Star Wars Actors Who Regretted Their Roles

"Star Wars" is one of the most successful global film franchises in the world, second only to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, according to CNBC. It spans almost half a century and has grossed more than $10 billion at the box office in that time, per Fox Business. It now consists of nine movies split into three trilogies and has spawned a number of film and television spinoffs, too.

The original trilogy began in 1977 with the film "Star Wars" (re-titled "Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope"). The subsequent films in the trilogy, "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi," were released in 1980 and 1983, respectively. "Star Wars" creator George Lucas then released a prequel trilogy between 1999 and 2005 which comprised "The Phantom Menace," "Attack of the Clones," and "Revenge of the Sith." Then, after Lucas sold the rights to "Star Wars" to Disney, a third sequel trilogy was released. It began in 2015 with "The Force Awakens," followed by "The Last Jedi" in 2017. It concluded in 2019 with "The Rise of Skywalker," which finally provided some closure for long-time fans of the franchise.

Given the expansive nature of the "Star Wars" universe, it seems impossible that anyone could hate being associated with the franchise. However, some of its biggest stars — Alec Guinness and Harrison Ford included — claim to regret their roles in the films. 

Alec Guinness loathed his time in the Star Wars franchise

Although he played one of the most beloved characters in the original "Star Wars" trilogy, Sir Alec Guinness had a complicated relationship with the franchise. In fact, he actually hated being remembered as the infamous Jedi Master, Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi. Guinness initially thought the three-film role sounded "interesting," according to personal letters which were published after his death, per "Alec Guinness: The Authorized Biography" (excerpted via Dangerous Minds). However, he quickly came to loathe "Star Wars" while filming the first movie. "Can't say I'm enjoying the film ... new rubbish dialogue reaches me every other day on wadges of pink paper — and none of it makes my character clear or even bearable," he wrote in another letter.

Guinness reportedly hated the role so much that he asked George Lucas to kill off his character. "I just couldn't go on speaking those bloody awful lines. I'd had enough of the mumbo jumbo," he later admitted, per Entertainment Weekly. The British star got his wish at the end of the film, though it's not clear if it was a result of his begging or if it was Lucas' plan all along. After Obi-Wan's death, Guinness returned as a spirit for the remaining films.

While Guinness may have hated "Star Wars," his family didn't feel the same way. His granddaughter (and fellow actor) Sally Guinness helped carry on her family's "Star Wars" legacy when J.J. Abrams offered her a cameo in "The Rise of Skywalker," per Nerdist

Carrie Fisher hated this iconic Princess Leia scene

For the most part, the late Carrie Fisher loved her role in "Star Wars." She played Leia Organa in the original trilogy and even reprised her role as the princess-turned-general in the sequel films. Returning to the franchise was a no-brainer for the "When Harry Met Sally" star. "I've been Princess Leia for 40 years, so what, I'm going to stop now?" she said in 2015 when "Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens" was released, per ABC News. She also got to star in the franchise alongside her daughter, Billie Lourd.

As thrilled as Fisher was to be able to play her iconic character again — an opportunity she called "ridiculous in a really good way" — there is one part of the original "Star Wars" trilogy she really regretted. Fisher said she despised the gold bikini she wore in "Return of the Jedi," per NPR. "It wasn't my choice," she admitted on "Fresh Air." "When [George Lucas] showed me the outfit, I thought he was kidding, and it made me very nervous." 

Over time, this scene became iconic for the character of Princess Leia — and an important part of pop culture history — but nothing about the experience was pleasant for Fisher. "I hated wearing that outfit and sitting there rigid straight," she explained. The only thing that redeemed the scene for her was when she reclaimed her power and killed her captor, Jabba the Hutt. "I really relished that," she added.

David Prowse's marriage suffered because of Star Wars

The "Star Wars" franchise was like a huge black cloud hanging over David Prowse's head. The late British star portrayed Darth Vader, one of the biggest characters in the original trilogy, but says the experience ruined his life. "I am a shadow of my former self," Prowse admitted in 2015 when the sequel trilogy came out, per The Sun. The actor also revealed that his career, marriage, and health all suffered because of his role in the franchise. "My wife won't have anything to do with Darth Vader and says Star Wars has been an intrusion into our life," he said.

