Simon Pegg is not only a very talented performer and screenwriter, he’s also just an incredibly sharp human being. He’s a fan of many of the same things we are, but being on “the other side of the silver screen” so to speak hasn’t dampened his passion—or his candor. As evidenced by his recent fantastic essay on “nerd culture,” Pegg is brutally honest when it comes to everything from the Star Wars franchise to how audiences consume pop culture in the 21st century, and it all comes from a place of true adoration for cinema.
However, just because Pegg is a fan doesn’t mean he can’t also have some fun with people’s expectations and overreactions. The past year has been an “Is He/Isn’t He” game regarding a potential cameo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as Pegg milked fan interest in such an appearance by answering questions with as much winking coyness as possible. He even went so far as to “reveal “another potential cameo in the film, claiming that Daniel Craig is a stormtrooper somewhere.
This summer we finally got our answer when a behind-the-scenes teaser reel for The Force Awakens revealed that yes, Pegg has a role in the film—as a costumed practical effects creature, no less. But in a new interview with EW, J.J. Abrams reveals that Pegg’s role on The Force Awakens was much more significant than a simple cameo:
“I will say this in terms of Simon: while he won’t be recognizable in the movie, in all honesty, his role in this – not the performance or the character – but his support and friendship has been massively important and helpful in the process,” Abrams says, shifting from deadpan to sincere. “He was a wonderful partner in crime to kick the story around and ask questions and come up with ideas, and he was an incredibly helpful part of the process for all of us. I’m very grateful.”
Yes indeed, Pegg was part of the brain trust that helped shaped this new generation of Star Wars films:
“He was a sounding board. He would drop by the set because he wanted to, and when he could, he would help… We could talk about things, and he was a perfect combination of incredibly smart screenwriter, fan of the series, critical fan of the series, and friend of mine – but not just blindly supportive. He was an honest, critical friend. And he wasn’t so close to it that he became immune to things. He would come in with fresh eyes and very smart ideas. He’s one of a handful of people along the way that has been really priceless.”
Pegg has plenty of experience as a screenwriter on films like Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Paul, last year’s terrific The World’s End, and the currently filming Star Trek Beyond, so he clearly understands story and character quite well. And he’s also a massive fan of the Star Wars franchise who is not afraid in the slightest to discuss his displeasure with the prequels, so it’s fitting (and promising) that he contributed to the direction of the new films in the franchise.
But what of that Daniel Craig cameo? Was that just Pegg having a laugh, or was he on to something? Here’s how Abrams responded:
“I’ve been asked to say nothing by Her Majesty’s Secret Service.”
For what it’s worth, Craig himself has denied the cameo. But he was shooting Spectre on the same stage at the same time as Star Wars, so it’s possible he threw on a stormtrooper outfit and hopped in front of the camera for a day. Given the costume, it’s also possible we’ll never know for sure.
Peruse our recent Star Wars: The Force Awakens content below:
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- ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Character Names Explained
- New ‘Star Wars’ Images Feature Baddies, Robots, and Lots of Stormtroopers
- ‘Star Wars’ Villain Kylo Ren’s Original Trilogy Roots Revealed
- ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ TV Spot Reveals New Footage