For many, Gunsmoke was more than just a TV western, it was an epic journey that many followed for over two decades. Join us as we explore some of the most intriguing and obscure details about Matt Dillon and the gang from Dodge City.
Just One Kiss?
Ultimately, romance wasn’t the primary focus of Gunsmoke. However, you would’ve expected the main character Matt Dillon to have had at least a couple of love interests. In 20 seasons, James Arness’s character only kissed one person – The Waltons‘ very own, Michael Learned.
Kitty Became Classy
Before the TV version of Gunsmoke first aired, the story was presented on the radio by a different cast. Also, the characters were very different. Most notably, Kitty Russell was portrayed as a very different type of lady. Although never confirmed, it was heavily implied by creator Norman McDonnell that she was an escort. “She is just someone Matt has to visit every once in a while,” he said. However, they changed Kitty’s character in the show in order to make it more family-friendly.
Long before he was cast as Matt Dillon, James Arness served in the US Army during World War II. While working as a rifleman on Operation Shingle in 1944, the young soldier severely wounded himself, causing considerable damage to his leg and foot. The effects were longterm and had drastic ramifications on his walking. So whenever Arness had a scene to shoot where there was a lot of walking required, it would take priority over everything else so that he could give his leg/foot enough time to rest.
Kitty Left For A Strange Reason
There was no denying that Glenn Strange, who was an actual cowboy-turned-actor, had a huge impact on his co-stars. Sadly though, at the age of 74, Strange passed away from lung cancer, just two years before the show came to an end. The loss was so great that Amanda Blake, who played Miss Kitty, couldn’t handle it, and was written out of the show the following year. Buck Taylor, who played Newly O’Brien, also named his third son after him – Cooper Glenn Taylor.
The Cast Didn’t Know It Was Over
One thing about Gunsmoke that bothered a lot of diehard fans is how it ended. Many anticipated an epic climax to what was one of the most popular shows of the last two decades. However, not only did the writers not tie up any loose ends, but there wasn’t really any loose ends to tie up! This unceremonious ending also perplexed the main cast, especially because they had no idea that the 20th season was going to be the final one.
There are many theories as to why Dennis Weaver decided to give his character Chester Goode a limp. It was reported that the producers told him to do it to appear shorter than he actually was. While it was also rumored that Dennis chose the limp to accompany his country accent, to make him stand out. The on-screen explanation was that he got it during the Civil War. However, Weaver ultimately regretted giving Chester the limp as it was so much hard work.
“Thad” Got Out Of Dodge
There is no doubt that Roger Ewing’s most memorable role in his career was that of Clayton Thaddeus Greenwood, better known on the show as “Thad.” Although the actor played the marshal for two seasons, he soon went off the radar. “It’s been 40+ years since I was last involved in ‘show biz,’ and I have appreciated my anonymity all these years,” he said. “I am not one to seek ‘fame & recognition’…I am a very private person and not experienced in today’s ‘world of celebrity.'”
Everyone Wanted To Be Matt Dillon
It was reported that a staggering 26 actors were considered for the role of Matt Dillon. This made sense, seeing that the show’s success heavily relied on the character’s performance. It also made sense that the man who voiced the character in the original radio show, William Conrad, was one of the first choices. Raymond Burr was another favorite to take on the role. “He was too big,” producer Charles Marquis Warren said. Other choices included John Pickard and Denver Pyle.
Second Time Lucky For Dennis
Although he was from Missouri, Dennis Weaver didn’t really have a country accent and believed that this would dent his chances when auditioning for the role of Chester. In fact, he was convinced that he hadn’t got the part after his first audition. He gave what he believed to be an under-par performance. As a result, Weaver begged the showrunners to give him a second chance. This time, he tried very hard by putting on a country accent. The rest was history.
Polly Could’ve Been Kitty
Matt Dillon wasn’t the only character who many people wanted to be. A lot of actresses auditioned for the role of Miss Kitty. In fact, it was Polly Bond who was originally chosen for the role. It seemed like a dream move, especially after starring in westerns as a child actress. However, she ultimately turned it down as she wanted to focus on family life. Little did she know, the role would have guaranteed her at least two decades of work.
