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This piece contains spoilers about Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Daniel Craig lied to me.
Interviewing the Spectre star in London this summer, I had run through my questions for an EW cover story focused Craig reprising his role as 007 in the 24th James Bond installment that hit theaters last month. And toward the end of our conversation, I asked the recalcitrant British actor about a certain rumor that had been ricocheting across the web (thanks to Simon Pegg’s loose lips) since May: that Craig delivers a cameo as a stormtrooper in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Not only did Craig vehemently deny it at that time, he responded to my query with barely suppressed rage. “Why would I ever bother doing something like that?” Craig sputtered. “F—ing hell! Pffft. Play an extra in another movie.”
Having visited the Spectre set at England’s Pinewood Studios two months earlier, I might have pressed the issue by pointing out the relative ease with which he could have sneaked in such a performance beneath the stormtrooper’s synthetic armor. Starting last year, the Spectre production took place across various soundstages in the venerable studio facility, just yards away from where The Force Awakens was being concurrently filmed. So if Craig had wanted to make a cameo, it would have likely been as simple as cozying up to Star Wars director J.J. Abrams, slipping out of his Tom Ford suit and donning the white plastic helmet.
According to multiple sources close to The Force Awakens who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to speak publicly, that is precisely what happened.
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Craig does make a cameo in Star Wars VII as a stormtrooper, turning up in one of the movie’s most memorably nostalgic scenes. “He did it for sh–s and grins,” says one of the people with knowledge of the actor’s performance.
For anyone who has not seen The Force Awakens, the below description of Craig’s cameo contains SPOILERS. So stop reading now if you don’t want to know what happens.
At one point in the movie, Daisy Ridley’s character Rey has been captured, and makes her maiden attempt at a Jedi mind trick.
“You will remove these restraints and leave this cell with the door open,” Rey tells the stormtrooper, played by Craig.
It is, of course, an implicit shout-out to Obi-Wan Kenobi telling a stormtrooper that “these aren’t the droids you’re looking for” in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. And the sequence prompted shouts of joyful recognition in the pre-release screening I attended earlier this week.
“I’ll tighten those restraints, scavenger scum,” Craig’s character responds, although few in the audience can be expected to register that it’s him. We only hear the actor’s clipped British diction and never see his face. (We’re not going to tell you what happens next.)
License to wear shiny white body armor approved.