Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was about ending a nine-film arc. Three trilogies, spanning four decades, all brought to a conclusion in one movie. And yet, it also was a standalone installment, filled with brand new locations, characters, and stories. The most significant addition gave viewers a look into Poe Dameron's past as a spice-runner and a trip to the snow-dusted planet of Kijimi, where fans met Zorii and Babu Frik. But this Harry Potter connection in Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker was one of the most surprising parts about it.
The delight in using Jim Henson's Creature Shop puppets for the Star Wars space aliens doesn't just come from the long history between the Muppets and a galaxy far, far away. It's also a way to throw in cameo appearances from actors who would otherwise be ultra recognizable. For instance, Simon Pegg, well-known for his comedy movies as well as his role as Scotty in Star Trek, was the one under all that fabric, rubber, and wire that made up Unkar Plutt. D-0, the new droid in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, is voiced by director J.J. Abrams.
But in the film's sneakiest cameo, Babu Frik is voiced by actress Shirley Henderson. For Harry Potter fans, she's the famous bathroom-haunting character, Moaning Myrtle.
It's not surprising that most fans probably didn't put two and two together about Frik and Moaning Myrtle. Even though Kijimi is a crucial plot point, and Frik's work in hacking C-3PO is necessary for Rey to translate the dagger, the scenes are rather short. Moreover, Kijimi is the sixth planet fans see in the first 45 minutes of the film. Getting overloaded and missing a familiar voice is unsurprising.
But Henderson isn't the only Harry Potter actor or actress to move to the storied Star Wars franchise. The final Potter film came out in 2011, and Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012 with the intention to make Episodes 7-9. For many of these British-based actors, the timing to go from one to the other was perfect.
Domhnall Gleeson, for instance, played Bill Weasley in Harry Potter and General Hux in all three Star Wars sequel films. Warwick Davis, who had been in the first Star Wars trilogy as the lead Ewok, Wicket, did the Harry Potter movies as both Professor Flitwick and Griphook. Then he went back to the Star Wars franchise where's he's played different characters in all five films to hit the big screen in the last decade. And most recently, Natalia Tena went from playing Tonks in Harry Potter to Osha in Game of Thrones and now Xi'an in The Mandalorian.
Henderson's in good company in the multi-franchise player game. The only question fans should be asking is where she'll turn up next.