animated series, according to IMDb.

Although the New Zealand-born actor has been happy to reprise his role as Fett in a number of recent "Star Wars" projects, he seemingly wants the character to return to his roots. Speaking to ET, Morrison said that "we've got to see the old Boba Fett" and that "it's time to get him back to his badass ways. No two ways around that." With Fett being what The Ringer describes as an icon of the series since his very first introduction in the original trilogy, it would no doubt be a popular move with fans.

Anthony Daniels didn't want to just do C-3PO's voice

Out of all of the characters and actors who have been part of the "Star Wars" franchise, only Anthony Daniels and C-3PO have appeared in every entry in the Skywalker Saga. In fact, according to IMDb, he has provided the voice of the character dozens of times across films, television series, and video games. Not bad for someone who, when speaking to Yahoo, confirmed that he was initially reluctant to even appear in "A New Hope," as he believed it would just be a low-budget sci-fi movie.

Along with a host of other actors who had appeared in the original "Star Wars" films, Daniels returned for the new sequel trilogy following Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm. He had a few specific demands in order to ensure that he would return, though, and chief among them was in regard to his actual performance as C-3PO. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Daniels explained that he told "The Force Awakens" director J.J. Abrams that he was not prepared to just voice the character — he wanted to step inside the costume and portray the droid physically.

John Boyega needed a cooler costume

John Boyega was one of four new main cast members who were introduced in "The Force Awakens." Along with Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, and Adam Driver, he would effectively become one of the faces of the sequel trilogy. Although he had been a fan of the series and was incredibly excited about landing the role of Finn, Boyega has since expressed his disappointment with the way his character turned out, telling GQ that he felt he and other non-white actors were pushed aside in the next two films.

With "The Force Awakens" appearing to be his favorite film in the series that he participated in, even that wasn't perfect. When it came time to reprise the role in "The Last Jedi," Boyega had one request for director Rian Johnson. According to Screencrush, Boyega asked for a cooler costume as he felt that the outfits he had to wear in the first movie made him look too boring. Johnson apparently fulfilled Boyega's request to look "way more Resistance."

Oscar Isaac asked for his character to be from Yavin 4

One of the new cast members introduced in the "Star Wars" sequel trilogy, Oscar Isaac was responsible for bringing the character of Poe Dameron to life in "The Force Awakens" and the two subsequent films. The character is a human pilot who works with the Resistance in their battle against the First Order, eventually rising to become a General for the group. What some people may not know is that the character actually comes from the jungle moon known as Yavin 4, as confirmed by StarWars.com.

Speaking to Fandango, Isaac revealed that he was actually responsible for the origins of his character. The actor was born in Guatemala, where the scenes at the rebel base on Yavin 4 in "A New Hope" were filmed. In homage to his home country, he asked if Poe could come from the moon to give the character a link to Guatemala. J.J Abrams and the other filmmakers agreed, making it official in a comic book called "Star Wars: Shattered Empire."

Billie Lourd wanted to be in scenes with Carrie Fisher

Billie Lourd is not a major part of the "Star Wars" movies, but she does have a strong link with the series as the only child of Carrie Fisher. So when she was cast in "The Force Awakens" as Lieutenant Connix — one of the officers working within the Resistance — she jumped at the opportunity to work directly with her mother. She was later able to act alongside Fisher again in "The Last Jedi" and described the experience in an interview with Time as happy and positive, helping to push her to a career as an actor.

Following Fisher's tragic death in 2016, director J.J. Abrams developed a way to use archival footage to include Princess Leia in "The Rise of Skywalker." He told Vanity Fair that he initially didn't include Lourd's character in any scenes with Leia as he "didn't want it to be uncomfortable for her." However, Lourd specifically asked to be in those scenes, as Abrams revealed that she wanted her future kids to see her acting with her own mother.

Domhnall Gleeson wanted to see the original trilogy on the big screen

"Harry Potter" and "American Made" actor Domhnall Gleeson is responsible for playing one of the villains of the sequel trilogy in the form of General Armitage Hux. A leader of the First Order, he was first introduced in "The Force Awakens" and reprised the role in "The Last Jedi" and "The Rise of Skywalker." Hux acts as a balance to Adam Driver's Kylo Ren, in much the same way that Grand Moff Tarkin did with Darth Vader in "A New Hope."

Gleeson has admitted that he was never a big fan of "Star Wars" growing up and had not seen the original trilogy before being cast. Once he was confirmed for the role of Hux, he told The Independent that he asked Disney to provide a private screening of the first three films. The company agreed to the request and set up a screening in Dublin, allowing the actor to watch all three entries in a single day.

Warwick Davis asked for action figures

Warwick Davis has something of a long history with the "Star Wars" universe. He was a young boy when the first two movies were released and grew up as a fan before being cast in "Return of the Jedi" as the Ewok Wicket. This was his first role in acting and, since then, he has appeared in a number of other "Star Wars" releases, including a cameo in "The Rise of Skywalker" as Wicket, "Star Wars: Rebels," "The Force Awakens," and "The Phantom Menace."

As a child actor, Davis couldn't exactly make a lot of demands to appear in "Return of the Jedi" and was likely grateful for the experience of being involved in something he loved so much. However, at Star Wars Celebration in 2017, he appeared on stage with George Lucas and told a story about how he had written a letter to the director asking for a collection of newly released toys. Inverse reports that the letter read, "I hope this is not too rude of me to ask you, but would it be possible for you to send me the latest figures and walker." The director obliged and sent several toys that Davis still owns to this day.

