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Mark "Luke Skywalker" Hamill is living proof that a man only has so much good fortune coming to him in a lifetime. Hamill used up all of his by 1983, and has spent every year since voicing cartoons and being accosted by Star Wars geeks on the street.

But Hamill's post-Star Wars life has been wildly-successful compared to some of the other greats who suffered the same fate. Here are five men who were integral to the Star Wars franchise but whose careers outside the trilogy were almost almost as sad as Hamill's:

Peter Cushing

The character:
Imperial Officer Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin

The actor:
Peter Cushing was so old-school, he actually appeared in a Laurel and Hardy movie (A Chump at Oxford). That was before George Lucas was even freaking born. Cushing was best known for his work in Hammer horror films, often opposite longtime friend Count Dooku-er, Christopher Lee. Cushing also played Dr. Who in two films and came very close to changing Star Wars history forever: he was originally considered for the role of Obi-Wan over Alec Guinness. Picture that.

Inestimable contribution to the films:
Tarkin was nothing less than the real badass of the first film. When Vader started air-choking a guy, it was Tarkin who told him to back it off and Vader did what he was told. Also, you thought it was scary when Anakin killed those kids in Episode III? Tarkin killed a whole planet's worth of them on Alderaan, and for even less reason.

Without Cushing's Tarkin next to him, Vader just looks silly with his mask and cape. Cushing's reptillian deathmask of a face made Tarkin look like a guy you could see on the news tonight, on trial for war crimes.

Most memorable line:
"You're far too trusting. Dantooine is too remote to make an effective demonstration. But don't worry, we will deal with your rebel friends soon enough."

Best Youtube video featuring character:
Our vote goes to this bizarre still of Tarkin looking particularly skeletal while a deep-voiced Latino man narrates in Spanish about God know what. If you speak Spanish, feel free to post a full translation in the comments section, as we're actually quite curious about it.

Weirdest merchandise based on character:
This full-body Tarkin costume, complete with disturbing rubber death mask and a wig of what looks like steel wire.

Best excerpt from Wikipedia entry on character:
"In an incident that became known as the 'Ghorman Massacre,' Tarkin ordered his ship to land on a platform where a large group of protesters were protesting the Imperial taxation on the distant planet Ghorman. Hundreds of Imperial subjects were crushed by Tarkin's transport in the landing."

Best excerpt from Wikipedia entry on actor:
"In 1989 Cushing was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. He retired to Whitestable, where he had bought a seafront house in 1959, and continued his hobby of birdwatching."

Where is he now?
Dead. But, between Star Wars and dying, he managed to appear in various films as a major, commissioner, commander and colonel, forever typecasting him and earning him a military funeral. He was also in a movie called Biggles: Adventures in Time which is apparently about a time-traveling WWI fighter pilot named Bigglesworth. We're guessing he didn't get knighted for that one.

Mark Hamill Career Sadness Rating: 15 (out of 100)
Cushing didn't have Hamill's high expectations, of course, because he wasn't the star. Also, he was knighted, though his knighting is one of those knightings (see Penelope Cruz) that could be seen more as a statement about how little it means to be knighted these days.

Still, he got to tell people he was a knight and when little kids heard that they probably thought it meant he had slayed a dragon. That is, until they caught him bird watching.
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Peter Mayhew

The character:
Wookie smuggler Chewbacca

The actor:
He's tall. Peter Mayhew is a goddamned 7-foot-3 inches. That's two Tom Cruises. If we're going to be totally honest here, that was the main contributor to him landing the role of Chewie. OK, the only contributor. In Mayhew's own words, "All I had to do was stand up."

Before Star Wars, Mayhew worked primarily as a hospital orderly in London. Unconfirmed reports say he was dismissed after his height, bony stature, and penchant for bringing a sickle to work caused a number of elderly patients to rip out their IV solution bags and run screaming for the street.

Inestimable contribution to the films:
Try to imagine Chewbacca, only about two feet shorter. Mayhew's freakish height is the only thing separating Chewbacca from a damned Ewok. Seriously, picture short Chewie in your head. Mayhew was the only thing keeping that costume from being laugh-out-loud ridiculous.

Most memorable line:
"AAGGGRAAAHHRRGG!"

Best Youtube video featuring character:
It's technically only a reference to the character, but the following video of a man (possibly) afflicted with honest-to-goodness Tourette's syndrome invites you to imagine Chewie in a whole new light. It's about one minute in and, since we're talking about Tourette's here, you should not crank up the sound if you're at work:

Weirdest merchandise based on character:
This costume that will make your child look like a tiny, partially-shaved Chewbacca:

You have to make sure you kid doesn't charge around growling and breaking stuff after Halloween is over, or else you'll get a call from the school about some prescriptions you need to go pick up.