Things all went wrong for Prowse in 1980 when he had a major falling out with "Star Wars" creator George Lucas. At the time, fans assumed the falling out was because James Earl Jones lent his voice to Prowse's character, but Lucas claimed it was because Prowse had leaked the first film's big revelation: that Luke Skywalker was Darth Vader's son. Prowse denied the accusation but felt he must have upset Lucas somehow because the fallout continued for years. He was replaced by Sebastian Shaw when Darth Vader was unmasked in "Return of the Jedi," and he complained to Equity Magazine (via SlashFilm) in 2009 that Lucasfilm was not sending him residual checks.

In the end, Prowse's "Star Wars" legacy concluded bleakly. "I've only got one favorite memory of filming Star Wars and that is when my very first cheque arrived," he noted bitterly to The Sun.

Harrison Ford was bored by his Star Wars character

Sadly, another major star from the original "Star Wars" trilogy regrets being a part of the billion-dollar franchise. Chicago-born actor Harrison Ford played the now-iconic character Han Solo, who worked side-by-side with his Wookiee co-pilot, Chewbacca, as the captain of the Millennium Falcon. Ford's role in "Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope" and the subsequent films catapulted him into a lifetime of Hollywood success. However, Ford wasn't a fan of his own "Star Wars" character.

When filming for "Return of the Jedi" ended, Ford had already starred in two more major film franchises, "Indiana Jones" and "Blade Runner." By this point, he had seemingly lost interest in "Star Wars," saying that three films were more than enough for him during a "Today" interview. In 2010, the actor revealed on "Popcorn With Peter Travers" that his dislike for Han Solo was because he just wasn't an "interesting" character. "I thought he should have died in the last one," he added.

Ford finally got his wish in the sequel trilogy. Director J.J. Abrams brought Solo back in "Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens," and, in a shocking twist, killed him off halfway through. "I argued for 30 years for this to happen and finally I wore them down," Ford quipped on "Jimmy Kimmel Live." Perhaps Ford has made some peace with the franchise now that he's said goodbye to Han Solo for good.

Kenny Baker said he felt taken advantage of

Though he mostly enjoyed his "Star Wars" experience, late R2-D2 actor Kenny Baker had a few regrets about his time in the "Star Wars" galaxy. Baker aired his grievances to Metro in 2009, with the most notable being that he and some of his co-stars weren't compensated fairly for their roles. Because DVD sales weren't a factor when they made their deals, he believed most of the cast were "taken for a ride," while executives continued to profit from the films. "Only Alec Guinness, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford were on royalties," he noted.

Baker's feud with his co-star Anthony Daniels, who played C-3PO, also tainted his "Star Wars" experience. While their characters were allies and companions on screen, this certainly wasn't the case behind the scenes. "He really degraded me and made me feel small — for want of a better expression," Baker revealed.

The British star had another gripe about playing the Ewok Paploo in "Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi," revealing that it was an experience he wouldn't wish on anybody. "The costumes looked great but were horrible to wear. They were layers of foam, rubber and fur — imagine that in the Redwoods of California." He also revealed that the costumes were so restrictive that when he and the other Ewok actors would trip over branches, they wouldn't be able to get back up again. All in all, it sounds pretty terrible.

Anthony Daniels hates the franchise that made his career

Anthony Daniels played C-3PO in the "Star Wars" franchise. He's the only actor to have appeared in all nine of the films, so you would think that would make him even more protective of the franchise. However, Daniels actually has some pretty major regrets about the experience — though it was not his feud with Kenny Baker or any of his other co-stars. Daniels was actually not thrilled about his work in the prequel trilogy and said he hated the CGI effects that were used. "It wasn't very good. In fact, I'm going to say it was awful," Daniels told Entertainment Weekly. "With me [in the suit], he's always going to move the same way and have the same reactions, timing, and so on" but you don't get that with CGI, he explained.

Daniels may have fallen out of love with "Star Wars" over the years, but he knows that playing C-3PO made his career, even if it has been an "exhausting" experience. He admitted to "slightly regretting" the role after shooting the first film, but he felt a kinship with his character that made him decide to return for "The Empire Strikes Back." "I had become fond of C-3PO and couldn't just abandon him. I think I felt responsible for him. And it was an acting job," he explained to The Guardian. Thankfully, Daniels was much happier with the third trilogy, ending his "Star Wars" experience on a positive note.

Natalie Portman regretted her role in the Star Wars prequels

"Black Swan" star Natalie Portman was 16 when she started filming "Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace," which was released in 1999 when she was 18. Though the "Star Wars" films were Portman's breakout roles, she has big regrets about playing Padmé Amidala in the franchise, especially after the backlash and criticism the films received. "Everyone thought I was a horrible actress," she told New York Magazine in 2014. "I was in the biggest-grossing movie of the decade, and no director wanted to work with me." Portman also revealed that director Mike Nichols, who was a mentor to her, had to "vouch for her" so she could get a part in "Cold Mountain" after the second prequel film "Attack of the Clones" was released.