Alec Guinness demanded his pay be doubled and a share of the profits

Alec Guinness was already a Hollywood stalwart when he was cast in "Star Wars," having appeared in dozens of films and winning an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his part in "The Bridge on the River Kwai." So it only made sense that he would be one of the highest-paid actors for the first film. After all, the rest of the main cast were relative unknowns by comparison and couldn't expect the same salary. Even then, however, Guinness was not prepared to offer his services for cheap.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actor demanded that Fox double his salary up to $150,000 in order to appear in the film. Believing that it could be a success, he also cleverly negotiated a percentage of the backend gross of the film. His 2.25% share bumped up his pay with an additional $7 million almost immediately following the movie's release and could have reached as much as $95 million by the time of his death in 2000. Add on the fact that he refused to do any promotional work for the release and it turned out to be a pretty good deal for him.

Mark Hamill asked for an evil clone of Luke

Along with his fellow veteran "Star Wars" actors, Mark Hamill agreed to return for the sequel trilogy. While he may not have agreed with every decision that was made in the story, as he famously pointed out in an interview with The New York Times, the actor has always been pretty supportive of the franchise and didn't have any outrageous demands to return.

Yet that doesn't mean that Hamill didn't have any requests at all. One of those that he did put forward to the filmmakers wasn't actually taken on board or implemented, but might have been an interesting direction for his character. According to an interview with SFX magazine (via Games Radar), Hamill wanted an evil twin of Luke to appear in the sequel trilogy.

Apparently, the idea came from his son, who had read the novel "The Last Command" where the Empire clones Luke using his severed hand. Hamill expressed his glee at the idea of being able to portray an evil version of Luke alongside the hero fans know, but ultimately understood that the story couldn't focus that much on him with the introduction of the new cast of characters.

Anthony Daniels wanted the droid suit to change

Although Anthony Daniels made it clear that he was perfectly willing to return for the "Star Wars" sequel trilogy along with the likes of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill, he did have some requests. One of them involved C-3PO's costume: according to the actor, when speaking to Entertainment Weekly, he asked to have a brand new suit. This would not only help to update the quality of the exterior for modern audiences but also make it far more comfortable to wear. Daniels confirmed that these changes "made my life a lot easier" and that he could now "get it on and off very quickly."

These modifications were a big deal for the actor, who had previously spoken (via Cinemablend) about how being in the suit would make him feel isolated and lonely. The fact that he could now spend more time out of the costume gave him the ability to interact more with the cast and crew as a person. The updates also meant that he could move around more easily, along with being able to eat and drink between takes. That wasn't always possible in earlier iterations, according to a Wired feature Daniels took part in.

Samuel L. Jackson wanted a purple lightsaber

Over the last three decades, Samuel L. Jackson has established himself as one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. He has appeared in legendary films such as "Pulp Fiction" and "Jurassic Park," is a staple of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and is regarded as one of the most bankable stars in the business. That's given him the ability to make demands that movie studios simply have to grant if they want him to appear in their movies, including a contractual clause that gives him time off to golf whenever he is shooting a film.

When it comes to "Star Wars," Jackson plays the Jedi Master Mace Windu, with the character appearing in the prequel trilogy of films. While Windu doesn't draw his lightsaber in "The Phantom Menace," both "Attack of the Clones" and "Revenge of the Sith" show him using a purple blade. This was unique at the time the movies were released, as Jedi Knights had up to that point only used blue and green lightsabers, with the Sith using a red variety.

How exactly did Jackson change the status quo and get a purple lightsaber for his character? It seems he had to badger George Lucas about it a lot. In this behind-the-scenes video, the actor can be seen asking Lucas about the possibility. According to an interview with the podcast "Happy Sad Confused," Jackson asked about the change several times. The director surprised him with a reveal of the purple lightsaber some weeks later, when he showed Jackson a cut of the film.

James Earl Jones didn't want an acting credit

Darth Vader is arguably one of the best villains in any movie franchise and, while his signature suit plays a part in that, a lot of the credit goes to the terror-inducing voice provided by James Earl Jones. The veteran actor has provided the voice of the Sith Lord since the original 1977 film, reprising the role in both of the sequels to "A New Hope" as well as more recent releases such as "Star Wars: Rebels," "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," and "Obi-Wan Kenobi."

But a quick glance at his IMDb page shows that his first two appearances in "A New Hope" and "The Empire Strikes Back" were uncredited. This wasn't some sort of mistake, but rather a request from the actor that George Lucas not include him in the credits. This was because Jones felt that his role in the films was "just special effects," according to Force Material, and that the person inside the suit, David Prowse, had contributed more. He finally relented for the third film, "Return of the Jedi," by which time most of the audience was aware that he was the voice behind Darth Vader.

Alec Guinness only wanted to work one day on The Empire Strikes Back

It's become common knowledge that Alec Guinness was not a particularly big fan of "Star Wars." Despite playing the important character of Obi-Wan Kenobi, which increased his popularity with a younger audience and earned him a lot of money, the actor expressed regret several times about taking the job. An article in The Guardian suggested that this was largely because he didn't enjoy the dialogue and felt out of touch around the far younger cast. That might be why Guinness was very reluctant to return for the two sequels, despite the insistence of George Lucas.

The Hollywood Reporter noted that the director tried to convince Guinness to come back for "The Empire Strikes Back." Although he was told he would only need to film for a few days, the actor kept trying to turn down the opportunity. A week after a lunch outing with Lucas in 1979, Guinness confirmed in his own diary that he had finally agreed to return for the sequel but that it was on the condition that he would only be on set for a single day. He wrote in his journal entry, "It's dull rubbishy stuff but, seeing what I owe to George Lucas, I finally hadn't had the heart to refuse."