Dustin Hoffman Is Part of Star Wars’ Strangest Mystery
This weeks Your Nerd Side Show:
Star Wars has become a universe that's spanned multiple forms of media and introduced dozens of famous characters. Some started as just a cool suit, like Boba Fett, while others had commanding presences, like Darth Vader. But the one constant has always been the popularity of the universe. As a result, the idea of celebrity cameos has become commonplace in the franchise, with some surprise names like Joseph Gordon-Levitt appearing as an alien in The Last Jedi. But these additions have also led to some interesting mysteries.
One famous mystery involved actor Dustin Hoffman, who is known for his roles in movies like Hook, Kramer vs. Kramer and Marathon Man. But one thing that has come up in certain circles was that he appeared in a brief cameo in the original Star Wars. However, unlike many other cameos, this one has become more of a debatable mystery as there's been no hard confirmation of this supposed cameo, and even Hoffman hasn't made a statement on the claim. As a result, it's become a cult mystery in the fandom that has a definitive and surprising truth.
Where Was Dustin Hoffman Supposedly Seen in Star Wars?
According to a Tiktoker named Brian Monarch, it's explained that Hoffman could be seen, plain as day, as an Imperial guard during Princess Leia's interrogation. This was also mentioned in Seinfeld Season 7, Episode 20, "The Calzone," where Elaine made a bet with Jerry about Hoffman appearing in the movie, adding credence to the decades-old mystery. And considering this was the first long conversation Leia and Darth Vader had since she was taken from the Tantive IV, it would make sense that audiences would be focused on them over the background characters. Furthermore, the introduction of the Interrogation Droid and its strange floating presence immediately drew attention as the camera focused on its syringe. With that logic, it would make sense that Hoffman was always there but never noticed.
However, it was later uncovered that the supposed secret cameo was a hoax, as Monarch was known for deepfaking celebrities into other movie scenes. In reality, the guard was played by actor Ron Conrad, who already had a unique resemblance to Hoffman, which made the deepfake more believable. But even though it was a fun mystery while it lasted, the Hoffman hoax served as a way to shine a light on just how many famous actors have had a presence, whether large or small, in the Star Wars universe.
Many Celebrities Have Made Cameos in Star Wars
While Hoffman's cameo was just an urban legend fostered by an iconic sitcom, many other stars have cameoed in The Skywalker Saga. In the original trilogy, some notable names could be heard and seen, such as director Joe Johnston, who appeared in A New Hope as a stormtrooper, and Shawn Valdez in The Empire Strikes Back. Episode V also featured John Ratzenberger (Cheers) as Major Bren Derlin and Treat Williams (The Phantom) as a Hoth Rebel. Ironically, the original trilogy also introduced the idea of cameos that were often so small many wouldn't notice even if the person was right in front of the screen. The sequel trilogy took this to the next level by integrating Star Wars alums in roles many didn't anticipate.
Attack of the Clones was a unique entry regarding cameos as it featured actors who had already appeared in the franchise, such as Anthony Daniels, who was best known as C-3PO. In the prequels, while 3PO still played a role, Daniels also appeared as the criminal named Dannl Faytonni. As Anakin and Obi-Wan chased Zam Wesell to a catina, audiences saw Faytonni next to another character named Achk Med-Beq, who was played by Ahmed Best. Best was first introduced in The Phantom Menace as Jar Jar Binks but later returned as Jedi Master Kelleran Beq, who saved Grogu during Order 66.
Though the prequel trilogy featured many familiar names in new roles, the sequel trilogy and spin-off projects featured more famous actors and actresses that had never appeared in the franchise. The Force Awakens had a particularly memorable scene where Rey used a Jedi mind trick on an unwitting stormtrooper played by James Bond himself, Daniel Craig. Tom Hardy nearly played a stormtrooper in The Last Jedi, reminiscing with Finn about their past training. Sadly, the scene was cut from the theatrical release but proved to be one of the funnier cameos. The Rise of Skywalker featured two particularly major names, with The Boys'Karl Urban appearing as a stormtrooper and composer John Williams as a bartender on Kajimi. Williams has created themes for franchises like Jaws and Harry Potter but also made the most iconic themes of the Star Wars franchise.
Star Wars' Cameo Hoax Could've Been a Great Secret
There's no doubt that Hoffman's appearance in Star Wars could've been a great addition to a large list of celebrities that have lent their talents to a galaxy far, far away. Even though his cameo was doctored, it was one that many readily accepted as it made sense and proved that many things about Star Wars continued to surprise longtime fans. Sadly, this wasn't a reality and only furthered the proof of how clever people could be on the internet and how certain things could be altered with the right software.
Nevertheless, the thought that Hoffman could've been in Star Wars the whole time, thanks to Seinfeld introducing the idea, was enough to strengthen the concept that anyone could appear in these movies, with many not knowing until the star revealed it. This has continued to be proven by the likes of Lin-Manuel Miranda, who appeared in the sequel trilogy. However, it's also raised the idea of how fun it would've been for an actor to have been in the original Star Wars for decades, and no one realized it.