After many years in the making, Obi-Wan Kenobi has officially kicked off on Disney+. The series, directed by Deborah Chow, follows Ewan McGregor as Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tatooine after the rise of the Galactic Empire. McGregor's fellow castmates include Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader, Rupert Friend as the Grand Inquisitor, Moses Ingram as Reva, and Sung Kang as the Fifth Brother.
While Star Wars projects have always been known for including top-tier actors such as Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson, and Samuel L. Jackson, it has become somewhat of a tradition to have cameos from celebrities in the music industry.
Warning - the rest of this article contains spoilers for Episodes 1 & 2 of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
There have been multiple cameos from different musicians in Star Wars' recent memory. These roles can range from simply being under a stormtrooper's helmet and only getting a few seconds of screentime to having a decently sized role and furthering the plot.
This trend began with 2019's The Rise of Skywalker and continued in The Book of Boba Fett. Now that the first two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi have been released, yet another artist can now be added to the list of celebrity cameos in Star Wars projects, with this one being a member of one of the most popular alternative rock bands of all time - Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Flea's Role in Obi-Wan Kenobi
In Obi-Wan Kenobi's premiere episode, Vivien Lyra Blair's Princess Leia is playing in the forest of Alderaan when she comes across a man leaning against a tree. Up until this point, the man had been seen in two separate shots, but only the back of his head was visible. When the camera finally provided the viewer with a glimpse of his face, it was none other than Flea, the bassist for the Los Angeles alternative rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Flea played a bounty hunter named Vect Nokru that was hired by Reva to capture Princess Leia and take her to Daiyu. This was done in an attempt to draw Obi-Wan out so that Reva could finally end her search for him and bring him to her leader, Darth Vader.
Flea is not the first musician to play a role in a Disney-Star Wars project. In 2019's The Rise of Skywalker, there were four celebrity musicians who appeared in the film. English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran showed up as a member of the First Order, decked out in a full stormtrooper costume.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, who is best known for his work on 2015's Broadway musical Hamilton and the soundtrack for 2021's Encanto, also played a minor role in The Rise of Skywalker. Unlike Sheeran, Miranda joined sides with the Resistance and got to snap an image with Naomi Ackie's Jannah.
The Maestro himself, John Williams, who composed the scores for all nine films in the Skywalker Saga and the main theme for Obi-Wan Kenobi, also made a brief appearance in The Rise of Skywalker as Oma Tres. Williams' character was a bartender on the planet Kijimi and could be seen when Rey, Poe, and Finn first arrived at that location.
The final celebrity cameo in The Rise of Skywalker was film composer Michael Giacchino, who played a Sith Trooper and got to put on the full red armor that they wear in the film. Giacchino is a well-known composer, including recent work on The Batman and Spider-Man: No Way Home.
The other notable cameo appearance from a musician came in 2021's The Book of Boba Fett. It was revealed in the series that Boba found Fennec after she had been shot. Even though she was on the brink of death, he took her to a local mod parlor to get her midsection replaced with cybernetics in order for her to live. The artist that performed the procedure was none other than Thundercat, a bassist, singer-songwriter, and former member of the band Suicidal Tendencies.
Why Cameos are Good for Star Wars
Star Wars is known for having one of the biggest fanbases in the history of pop culture. People from all over the world, of all ages, cherish the franchise and the stories within. That being said, it is no surprise that there are a significant number of celebrities that enjoy the galaxy far, far away as well.
Some fans have tried to make the case that cameos hurt the actual plot of an episode, or that seeing someone on screen that is obviously not an actor takes the realism out of the finished product. It is completely up for debate, and each viewer has the right to form their own opinion about how cameos are handled within the franchise, but if the person making the appearance is in a different line of work, in this case, a musician, it allows the two worlds to cross over. Each side can get a taste of the other, and the people within may even find something new that they had no idea they liked.
For example, after seeing Flea in Obi-Wan Kenobi, a viewer may be prompted to look up Red Hot Chili Peppers and then find out that they actually really enjoy that kind of music. On the opposite hand, someone that a big Red Hot Chili Peppers fan may see that one of the band members is appearing in Star Wars, which could lead to them watching the Disney+ series and potentially getting into the franchise.
As long as cameos don't overwhelm the screen and drag down the plot, they are pretty harmless. It allows the viewer to have a fun little moment when they recognize a face they have seen somewhere else in the world, and it brings a bit of enjoyment to the celebrity that is playing the role.