This Star Wars Movie Cut an *NSYNC Cameo at the Last Minute

The Big Picture

  • NSYNC filmed cameo scenes as Jedi for
    Attack of the Clones
    but were ultimately cut due to negative backlash from fans.
  • Michael Jackson wanted to play Jar Jar Binks in
    The Phantom Menace
    , and Princes William and Harry filmed cameos for
    The Last Jedi
  • Other celebrities who have made successful appearances in Star Wars include John Williams, Billie Lourd, Simon Pegg, Daniel Craig, and Ahmed Best.

Perhaps the only thing rivaling the expansiveness of the Star Wars universe is the incredible scale of the multimedia franchise itself. The Skywalker Saga consists of a tremendous nine films, the extended universe is so large it split the canon, and the resurgent love for the sci-fi franchise has led to countless spin-offs that continue to illuminate the farthest reaches of the galaxy. Not just one of the most popular sci-fi franchises, but one of the most recognizable works of fiction in pop culture, Star Wars is one of those projects that has captured the hearts of generations of fans spanning across the globe. The love for Star Wars is so enormous that even some of the biggest names in pop culture can’t help but be drawn to the franchise, as many fans themselves wanted to appear in the films. And back in the early aughts, as the prequels were hitting the silver screen, even the hit boy band NSYNC was among the masses wanting to be in Star Wars. They were incredibly close too, as members of the pop group got a chance to film short cameo scenes for Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, though they were ultimately cut from the film.

*NSYNC Members Filmed Scenes in ‘Attack of the Clones’

In the lawless land of the prequel films’ rumor mill, word spread that the hit boy band NSYNC would be making a cameo appearance in Attack of the Clones. However, when the film was released, even the most astute fans were unable to find the singers in the film. However, though the pop group never appeared in the final product, fans were a lot closer to seeing the singers in Jedi robes than they might have expected. Over two decades later, Joey Fatone confirmed during a panel at Fandemic Tour Atlanta that NSYNC did, in fact, film two scenes as Jedi, including a fight scene alongside the numerous other Jedi extras in the Battle of Geonosis. Fatone also shared the reasons why the scenes were ultimately cut, which were the negative backlash from Star Wars fans and the additional SAG-AFTRA fees and policies for extras.

But even though they didn’t appear in the theatrical release, the scenes were still filmed. Band members Joey Fatone, JC Chasez, and Chris Kirkpatrick confirmed that they received the full Jedi treatment and were dressed in the traditional flowing tan robes, the iconic Padawan braids, and were even given their own lightsabers. Fatone’s brother, Steven, was also able to join them. Fellow band members Lance Bass and Justin Timberlake were reportedly too exhausted from their concurrent tour during the time of filming and were unable to participate, though the two later lamented on missing out on the experience in their Hot Ones interview. Though disappointed that they were ultimately removed, the band members nonetheless look back on the experience fondly, sharing that they found themselves making the lightsaber sound effects while playing their parts.


One of Star Wars’ Best Lightsaber Duels Isn’t Canon

The lightsaber duel at the end of ‘Star Wars: Clone Wars’ second season is among the most brutal and exhilarating in the saga’s history.

The King of Pop and the Princes of England Almost Appeared in Star Wars

The popular singers, however, were not the only celebrities who wanted to appear in Star Wars, but ultimately didn’t make the cut. Michael Jackson, the King of Pop himself, famously wanted to play Jar Jar Binks in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. A lifelong fan of Star Wars, Jackson did get a chance to collaborate with Lucas in the 1986 short film, Captain EO. Produced by Lucas and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, Jackson starred as the titular Captain EO, a charismatic pilot leading a motley assortment of aliens on an outer space adventure. The film had visual elements evocative of Star Wars, but was wholly distinct and even featured a few musical numbers. Shown at Disney theme parks from 1986 through 1998, the film was unfortunately the closest Jackson got to appearing in Star Wars, as Lucas ultimately cast another person in his coveted Gungan role.

The King of Pop wasn’t the only nobility to nearly appear in Star Wars, as England’s Prince William and Prince Harry filmed a cameo scene for Star Wars: The Last Jedi in 2016. Though the two made it further than Jackson in the process, even getting a chance to appear on set, the royals’ scenes never actually made it into the final cut. Playing a pair of Stormtroopers alongside actor Tom Hardy, William and Harry appeared in a scene alongside Finn (John Boyega), Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), and DJ (Benicio del Toro). However, William and Harry, standing at over 6 feet tall each, were unusually tall for Stormtroopers, which would have made them stand out from the visual uniformity of the soldiers.

Other Actors and Celebrities Made Cameos in Star Wars

While many celebrity cameos were left on the cutting room floor, there have been plenty of successful on-screen appearances of noteworthy actors and celebrities in the Star Wars films. The legendary composer John Williams, responsible for the iconic musical score for the series, finally made a cameo appearance in the films in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Williams briefly appeared as a bartender in an underworld hangout, after some convincing to even appear in the film. Director J.J. Abrams and the crew even surprised Williams by creating 51 different props to surround him in honor of his 51 Oscar nominations. Of course, he’s gotten a few more Academy Award nominations since then.

Another touching addition to the Star Wars films was the inclusion of Billie Lourd, Carrie Fisher’s daughter, in the sequel trilogy. As Lieutenant Connix, Lourd appeared in all three of the sequel films and even stepped in as Leia’s body double in The Rise of Skywalker after her mother’s passing. Other celebrity cameos were far less obvious, but have become fun Easter eggs for astute fans. Simon Pegg appeared in Star Wars: The Force Awakens as Unkar Plutt, the alien junk boss on Jakku with whom Rey (Daisy Ridley) traded her scavenged goods. Daniel Craig also appeared in the film, portraying the Stormtrooper whom Rey tricks using a Jedi mind trick. And Ahmed Best, the man who beat out Michael Jackson for the role of Jar Jar Binks, even appeared briefly in Attack of the Clones as one of the bar guests in the early chase scene in the movie.

Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones is available to stream on Disney+ in the U.S.

Watch on Disney+


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