Everyone knows that the Star Wars prequels helped along the careers of Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen (and were a blip for the bad ass Liam Neeson), but did you know there were 6 other stars that launched into Hollywood after this film? You didn’t recognize them then, but you will now.
In the theatrical version of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace his only line was “The boy is here to see Padme.” Three years later he had plenty of lines in HBO’s The Wire for six years. Yup, Detective McNulty had his start as a member of the Naboo security team. Since Star Wars he’s appeared in 300, Chicago and next month’s John Carter. He also has a Golden Globe nomination.
How does a young actress follow up an Oscar nomination for 2002′s Whale Rider? You appear in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith for two seconds at Amidala’s funeral. She spent several hours in make-up for a two second shot. That’s dedication! Since that film she was in The Nativity Story and not much else. Oh, she also had a kid and will appear in two films in 2013.
What in the world is this Oscar-winning screenwriter and director doing in The Phantom Menace? She was playing one of Amidala’s handmaidens! Why? Who knows, but I’m sure the reboot of the Star Wars franchise back then was big enough to get people interested in the project. Well, until the Phantom Menace actually came out at least.
He may have played a bad ass MMA fighter in Warrior, but in Revenge of the Sith and Attack of the Clones he played a pacifist. He was Owen Lars. Yes, Uncle Owen! Darth Vader’s stepbrother is most remembered for adopting Luke Skywalker. Now his career is on the up-and-up, with The Great Gatsby later this year and Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow’s Osama bin Laden movie in production.
At the time of Attack of the Clones, Byrne was just an up-and-coming actress. In 2011, she exploded onto the scene with Insidious, Bridesmaids and X-Men: First Class. She also has the show Damages with Glenn Close. And yes, she also played one of Amidala’s handmaidens.
Knightley was a nobody when she was casted as Amidala’s decoy in The Phantom Menace, and now she’s an Oscar-nominated actress. Since Star Wars she’s starred in Bend it Like Beckham, The Pirates of the Caribbean, Atonement, Love Actually, Pride and Prejudice, The Duchess and last year’s A Dangerous Method. She has Anna Karenina coming out this year.