Get The Hell Out Of Dodge!
Some of the most casual phrases have the most trivial of origins. Take the term “get the hell out of Dodge,” for example. Over time, it has alluded to the idea of getting out of trouble or leaving somewhere quickly. However, the line was originally said on Gunsmoke. It is a reference to Dodge City, Kansas, which is when the show is set. Many villains would use the term when they had been one-upped by Matt Dillon and the gang.
Gunsmoke Killed Gilligan’s Island
It may have been extremely popular during its run, but in 1967, Gunsmoke was on the verge being canceled by CBS. Thankfully though, William Paley, who was the network’s president at the time, was a big fan (along with his wife) and didn’t want it to end. Consequentially, he took the show and had it fitted into the time slot that Gilligan’s Island usually was – Mondays at 8 pm. As a result, Gilligan’s Island met an early and abrupt end.
James Arness Was In Every Episode
To say that James Arness didn’t rest during his time on Gunsmoke is the understatement of the century! While the rest of the cast missed episodes from time to time, the showrunners were adamant that Matt Dillon appeared in every single episode. This means that Arness played Dillon for over 20 years and for a staggering 635 episodes. Only Kelsey Grammer has played a character on American primetime TV for longer, for his role as Frasier Crane. Milburn Stone only missed six episodes, due to a heart attack.
They say that artists have the ability to adapt to different mediums fairly easily. This is certainly true as far as Buck Taylor was concerned. One of the actors who was brought in to add some youth to the cast of Gunsmoke during the 60s, the man who played Newly O’Brien evolved into a perfect western character. These days, the actor likes to paint, having recently painted the portrait of James Arness. Many of his pieces are on display at some of Texas’s biggest rodeos.
Ol’ Matt Dillon
It seemed like James Arness simply couldn’t let go of the character who he had played for so long – Matt Dillon. Even after the original series of Gunsmoke came to an end in 1975, Arness was constantly asked to come back to reprise the role. In 1987, CBS aired the reunion TV movie – Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge. Although Amanda Blake and Buck Taylor also reprised their respective roles, Milburn Stone died seven years before the movie came out. Arness starred in all five reunion movies.
Jeanette Nolan Led The Spinoff
On the back of Gunsmoke‘s success, CBS released a spin-off series called Dirty Sally. The show, which ran for just one season, starred Jeanette Nolan, who originally starred alongside Orson Welles in 1948’s Macbeth, as well as the show The Virginian. Nolan played an old woman who leaves Dodge City with Dack Rambo’s character to search for gold in California. Although it wasn’t particularly popular, Nolan was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
One part of Gunsmoke that remained consistent throughout the majority of its run was the opening credits. The very first episode saw Matt Dillon square up against another gunman. The creators loved the scene so much that they started every episode with this iconic sequence. However, this was eventually changed in the early 70s, just a few years before the show came to an end. The change was implemented as a result of intense anti-violence politics at the time.
Not only was Gunsmoke a hit with the fans, it also received much critical acclaim, often considered the greatest western epic of its time. It ended up accumulating 15 Primetime Emmy Award nominations throughout its run, with the show winning four of them. One of the most notable wins was when Dennis Weaver was awarded the award for Best Supporting Actor (Continuing Character) in a Dramatic Series in 1958. Milburn Stone also ended up winning the same award just 10 years later.
William Conrad Was Originally Matt Dillon
It is no secret that Gunsmoke was originally a radio show before the advent of primetime TV. Before James Arness was cast as Matt Dillon in the TV version, it was William Conrad who portrayed the main gunslinger during the radio days. He even portrayed the character after the TV show had already begun, carrying on the role until 1961. Although he was considered, the showrunners ultimately decided to go with Arness instead. It is rumored that Conrad’s weight was a big factor.
Number One For Four Years
One key detail that clearly demonstrated the impact that Gunsmoke had on society at the time was its undeniably good ratings. For four consecutive years, between 1957 and 1961, the western show was the number one TV show in the country. All in all, the show’s ratings were consistently impressive throughout its 20-year run, making it one of the longest and most successful shows of all time. However, when the producers decided to make the episodes half an hour longer, ratings start to go down.
