Star Wars Actors Who Disappeared From Hollywood

This article references suicide.

The "Star Wars" franchise is one of the biggest in cinema history, and landing a job on any of its properties is an amazing accomplishment for any actor. After all, the films helped launch the careers of Harrison Ford and... well... actually, working on a "Star Wars" movie doesn't necessarily mean you'll become an international superstar like Ford (who had "Indiana Jones" and other franchises to help him).

People like Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher certainly didn't want for work, but one could argue they never achieved the same level of celebrity as the third member of their trio. The same could be said for the actors inside the droid costumes, certain aliens, and many more. For the last several decades, plenty of actors who took part in a "Star Wars" project didn't go on to receive the same level of fame and attention as the franchise's well-known names. 

Occasionally, these actors continue working in the industry but in a comparably diminished manner. Others left the world of acting altogether, while some went on to lead successful careers behind the camera or microphone. Often, they seem to vanish from Hollywood, even if they are gainfully employed in Tinseltown; there isn't much that can compare in scope and popularity to the franchise. These actors all played a part in the "Star Wars" franchise but have since disappeared from the public's attention.

Jake Lloyd

Jake Lloyd's career all but halted after his stint as Anakin Skywalker in "Star Wars: Episode I." Lloyd's experience filming the movie wasn't bad, but the reaction to his performance (and the film in general) didn't help his school life. According to The Daily Telegraph, he said he was constantly teased by classmates "who would make the sound of the light saber" whenever he was around. It's been rumored that he hates the franchise so much that he destroyed all of his "Star Wars" memorabilia, but according to Geek News Now, the former child star has said that isn't the case.

Before he was cast in "The Phantom Menace, he appeared in "ER" and "The Pretender" on television, as well as "Jingle All The Way." After the movie came out in 1999, Lloyd only acted in one film, 2001's "Madison." All of his subsequent credits involved voiceover work on "Star Wars" video games. He quit acting entirely in 2002, having provided the voice for a young Anakin for the last time on "Star Wars: Racer Revenge."

Per TMZ, a high-speed chase-related arrest ultimately led to his incarceration and commitment to a mental health facility, where he received treatment for paranoid schizophrenia. "He is still a kind and caring person and we hope to have him back to his fun and entertaining self as soon as possible," his mother said in a statement to Geek News Now. "Jake will continue to make progress with the love and support you continue to show."

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Hayden Christensen

Hayden Christensen's acting career began in 1993, and for the next few years, he appeared in numerous television series, made-for-TV movies, and films. Despite having more than a dozen credits under his belt, he didn't become a household name until he was cast to play Anakin Skywalker in "Attack of the Clones." That "Star Wars" role elevated him to international superstardom — or, at least, it should have.

Hayden Christensen became a worldwide celebrity, but in many ways, that was a problem for the actor, who received a lot of negative press regarding his performance. After appearing in "Revenge of the Sith," he largely faded out of view. This was a deliberate choice made by Christensen, who explained in an interview with the Los Angeles Times that he felt his career was moving too fast. He told the outlet, "I felt like I had this great thing in 'Star Wars' that provided all these opportunities and gave me a career, but it all kind of felt a little too handed to me."

Hayden Christensen revealed that he "didn't want to go through like feeling like I was just riding a wave." After feeling like he hadn't earned the recognition he received, Christensen opted to step away from acting. He bought a farm, started a family with actor Rachel Bilson, and lived a quiet life. Fortunately, his sabbatical wasn't permanent: He was cast to return to the franchise to portray Anakin Skywalker on the Disney+ series, "Ahsoka" and "Obi-Wan Kenobi."

Freddie Prinze Jr.

Freddie Prinze Jr. is an unusual example of a "Star Wars" actor who disappeared before he was part of the franchise. In the '90s and early 2000s, Prinze Jr. was all over the place, with movies and television shows keeping him busy. He landed the role of Fred in the live-action "Scooby-Doo" franchise, captured hearts in "She's All That," and starred in his own series, "Freddie" — needless to say, he wasn't hurting for work. In 2010, he was cast to play Cole Ortiz on "24," and that gig ultimately pushed Prinze Jr. out of acting.

As he told ABC News, he had such a nightmarish experience working with Kiefer Sutherland, he decided he was done acting in front of the camera. He moved his interests to work behind the camera by providing his voice talents to various TV series and video games. During this time, he disappeared from the public eye, but he didn't vanish altogether. He was cast to voice Kanan Jarrus (and several other characters) in "Star Wars Rebels." He also voiced the character in "The Rise of Skywalker" and played Caleb Dume in "The Bad Batch."

