Disney’s Sequel Trilogy has become known for its secret cameos. The Force Awakens featured Simon Pegg and Daniel Craig in uncredited roles, The Last Jedi saw Princes William and Harry, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Edgar Wright and Gareth Edwards pop up in the movie and in deleted scenes, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has now continued the pace, popping in Lin-Manuel Miranda, John Williams and Ed Sheeran. But there’s one cameo that the person involved is over the moon about: Kevin Smith finally making an on-screen appearance in a Star Wars movie.
The actor, writer, director and King of Geeks did actually appear in The Force Awakens, but only as a voice. Now, in The Rise of Skywalker, he plays an inhabitant of the planet of Kijimi and can briefly be seen as Oscar Isaac’s Poe sneaks by him. If you’re at all familiar with Smith, you can guess how pleased this made him, with the filmmaker saying:
“Congrats to J.J. Abrams on the #1 opening and for closing out the Star Wars saga – and thank you for letting me be in the series of flicks that I fell in love with 42 years ago! Back when I had my heart attack, J.J. sent me an email that said, ‘Live through this and I’ll put you in Episode 9!'”
“When they went into production last year on The Rise of Skywalker, I wrote J.J. and asked ‘So… I’m alive. That offer still good?’ He confirmed and I flew out to England to visit Pinewood Studios for a few days, during which time I giddily watched J.J. do his thing until I was called into action! Ducking Stormtroopers on Kijimi, Poe passes a cyborg walking beside a bundled-up local.
That local is me! J.J. had me voice a Stormtrooper in The Force Awakens and then put me in Rise – two things a young Emo Kev never could’ve imagined happening while he fanned the flames of his fandom in the 70’s and 80’s! Thank you, my friend in the Force, for even making the offer in the first place, let alone following through on it! You gave me a rare sensation I haven’t had since I was an action figure collecting kid in 1983 when you let me come over to your house to play Star Wars with you!”
It’s extremely sweet that Abrams and Smith were childhood friends back in the 80s and have stayed in touch all this time. After all, Smith has long been one of the most prominent Star Wars fans, with his debut feature Clerks having his characters discuss at length the morality of Luke blowing up the Death Star and Chasing Amy going into hilarious detail over Darth Vader being the blackest guy in space, only to have a pasty white guy hiding inside. Plus, after his near death experience back in 2018 and subsequent recovery, I think he’s earned his spot in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker more than most, don’t you?