Keeping Up With The Times
What made Gunsmoke such an impressive show was that it had such a fervent determination to stay relevant, despite the rapid growths in technology. So many advances in media meant that a lot of other “shows” fell by the wayside. However, Gunsmoke kept going in some shape or form for over 40 years. It started off as a radio series before transforming into a black and white primetime show. It evolved into an hour-long color series and even released five reunion movies.
Last Man Standing?
If there is one main character who has gone on to become a true Hollywood superstar, then it’s obviously Burt Reynolds. One of the only remaining cast members who is still alive, the actor who played Quint Asper for 50 episodes during the 60s has gone on to star in some of the most iconic movies of all time. These include the likes of Deliverance, The Longest Yard, Smokey and the Bandit, and Boogie Nights, to name a few.
John Wayne Got James The Job
Although it is merely a rumor that western legend John Wayne was offered the role of Matt Dillon, it certainly wouldn’t come us a surprise. However, it is true that Wayne did persuade James Arness to take the role when he was given the offer. At first, Arness was apprehensive to take the job, with many advising him against it as they believed it would tarnish his career. Nevertheless, Wayne thought differently and talked him into it.
Kirk and Spock Were In Gunsmoke?
It appears that before they joined the Enterprise, the main characters from Star Trek stopped off at Dodge City for a handful of cameos. At different stages, you will find the actors who played Kirk, Spock, Scotty, and Bones in a variety of episodes throughout Gunsmoke‘s run. While William Shatner, DeForest Kelley and James Doohan each made a cameo in one episode each, it was the late, great Leonard Nimoy who appeared the most, with four episodes to his name.
The Man With No Name?
Of course, it was Clint Eastwood who informally became the Man with No Name in his Fistful of Dollars trilogy. However, Milburn Stone technically went by no name during his first 16 seasons on Gunsmoke. He was known as “Doc,” or Dr. Adams, but not even the writers had an actual first name for him. Eventually, the producers gave Milburn Stone the opportunity to choose his own name for Doc, as he knew his character the best. He called him Galen.
One thing was for sure, Gunsmoke saw many future Hollywood superstars pass through Dodge City during its run. Many young aspiring actors who have cameoed on the show have gone on to become some of the most iconic names in the movie industry. Some these include the likes of Harrison Ford, who obviously went on to star in blockbusters such as Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Jodie Foster also made a cameo when she was just a little girl.
The Wild Bunch
Another iconic TV show that had many main cast members appear on Gunsmoke was none other than The Brady Bunch! During seasons fourteen and fifteen of the show’s 20-season run, three of the younger members of the famous family made appearances in a handful of episodes. Christopher Knight, who played Peter Brady, appeared in season fourteen’s episode, “The Miracle Man.” Just a few episodes later, Jan Brady’s Eve Plumb appeared in an episode. Also, Susan Olsen, who played Cindy Brady, appeared in both seasons 14 and 15!
Gary Busey Was The Last To Die
One actor who probably had the most notable cameo on Gunsmoke before embarking on a fairly successful career in Hollywood was Gary Busey, of all people. He might have only appeared in one episode, but it was a huge moment in the show’s history. Playing the character Harve Daley in one of the show’s final episodes in 1975, Gary Busey made history when he became the final character to ever be killed off on Gunsmoke.
The Simpsons – The New Gunsmoke?
Although it has been off the air for almost half a century, Gunsmoke still manages to hold the primetime record for the most episodes in one show, with a staggering 635 episodes to its name. However, it looks like the classic animated series The Simpsons will soon overtake Matt Dillon and the gang. As of March 2018, Matt Groening’s show has released 632 episodes, so it is only three away from equalling Gunsmoke‘s record. However, the western show did it in a shorter amount of time.
It wasn’t only James Arness’s scars from war that affected his performance on set. In the second half of his time on Gunsmoke, the actor who played Matt Dillon contracted a severe case of arthritis. It developed into a serious issue and prevented Arness from working the hours that he had grown accustomed to over the years. To tackle the condition, he agreed with the producers to start shooting all of his scenes for an episode in just one day so that he had more time to rest.