He quit acting (for the most part) before he got into the "Star Wars" universe, and then quit again. In 2017, Freddie Prinze Jr. told CBS News, "I've really stepped away from acting. I don't really do that anymore."

Ahmed Best

Though you wouldn't recognize him from his work on the "Star Wars" prequel trilogy, Ahmed Best was there throughout the whole thing. He was the actor who provided the voice and motion capture acting for Jar Jar Binks. Of all the actors who the public didn't respond positively to from "The Phantom Menace," Best had it the worst. The vast majority of the fanbase came to hate Jar Jar Binks. Subsequently, they hated Best — despite never seeing him in live-action, as his character was digitally rendered. 

Jar Jar Binks was the first credited role Best had, and he did not have a good experience. "I had death threats through the internet," he told Wired. "I had people come to me and say, 'You destroyed my childhood.' That's difficult for a 25-year-old to hear." Following the animosity he suffered as a result of his performance, he contemplated suicide. In 2018, Best posted a picture of himself and his son looking out at the water on Twitter, writing, "20 years next year I faced a media backlash that still affects my career today. This was the place I almost ended my life. It's still hard to talk about. I survived, and now this little guy is my gift for survival."

Best continued working, though the vast majority of his performances came in the form of voiceover work for video games and television shows. His live-action roles amount to minor walk-on parts on various television series with a few recurring roles in others.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Tom Kane

Even if you don't know his name, you likely heard his voice at some point, beginning in 1992. Tom Kane has provided his inimitable voice talents to hundreds of characters over the years, with much of his work occurring in the "Star Wars" franchise. When you see Jedi Master Yoda in a video game or cartoon, his voice isn't provided by Frank Oz; it's Tom Kane. He voiced a plethora of characters in the franchise, but he had to step away in 2020.

Sadly, in late 2020, Kane suffered a stroke, which damaged his ability to speak. News of his condition was revealed in a statement his daughter gave to She explained that her father suffered a "left side stroke that gave him right-side weakness and damage to the speech center of his brain," noting that he was no longer able to "efficiently communicate verbally" and had other problems that would keep him from returning to work.

Kane's career as a voiceover artist came to an end following his stroke in 2020, but it wasn't announced right away. His daughter shared the news on Facebook (via Wookieepedia), along with an update about his condition and a request that his fans send in pictures and fan letters, which he was still able to read. The stroke brought his long and prominent career to a close, but some of his recordings made it into TV series and video games into 2021 and 2022.

Mark Hamill

In many ways, Mark Hamill is the face of "Star Wars." He played Luke Skywalker, the hero of the series and one of the most beloved parts in the franchise. Despite playing the main character in three of the most successful movies ever made, Mark Hamill's career in front of the camera actually has competition from his work behind the microphone. And while he continued to pop up in various roles and is still very famous, he never achieved the same level of public recognition for his work as someone like Harrison Ford.

One of the biggest problems Hamill had in finding new acting work after the original "Star Wars" trilogy ended was, well, his performance. Without question, his work as Luke was excellent, but it led to typecasting him into similar hero-type roles. As a result, he pursued different avenues. "What I love about voiceover," he told The Hollywood Reporter, "is they cast with their ears, not their eyes, so you're going to be able to do parts you'd never get if you were on camera."

Hamill hasn't disappeared from Hollywood; he has spent decades building a successful voiceover career. Unless you're paying attention to the credits of a cartoon or video game, you probably would never know Hamill was behind your favorite characterhe's that good at disguising his voice. (Yes, that is him as the Joker on "Batman: The Animated Series.") He has made some live-action appearances over the years — including but not limited to a return to "Star Wars" — but he's become a voiceover Jedi.

Daisy Ridley

Daisy Ridley was launched to superstardom with her portrayal of Rey in the "Star Wars" sequel trilogy, but that came at a cost. As she shared in V Magazine, she was under a lot of stress due to her work in the franchise, but she had other problems. Like many actors who got a big break via a "Star Wars" project, Ridley found her options limited despite her monumental success in the franchise. Before she was cast to play Rey in "The Force Awakens," most of her roles involved small walk-on parts on television series, where she worked in front of the camera.

