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Jun 21, 2016

Why does Star Wars have British actors?

Mark Hamill and Peter Cushing
An American and an Englishman walk into a Death Star
Why does Star Wars have British actors?

The recent use of English actress Daisy Ridley as Rey in Star Wars raised some eyebrows when her natural English accent was used. Actors like Christian Bale hid their natural accents when film so they sound American in American movies. Not so the Star Wars universe. As Ray’s opposite, Englishman John Boyega played Finn. Many British actors feature in the original trilogy as well. Why is this?

In terms of the original trilogy, large components of those films were made in England! Thus when you’re in England and needing actors, your players will tend to be English or British. Case in point, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew and Anthony Daniels are all British actors. And let's not forget the VERY famous English actors in the film - Peter Cushing as Tarkin and Sir Alec Guiness as Obi-Wan Kenobi. They were likely more actors sort out by Lucas for for being note worthy actors in their own right - Alec Guinness for example was already an Oscar Winner for the film Bridge on the River Kwai! 

Sure, George brought in American actors too but the reason why Star Wars has so many British actors is largely down to location, location location.

You'd probably have to accept that Daisy and Jon were not chosen for their roles in The Force Awakens solely because they lived in England, it likely was more they were identified as relatively unknown actors who had the potential to do the film justice and were cheap enough in a salary sense.  
In a similar manner,  when the Star Wars prequels were made, Australian and New Zealand actors featured heavily.

And where were those films made?

Australia. To catch some tax breaks, Star Wars prequels filmed down under. This lead to Australasian  actors and actresses such as Keisha Castle-Hughes, Tem Morrision (as Jango Fett AND Bobba Fett) and Jay Laga'aia had small to large roles in those films. 

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