The Star Wars universe includes a wide range of interesting characters of all shapes and sizes. Let’s take a look at some of the most memorable Star Wars characters, ranked from worst to best. Warning – Spoilers ahead!
Jar Jar Binks
Any list of Star Wars characters wouldn’t be complete without everyone’s “favorite” Gungan… When George Lucas revealed Jar Jar Binks in The Phantom Menace, he was convinced that he’d be the key to the film’s success. However, the motion-capture character, played by Ahmed Best, was instantly hated by the masses.
Oh, poor Rose. Kelly Marie Tran did everything she could with that character and for a minute there, it seemed like she could have been the most interesting female character in the Star Wars universe since Princess Leia.
However, her role in The Last Jedi as the Resistance mechanic-turned-fighter was fairly insignificant and after some harsh words from many fans, Disney decided to sideline her in The Rise of Skywalker. She only has one minute of screen time in the entire movie!
Fans seem to have a complicated relationship with General Hux. After his terrifying speech in The Force Awakens, many thought that the First Order general was going to be a fierce rival to Kylo Ren.
However, he eventually became a comic relief character in The Last Jedi, being thrown around by his superior and in The Rise of Skywalker, he betrayed the First Order before being unceremoniously discarded.
Vice Admiral Holdo
You can’t deny that Vice Admiral Holdo made a big impact in the one movie she was in – The Last Jedi. Laura Dern’s character starts off as a passive leader in the Resistance, who Poe Dameron is compelled to start a mutiny against.
When all seemed lost, Holdo did the unthinkable, sending her ship into lightspeed through the First Order’s Supremacy. Without this pink-haired heroine’s wild, kamikaze move, the Resistance might not have won in the long run.
Responsible for one of the most iconic Star Wars lines in recent memory, Chirrut Imwe was a breath of fresh when he showed up in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Despite being blind, it appears that Imwe’s belief in the Force was enough to show how powerful he could be.
Fans around the world can’t stop reciting his line, “I am one with the Force, and the Force is with me.” He also has an interesting relationship with his fellow Guardian of the Whills, Baze Malbus.
Another sequel character who seemed to have so much potential was Maz Kanata. Voice by Lupita Nyong’o, this alien is the head of a pirate cove in Takodana. It turns out that Maz had somehow found Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber and had been safeguarding it for years.
Like other characters introduced in The Force Awakens, Maz was unfortunately sidelined for much of the remaining two movies in the trilogy, which is a shame, especially since it was implied that she was Force-sensitive.
As if Boba Fett wasn’t enough. When the prequels came around, we were introduced to the bounty hunter’s “father,” Jango. Played by Temuera Morrison, this bounty hunter was cloned on the planet Kamino, which ended up creating the infamous clone army.
Despite perishing at the hands of Mace Windu, the clones of Jango are prominent in both Revenge of the Sith and the Clone Wars animated series. Of course, the clones turn on the Jedi after Order 66 is executed by Chancellor Palpatine.
Maybe the most wasted character in the entire sequel trilogy is Captain Phasma. With Game of Thrones‘ Gwendoline Christine underneath that chrome armor, fans were excited to see what Phasma would bring to the story moving forward.
She proved to be a worthy adversary to Finn, but ultimately, Rian Johnson decided to write her out of the story pretty quickly, with Finn shoving her “chrome dome” into a fiery pit in The Last Jedi, never to be seen again.
General Grievous might be the best-looking, yet worst character on this list. OK, truth be told, the CGI for this character hasn’t held up that well over the last 15 years. However, fans were excited to see what he was capable of in Revenge of the Sith.
Grievous “kidnaps” Chancellor Palpatine at the beginning of the movie, but it turns out that it was just a ruse. Eventually, Obi-Wan Kenobi confronts Grievous in a pretty epic lightsaber duel, before defeating him with an “uncivilized” blaster.
Arguably the unsung hero of the original trilogy, people underestimate the contribution that X-Wing pilot Wedge Antilles made to the fall of the Empire. Not only was this talent pilot in the trench run during the first movie, but he also fought during the Battle of Hoth.
Many years after helping to blow up the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi, Dennis Lawson amazingly reprised his role as Wedge in The Rise of Skywalker. This time though, he was in the Millenium Falcon!
