Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is a milestone in American cinema. George Lucas' generation-spanning space opera has magically become a generation-spanning franchise, with three trilogies released over 40-plus years. But the Skywalker Saga, as people are starting to call it, comes to a close in December 2019, making this a time to pause and reflect on the sheer achievement of the franchise. But an odd clip in this retrospective has fans asking a question no one saw coming: Is Ed Sheeran in Star Wars: Rise Of Skywalker? I'm sorry, what?
Ed Sheeran is known as a pop singer-songwriter of extraordinary talent. But he's also known as a massive fanboy of science fiction and fantasy. His love of Game of Thrones was so legendary, the showrunners cast him in a cameo appearance as a Lannister soldier with a golden voice.
Unfortunately, the cameo didn't go over well with fans at the time. It was shoehorned in, it didn't fit well with the rest of the episode, and it was distracting.
With that kind of track record, one might think Sheeran would stay away from cameos. That's why fans were startled to see footage of Sheeran in a stormtrooper costume in the "Special Look" for Rise of Skywalker that aired during the 2019 American Music Awards.
There have been rumors on and off that Sheeran might have a cameo in Episode IX. It's a tradition at this point for the Star Wars films to include famous faces in these movies, but in roles where no one can see them. For instance, James Bond actor Daniel Craig has an entire scene as a stormtrooper in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Simon Pegg was the man beneath the alien pudge of Unkar Plutt in the same film.
Venom's Tom Hardy also hides under a stormtrooper mask in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. He was joined by Princes William and Harry as well in the stormtrooper ranks, though their scene was ultimately cut. Footage from their time on set is included in this behind the scenes clip, though.
Sheeran isn't the only one pictures in costume either. Lin-Manuel Miranda also shows up dressed as a Resistance fighter standing next to actress Naomi Ackie.
But don't worry these cameos will distract from the film just yet. Like Harry and Will, there's no guarantee these cameos will make it into the film. According to Entertainment Weekly:
[A] representative for Disney cautioned that neither Miranda or Sheeran is confirmed to appear in the new film and noted the footage is from 'fan events over the years.'
Fans will have to wait and see if either actor makes it into The Rise of Skywalker and if they even notice when they do.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker premieres on Friday, Dec. 20, 2019.