Portman may have felt that appearing in the "Star Wars" prequel trilogy rocked her early career, but the Academy Award-winning actor has gone on to thrive in Hollywood with a long list of credits to her name, such as "Jackie," "No Strings Attached," and "Thor." Perhaps as a result of this, or simply because more time has passed, Portman's perspective on the "Star Wars" franchise seems to have changed. "People were so excited about the [sequels] ... [but] when something has that much anticipation it can almost only disappoint," she told Empire. She also noted that she's happy that the prequel films have "been re-evaluated by a lot of people who actually really love them now."

Star Wars was a letdown for Terence Stamp

"Superman" star Terence Stamp played Chancellor Valorum in "Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace," but he doesn't have any fond memories about the experience, which he described as "bland" during an interview with BFI. "I didn't rate [George Lucas] that much as a director, really. I didn't feel like he was a director of actors; he was more interested in stuff and effects," Stamp said during an interview with Empire Magazine (via Comic Book Movie). He also told BFI that Lucas was "not the kind of filmmaker that I'm interested in."

Lucas' directing wasn't all that bothered Stamp, though. The "Smallville" actor explained that the experience was even more of a letdown because he had initially been very keen to work on the film alongside one other actor in particular. "I came all the way back from Australia to do it ... and I wanted to meet Natalie Portman because I'd seen her in The Professional," Stamp revealed. However, while he did get to meet his co-star, he didn't actually get to act alongside her. "On the day I'm supposed to do my scene with her, for which I'd traveled halfway around the world, I said, 'Where's Natalie?' And George says, 'That's Natalie,' and points to a bit of paper on the wall," Stamp explained. Lucas had reportedly given Portman the day off, which was a major disappointment to Stamp. "It was just boring," he said.

Life after Star Wars was 'living hell' for Jake Lloyd

Jake Lloyd played the young iteration of Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader) in "Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace." The role could have been the start of a long and lucrative career for Lloyd. However, he said joining "Star Wars" made his life a "living hell," per Daily Mail. Lloyd and Natalie Portman share similar regrets about the franchise, with both actors noting that the prequel trilogy didn't live up to the hype. There were "a lot of expectations for it to meet the standards of an older public, and I don't think George did that," Lloyd said during a 2009 interview at Supanova in Sydney.

Lloyd also revealed that he was so badly bullied at school for years after starring in the film that he vowed to give up acting. His last acting credit was the 2001 sports drama "Madison," and he does not intend to return to Hollywood. "I've learned to hate it when the cameras are pointed at me," he told, per Daily Mail.

Lloyd has struggled since giving up acting. He was "arrested for reckless driving" in 2015, per ABC News. He served ten months in jail before being transferred to a psychiatric facility, according to TMZ, and he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. In 2020, his mother, Lisa Riley, confirmed that he was on the road to recovery in a public statement (via "He has moved closer to his family and we are all working hard to help him ... we hope to have him back to his fun and entertaining self as soon as possible."

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 had to take a break from acting after Star Wars

At the age of 19, Hayden Christensen took over the role of Anakin Skywalker from Jake Lloyd to portray an older iteration of the character. Although the films he appeared in ("Attack of the Clones" and "Revenge of the Sith") had mixed reviews, the role shot him into stardom — something Christensen regretted. "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," he explained to the Los Angeles Times.

The actor struggled to come to terms with the level of fame he was exposed to. "I didn't want to go through life feeling like I was just riding a [Star Wars] wave," he said. This led to Christensen retreating from Hollywood for long periods of time, despite knowing it could damage his career. "If I can come back afterward and claw my way back in, then maybe I'll feel like I earned it,'" he explained.

Christensen has certainly earned it, appearing in films including "Little Italy" and "The Last Man" in recent years. He's also made peace with his past by returning to the "Star Wars" franchise. He reprised the role of Anakin Skywalker for the franchise's ninth installment, "The Rise of Skywalker," and was cast in the television series "Obi-Wan Kenobi" and "Ahsoka," per The Hollywood Reporter.