If he wasn’t such a new addition to the Star Wars universe, then Baby Yoda might be closer to #1 on this list! You can’t deny that this adorable little green thing was one of the biggest cultural phenomenons in 2019.
In the Disney+ series The Mandalorian, the 50-year-old baby is discovered by the titular character, and soon, the two develop a father-son relationship that people can’t get enough of. Naturally, Baby Yoda is extremely strong in the Force.
How fitting is it that the actor behind one of the most iconic iterations of Count Dracula would play a Star Wars character called Count Dooku? The late, great Christopher Lee played the leader of the Separatists in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.
While he is revealed to be the Sith Lord Darth Tyrannus, Dooku is eventually defeated in a pretty gruesome way by Anakin Skywalker, with Chancellor Palpatine more than happy to get rid of him.
Many would claim that it’s actually Jyn Erso, not Rey, who is the very best female character of the most recent crop of Star Wars movies. The main protagonist of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Jyn’s father Galen is the scientist who refuses to carry on helping the Empire.
Eventually, Jyn is recruited by the Rebellion and against their wishes, she puts together a ragtag team to infiltrate the planet of Scarif and retrieve the plans to the Death Star, setting up the events of A New Hope.
Jabba the Hutt
Surely there isn’t a character in the Star Wars universe more grotesque than Jabba the Hutt. The head of a crime syndicate on Tattooine, Jabba proudly holds onto Han Solo as he is frozen in carbonite after the events of The Empire Strikes Back.
In Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker and his friends go to Jabba to ask for Han back. When he declines, Jabba underestimates Luke’s powers and ultimately perishes at the hands of Princess Leia!
Fans were a little skeptical when it was announced that Samuel L. Jackson would be playing a Jedi in the prequels. However, Mace Windu ended up becoming one of the most popular characters of those movies.
The wielder of the only purple lightsaber in the entire franchise, Mace confronts Chancellor Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith when he discovers that he’s a Sith Lord. It seems though that his fate was ultimately hinted at in his own name – He was thrown out of the “windu.”
Another character who is responsible for one of the most “meme-able” phrases in all of Star Wars has to be Admiral Ackbar. Amazingly, fans weren’t particularly phased when they first saw an alien general with the head of a squid who could speak perfect English.
When it is revealed in Return of the Jedi that the second Death Star is fully operational, despite appearing to be half complete, Ackbar utters the iconic three words: “It’s a trap!”
One of the first characters we see in The Force Awakens is Poe Dameron, who has discovered information leading the heroes to the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker. As time goes on, Poe becomes a more integral figure in the Resistance and his bromance with Finn is nothing short of adorable.
Oscar Isaac certainly crushed it in every scene he was in. However, not even he could stop Poe from virtually becoming a sideline character by the time The Rise of Skywalker was released.
When it was announced that The Mandalorian would be the first Star Wars TV series, fans were convinced that it would be about Boba Fett. However, it turns out that there was another Mandalorian out there who looked very similar but was a completely different person.
Pedro Pascal from Game of Thrones plays Din Djarin, a bounty hunter who is kind of sick of his bounty hunter profession and is just doing it to pay the bills. This is until he encounters the adorable Baby Yoda.
There is no denying that the Ewoks are an extremely polarizing element of Star Wars mythology. After all, how is it possible that a tribe of teddy bears managed to take down the Galactic Empire? There’s no point in questioning it, we should just be grateful that they helped.
The main representative of the Ewoks is little Wicket, played by the 11-year-old Warwick Davis. After a chance encounter with Princess Leia, he welcomes her into the tribe, along with the rest of the crew.
Supreme Leader Snoke
Maybe the ultimate letdown in the history of Star Wars is Supreme Leader Snoke. With Andy Serkis playing the motion-capture performance of this terrifying, Voldemort-like character, fans were so excited to see what Kylo Ren’s master was capable of.
When The Last Jedi came around, Snoke was revealed in all of his opulent glory and it was awesome! However, with the flick of the lightsaber switch, he was unceremoniously wiped out from the picture. So much potential…
Natalie Portman was to the prequel trilogy what Carrie Fisher was to the original Star Wars movies – the strong-minded female lead who was so much more than just her royal title. Queen Amidala is revealed to be Padme, the young lady who befriends Anakin.