Best excerpt from Wikipedia entry on character:
"Chewbacca's voice is a combination of several animals, including bears, badgers, walruses, cats and camels."

Best excerpt from Wikipedia entry on actor:
"He received his first acting job in 1977 when the producers of the movie Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger discovered Mayhew from a photograph in a newspaper article about men with large feet, and they cast him in the role of the minotaur. "

Where is he now?
Mayhew voiced the character Susha in Dragonball: GT and is all set to appear in Yesterday Was a Lie, a fantasy sci-fi noir movie about quantum physics, Jungian psychology, and whatever else they manage to cram in. Fans of Chewie who were disappointed to see him gypped out of a hero's medal at the end of Episode IV will also be glad to note that he was ceremoniously given one as part of a Lifetime Achievement Award at the MTV Movie Awards in 1997.

Mark Hamill Career Sadness Rating: 35
Since most fans don't know his face, Mayhew actually has the advantage of getting to choose when he's mobbed by geeks (he wears the above Chewbacca T-shirt for those occasions) and when he's merely gawked at as a horribly tall freak. So, he has that.

On the other hand, his one claim to fame was playing an almost non-speaking role in a sweaty fur suit, which means he was only a few steps above a college football mascot.

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Jeremy Bulloch

The character:
Mandalorian armor-clad bounty hunter Boba Fett

The actor:
Jeremy Bulloch wasn't the only Boba Fett, but appearing in both Empire and Jedi makes him the standard. You might also know his strikingly unthreatening face as Q's assistant from the James Bond film Octopussy, a movie that many audiences walked out on after realizing the title character did not have eight vaginas.

Inestimable contribution to the films:
What is it about Boba Fett? The guy is barely in the original trilogy and dies a ridiculous death when a blind Han Solo accidentally knocks him off a barge. Yet, the fans went nuts for him.

Bulloch had to be doing something right. The way he... stood there. Wearing that cool costume. And, you know, holding that gun thing. Maybe the guy just puts off a vibe.

Most memorable line:
"Put Captain Solo in the cargo hold."

Best Youtube video featuring character:
Behold nasal-voiced MC Chris' rap masterpiece, the only bit of detritus from Star Wars fandom to finally speak to the core of Fett's raison d'etre. Fett leads his cold life of solitary, ruthless pursuit simply as a means to finance his 'Vette.

Good luck getting that shit out of your head, by the way.

Weirdest merchandise based on character:
This Lego Fett, who is quite a bit more badass than the real Fett due to his steel claw hands and man-sized supergun.

Best excerpt from Wikipedia entry on character:
"Boba Fett is garbed in traditional Mandalorian armor with a cape, and several braids made of Wookiee pelts at his shoulder. His gauntlets also feature a wrist-mounted flame thrower, sonic beam weapons, dart shooter, several blades, and a fibercord whip with a grappling hook. Other weapons include a jetpack with a miniature concussion rocket launcher, rocket dart launchers, grenades, gas pellets, and a pulse cannon."

Best excerpt from Wikipedia entry on actor:
"In a career spanning almost half a century, he is perhaps most famous for his role as Boba Fett in the Star Wars films The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi."

Perhaps?

Where is he now?
Bulloch appeared alongside fellow unsung Star Wars hero David Prowse in the Internet fan films Order of the Sith: Vengeance and its sequel Downfall. Like every second-tier member of the cast, he's no stranger to the convention circuit, but at least he scored a cameo in Episode III, as a ship's pilot. He also released a memoir called Flying Solo, which seems like the perfect title for a Harrison Ford memoir, if his memoir weren't already going to be titled Get Off my Plane: the James Marshall Story.

Mark Hamill Career Sadness Rating: 70
We're dangerously close to Mark Hammill territory, here. When we first heard the title of his memoir, we nearly burst out into tears. Pair that with the Internet fan films, and you've got the guy that even Hamill probably doesn't want to talk to at the Star Wars conventions.

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Denis Lawson

The character:
Rebel X-Wing Pilot Wedge Antilles

The actor:
According to his official (meaning Wikipedia) biography, Denis Lawson was born in Crief, Perth and Kinross, which we are choosing to believe means he left three separate wombs, in thirds, and was assembled later.