Ahmed Best said Star Wars was the death of his career

Ahmed Best's acting career was another victim of the "Star Wars" prequel trilogy. Best played Jar Jar Binks in the franchise, which he said felt "like a success and a failure at the exact same time," per Wired. "I was staring at the end of my career before it started," he added. "Star Wars" creator George Lucas told best to wait it out, that people needed time to appreciate the character of Jar Jar, but popular opinion never changed. "I had people come to me and say, 'You destroyed my childhood.' That's difficult for a 25-year-old to hear," Best recalled.

After the films, Best struggled to find meaningful acting jobs beyond some work that he wasn't particularly "proud of" and was "just to pay the bills." Perhaps this is what led him back into the "Star Wars" fold, where he lent his voice — or more accurately, Jar Jar's voice — to a series of video games and "The Clone Wars" animated series.

There's no doubt that severe critical backlash dampened Best's career prospects, but the actor only revealed the true extent of the situation in 2018. "20 years next year I faced a media backlash that still affects my career today," Best said on Twitter. "I almost ended my life. ... [but] I survived and now this little guy is my gift for survival," he wrote alongside a picture of himself and his son, which shows he's in a much better place these days.

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

Peter Serafinowicz has major regrets about taking a role in his favorite franchise

Peter Serafinowicz has had a successful career as an actor, comedian, and director. However, his first-ever film role still haunts him. "The Tick" star voiced Darth Maul in "Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace" and was initially super excited to be a part of the franchise. "You're kind of like the new James Earl Jones," he recalls George Lucas saying to him before filming, per "RHLSTP with Richard Herring."

That was a ringing endorsement from Lucas, so Serafinowicz jumped at the chance to see the movie at its official premiere. However, he said the film was "boring," and he'd had to pay around $1000 for the experience of watching it. He was even more disappointed by the way some of the characters were portrayed. "It reminds me of [when] ... there's an old black-and-white film on, and someone's in blackface," he said. "It was like the most racist film of the twentieth century!"

Serafinowicz got another chance to rewrite his "Star Wars" legacy in "Solo: A Star Wars Story," deciding to reprise his voice role because he's such a fan of the original trilogy. "I was excited that this film was going to come out because I was going to take my kids and their friends ... and then [surprise] your dad's in it," he explained, per "Collider Live." However, he was replaced and not told until after the premiere, which was very "disappointing" for the "Star Wars" fan.

Daisy Ridley has regrets about her role in The Force Awakens

Daisy Ridley is the star of the third "Star Wars" trilogy. The "Ophelia" actor plays Rey, a young Jedi who joins the rebellion in the films. Ridley is proud to be a part of the franchise and said it was an "incredible" moment when she saw the first film ("The Force Awakens") coming together because "thousands upon thousands" of people worked so hard on it, per "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon."

However, Ridley also admitted that she had some regrets about her performance in the first installment of the sequel trilogy. "I didn't think I was good in the first film, and I was struggling with that," she told Elle. It probably didn't help that this was her "first proper film," and she was extremely nervous, per "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon." "I was petrified. I thought I was gonna have a panic attack on the first day," Ridley admitted to Glamour. But it was some unexpected criticism that really pushed the actor over the edge. "J.J. [Abrams] ... he probably doesn't remember telling me that my performance was wooden. This was my first day! And I honestly wanted to die," Ridley revealed. "I thought I was gonna cry, I couldn't breathe."

However, in the end, Ridley prefers to focus on the positives. "My experience has been incredible, I've felt supported and respected the whole way through," she concluded.

Mark Hamill hated what happened to Luke Skywalker at the end of Star Wars

Mark Hamill loved playing Luke Skywalker in the original "Star Wars" trilogy but says he regretted his role in the sequels. This was partly because he clashed with director Rian Johnson about their respective visions for Luke Skywalker on the set of "Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi." The tension had seemingly been building, and Hamill couldn't help but let his feelings be known in press interviews. Speaking to IMDb, he explained some of his frustration: "Luke says, 'It's time for the Jedi to end.' Huh? ... How could this happen? What could have happened to this guy that he would wind up — the most hopeful, optimistic guy — now this bitter old cynic?"

Hamill later apologized for voicing his doubts and criticizing Johnson and the movie, saying he thought it turned out "great," per Twitter. But he would go on to reveal that he felt the success of the film came at a price, and he had to make some compromises. "I almost had to think of Luke as another character. Maybe he's Jake Skywalker — he's not my Luke Skywalker," he told SensaCine. Since concluding the prequel trilogy, Hamill has made a guest appearance as Luke Skywalker on "The Mandalorian," so it seems he hasn't completely fallen out of love with the character.