After her time in the "Star Wars" franchise, Daisy Ridley had difficulty finding new acting roles. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Ridley said that for the first few months after the last film hit theaters, "nothing was coming through. I was like, 'Aww! No one wants to employ me." She further explained that she auditioned for plenty of roles during that time, but she didn't get any of them. The bulk of her credits following "The Rise of Skywalker" consisted of voiceover work on video games and shorts.  

While she had trouble finding a job for a little while, she managed to land a few gigs in films, including playing Helena Pelletier in "The Marsh King's Daughter," per Deadline. With some luck, she's likely to break free from any potential typecasting that's been common for actors who take on a central role in the "Star Wars" franchise. Hopefully, her absence should be comparably shorter than her peers.

Jeremy Bulloch

Jeremy Bulloch is another actor who few "Star Wars" fans would recognize. He played Boba Fett, who was one of the most popular characters of the original trilogy. Of course, being a Mandalorian bounty hunter, he never took his helmet off. Bulloch's face only appears in a few behind-the-scenes pictures from the production of "The Empire Strikes Back" or "Return of the Jedi." Regardless, Bulloch wasn't seen without his mask, so few "Star Wars" fans recognize him.

Jeremy Bulloch had a long career before he landed the role of Boba Fett, and his career continued after "Return of the Jedi." Unfortunately, he didn't rise to a level of public awareness, having secured minor one-off roles in various television series throughout the '80s, '90s, and early 2000s. Despite disappearing from the public eye for years, he managed to return to the "Star Wars" franchise in 2005. He played Captain Colton in "Revenge of the Sith," which gave him a fairly prominent role without having to wear a mask.

Despite being masked throughout the original trilogy, Jeremy Bulloch was a fan-favorite guest at conventions around the world. "Not a day goes by without people emailing saying, 'We have a convention, Mr. Bulloch, in Glasgow. We'd like you to come along and present,'" he told Thrillist in 2016. "That makes you feel proud." Bulloch passed away in December 2020, but he's still remembered for the part he played a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Sebastian Shaw

Sebastian Shaw had one of the shortest on-screen roles, with the most importance to the franchise: He played the unmasked Darth Vader at the end of "Return of the Jedi." His casting came as a surprise to the audience and the actor who donned the Vader costume throughout the trilogy. As fellow Vader actor David Prowse said in Rock Cellar Magazine, "I think the fans were disappointed too, as they hoped to see Dave Prowse when Darth Vader was finally unmasked." Prowse told the outlet that after Alec Guinness asked George Lucas if there were any parts in the flick for his buddy Sebastian Shaw, "George said the only thing available is the role of the dying Darth Vader."

Sebastian Shaw had a long and successful career before "Return of the Jedi," but playing Anakin Skywalker was his last significant role in a feature film. However, he did continue to work in smaller parts with several appearances in television series until 1992. Shaw died in 1994.

When "Return of the Jedi" was re-released in 2004, George Lucas replaced Shaw with Hayden Christensen in the final shot featuring the Force Ghosts of Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Anakin on Endo. As Lucas told Christensen in a conversation for Moviefone, this was a way to show the character's "inner person would go back to where we left it off when it turned to the dark side." This amendment also helped connect the prequels to the original trilogy.

David Prowse

David Prowse was the man behind the mask, playing Darth Vader for the original "Star Wars" trinity. However, he was neither the voice nor the face. "When I got the script for 'Star Wars,' I did all of Darth Vader's dialogue, all the way through the movie," he told Rock Cellar Magazine. "Well, unfortunately, I assumed wrongly that it was me that was going to go into the sound studio and record all the dialogue." He also noted that "James Earl Jones fit the part perfectly." As previously mentioned, the role of unmasked Vader went to Sebastian Shaw. 

As Den of Geek noted, Prowse accidentally spoiled "The Empire Strikes Back" years before its release, which "drove a wedge" between him and George Lucas. Decades later, after his career had begun to wane, Prowse appeared in an anti-Lucas documentary called "The People vs. George Lucas." He also shared on his now-defunct website (via Daily News) that he'd been banned from attending any "Star Wars" conventions or events, writing, "After enquiring, the only thing I have been told is that I have 'burnt too many bridges between Lucas Film and myself' — no other reason given."

Despite their problems, when Prowse passed away in November 2020, Lucas posted a tribute to the actor, writing, "David brought a physicality to Darth Vader that was essential for the character....May he rest in peace."