Eventually, the two friends fall in love and it turns out that Anakin’s determination to protect Padme is ultimately what leads him to become Darth Vader. Although Portman’s performance was critically panned, the character has a strong fan base.
Everything seemed to be going so well for Finn. In The Force Awakens, his role as a reluctant stormtrooper who defects from the First Order was a fresh, exciting storyline that we had never seen before. He even managed to strike Kylo Ren with a lightsaber!
However, the following two movies saw him become nothing more than a side character, with his romance with Rose Tico being poorly received by both critics and fans alike. Nevertheless, John Boyega was terrific as Finn.
He might not be the most compelling character in all of Star Wars. Heck, he only had one line in The Phantom Menace. There is no denying though that Darth Maul is one of the most terrifying characters in the franchise, simply due to his appearance.
Despite seemingly perishing in the first prequel, it is revealed in the Clone Wars animated series that Maul actually survived and ended up having a much more interesting character arc through this medium.
Grand Moff Tarkin
While we don’t see The Emperor until The Empire Strikes Back, it seems like the man that Darth Vader answers to is Grand Moff Tarkin. High up in the Imperial ranks, Tarkin immortalized the line “you may fire when ready” but ultimately wasn’t meant to live passed A New Hope.
Although Peter Cushing passed away back in 1994, ILM managed to bring him “back to life” through the power of CGI, with Tarkin returning in a fairly prominent role for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Before he turned to the Dark Side and became a Dark Lord of the Sith, Anakin Skywalker was a friendly boy who grew up on Tatooine as a slave. After being brought into the Jedi academy, he eventually becomes a Jedi Knight before his tragic fall from grace.
Both Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen played Anakin in the prequels. But we can’t ignore the late Sebastian Shaw, who played the unmasked Anakin at the end of Return of the Jedi.
The original wearer of the Mandalorian armor is the enigmatic Boba Fett. A bestselling toy as well as a mysterious character, Boba Fett first appeared in The Empire Strikes Back where he captured Han Solo and froze him in carbonite.
However, he ended up falling into the Sarlacc Pit in Return of the Jedi. In the prequels, Daniel Logan played the younger version of Boba Fett, before he put on the iconic helmet and became a bounty hunter.
With time, Lando Calrissian has become one of the most beloved characters in all of Star Wars. Billy Dee Williams added some charm and flair to The Empire Strikes Back, and audiences couldn’t believe it when he sold out Han and Leia to Darth Vader.
Thankfully, he managed to redeem himself in Return of the Jedi and ended up returning decades later in The Rise of Skywalker. Donald Glover famously portrayed a young Lando in Solo: A Star Wars Story.
The robotic equivalent of the beloved dog that never speaks but always understands, R2-D2 is one of the unsung heroes in a Galaxy, Far, Far Away! The amount of times that R2 has gotten Luke and the others out of trouble is absolutely staggering.
The astromech droid also appeared in the prequels. After Kenny Baker’s untimely passing, the character of R2 took a step back in the sequel trilogy and didn’t play as much of a prominent role in the action.
One character who fans wished they could have seen so much more of was Qui-Gon Jinn. Despite firmly being on the Light Side of the Force, Liam Neeson’s character was a maverick on the Jedi Council, who would always challenge the dogmatic view of his contemporaries.
The spiritual master had complete faith that Anakin was the Chosen One from the very beginning and that he would ultimately bring balance to the force. Although things went terrible for Anakin initially, Qui-Gon was ultimately right.
Has there ever been a Star Wars character more annoying and charming in equal measures than C-3PO? Having been there from the very beginning, this protocol droid is one of the only characters to have featured in every single Star Wars movie.
Anthony Daniels brought much charisma to the character over the years and it seems like Threepio had a huge part to play in the action of The Rise of Skywalker, which is probably the last time we’ll ever see him in a motion picture.
While there have been great female characters in the Star Wars cinematic universe, it was exciting to finally see one who was strong in the Force and the protagonist of the story. Rey’s journey from the desert planet of Jakku to a fully-fledged Jedi was very similar to Luke’s.
The question surrounding her parentage though drove fans crazy for many years. So when it was finally revealed that she was a Palpatine in The Rise of Skywalker, it was an answer that was never going to please everyone.
Another character who has been there from the very beginning is the one and only Chewbacca. There is no denying that our favorite Wookiee has been through a lot over the years.
From his smuggling days with Han Solo to his struggles on his home planet of Kashyyyk, Chewie’s story kept on going into the sequel trilogy. Joonas Suotamo took over the role of Chewie after it became too difficult for the late Peter Mayhew to carry it on.
The puppet master who was behind it all – Sheev Palpatine is first revealed in the original trilogy to be The Emperor, the Sith Lord who underestimates the love that Darth Vader has for his son, Luke.
Ian McDiarmid played a younger version of Palpatine in the prequels and then reprised the role in the final sequel movie, The Rise of Skywalker. It is revealed that he is the grandfather of Rey, who uses the Force to destroy him once and for all.
Arguably the most compelling character in the entire sequel trilogy is the main antagonist, Kylo Ren. Although he tries so hard to be like his grandfather Darth Vader, Ben Solo’s pull to the light is so strong and he is constantly trying to fight it.
Despite what he did to Han Solo and his complicated relationship with Luke Skywalker, Kylo ultimately returned to the Light Side and brought Rey back to life, sacrificing his own life in the process. Adam Driver was remarkable as Kylo Ren.
Many were surprised back in 1980 that the Jedi master that Luke Skywalker was looking for was in fact, a tiny green alien by the name of Yoda. Of course, he proved that size doesn’t matter and showed Luke what he’s capable of.
Frank Oz first brought Yoda to life through the power of puppetry before playing a CGI version of the character in the prequels. He also reprised the role of Yoda in a powerful scene where he reunites with Luke in The Last Jedi.
The very first glimpse we got into the Force and the Jedi was through the eyes of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Luke couldn’t believe that Old Ben had once fought in the Clone Wars with his father. It’s Obi-Wan who gives Luke his father’s lightsaber and ultimately sacrifices himself.
Of course, we can’t ignore Ewan McGregor’s performance of the younger Obi-Wan in the prequels. It was arguably the best thing about those three movies! With McGregor set to reprise the role in a Disney+ series, the character of Obi-Wan is more relevant than ever.
There might not be a fictional female character more iconic or more beloved than Princess Leia. Moviegoers couldn’t believe it when the Princess of Alderaan basically helped Luke and Han escape the Death Star after they tried to rescue her!
Sadly, Carrie Fisher passed away in 2016, which dealt a severe blow to Leia’s story in the final installment of the sequel trilogy – The Rise of Skywalker. Archival footage from the previous two movies ended up being used to include her in the movie.
Is there a cinematic villain more iconic than Darth Vader? We think not. Sure, Anakin Skywalker is already on this list, but many would debate that Vader and “Little Ani” are two separate characters in essence.
The Dark Lord of the Sith terrified moviegoers for years with his dark helmet, slow breathing and ability to choke individuals with the Force. It took multiple performers to bring Vader to life, with David Prowse wearing the suit and James Earl Jones providing his voice for the role.
He might not be strong with the Force, but Han Solo is that everyman that is thrown into the middle of a galactic civil war. Harrison Ford brought charm and gravitas to his role, to say the very least.
Fans lost their minds when Han returned in The Force Awakens, but we left heartbroken when he lost his life at the hands of his son, Kylo Ren. Han Solo is such a popular character that he even had his own spinoff movie – Solo: A Star Wars Story.
You can’t talk about Star Wars without Luke Skywalker – plain and simple. The young farm boy from Tattooine embarked on a truly epic hero’s journey, taking his father’s lightsaber and eventually becoming a Jedi Knight, before finally bringing balance to the Force with Darth Vader.
However, many people, including Mark Hamill, were left frustrated by the way that Luke was utilized in the sequel trilogy. After a last-minute cameo in The Force Awakens, Luke is portrayed in The Last Jedi as a deadbeat hermit, before finally sacrificing himself for the Resistance.