His father was a watchmaker and his mother sold sweets, making him by far the member of the Star Wars cast with the childhood most like a Hans Christian Anderson story. He's also the only member of the Star Wars cast to have his name misspelled in the credits (twice!), giving him full automatic rights to the title "unsung."

Get this: Ewan MacGregor, Obi-Wan Mark 2, is his nephew! We imagine family reunions are pretty awkward, what with Uncle Denis telling stories about "the good old days with Alec" as soon as he's got a few shots in him.

Inestimable contribution to the films:
Was the only minor character to survive all three movies, despite being present at both Death Star attacks and being likable yet expendable, usually a recipe for poignant death.

Most memorable line:
"My scope shows the tower, but I can't see the exhaust port!"

Best Youtube video featuring character:
This is a keen dance number, in which Wedge leads the gang in a victorious celebration of the Rebel victory over the evil Empire.

Weirdest merchandise based on character:
This Topps trading card from 1996, featuring Wegde in a shimmering bodysuit on what appears to be planet Hoth, if it were struck with a beam that made everything into rainbows.

Best excerpt from Wikipedia entry on character:
"At this time the unworldly scientist Qwi Xux, primary designer of the Death Star, appeared in Wedge's life, and the two were involved romantically for several years, during which Kyp Durron's Force-mindwipe changed her life for better or for worse. Barely hours after the break-up, Wedge found himself en-route to Adumar as a pilot/diplomat for the New Republic; there he met Iella Wessiri again, and after a few false starts, the two became officially engaged."

Best excerpt from Wikipedia entry on actor:
"He recently appeared on an episode of "Loose Ends" hosted by Ned Sherrin on BBC Radio 4 (December 10, 2005), during which his cell phone rang."

Where is he now?
Lawson is one of the few to have actively resisted the siren's call of Star Wars reprisals, denying a request by Lucas to play Capt. Antilles, a character "totally unrelated" to Wedge, in Episode III. Sorry George, we guess he saw Episode II.

Lawson has had an extremely healthy career in BBC television, appearing in more than 20 series between now and then. In fact, he's still considered a celebrity in London, but as a master of musical comedy. Admittedly this is not as cool as being known as a sci-fi fighter pilot, but it's a damn sight better than being known as one of the 30 guys who hasn't done anything since the '70s. Now if only he'd star in a musical comedy about the life of Wedge Antilles.

Mark Hamill Career Sadness Rating: 10
On one hand: he turned down Lucas and the chance to cash in once again on his old role. On the other hand: musical theater.

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David Prowse

The character:
The body of Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Vader

The actor:
Before playing Vader, the staggering 6--foot--7 inch weightlifter appeared in several films as Huge Muscular Guy.

Our favorite role has to be Green Cross Code Man, a hero invented by the BBC to encourage kids to follow street lights when crossing the street. A video of Prowse as Green Cross Code Man can be seen here. Thrill as he allows two small children to nearly get hit by a car, just to teach them a lesson!

Inestimable contribution to the films:
He intimidated everyone while simultaneously allowing James Earl Jones to perform his role from a booth in his underwear.

Most memorable line:
Technically, he had no lines. Even sadder, Prowse apparently wasn't aware James Earl Jones was slated to overdub his voice, and got quite pissed about his being replaced in post production.

Best Youtube video featuring character:
Tough to call, as the videos of Darth playing the blues and being a smartass are both hilarious in their own right. But, for our money the funniest Vader vid has to be the one below, in which the beleaguered Sith Lord finally snaps under pressure.

Weirdest merchandise based on character:
Darth Tater is the only member of the Potato Head species that has spent a lifetime hunting down and murdering Jedi Knights.

Best excerpt from Wikipedia entry on character:
"Darth Vader appeared in the commercials for Energizer where Emperor Palpatine (who is shown with a battery for a right eye) instructs Darth Vader to get the Energizer Bunny's battery. When Darth Vader attacks with his lightsaber, the Supervolt batteries in it run out."

Best excerpt from Wikipedia entry on actor:
"In a television interview he related how his response to being told 'We've found our Superman' was 'Thank you very much.' Then he was told that Reeve had been chosen and he was only to be a trainer."

Where is he now?
As mentioned above, Prowse worked as a trainer whipping Christopher Reeve into shape to play Superman. He also trained Cary Elwes to play Westley in The Princess Bride. Unlike most typecast actors, Prowse seems to love his most famous role, still attending conventions to discuss the films and even heading the 501st legion, a group of Star Wars costuming fans.

Mark Hamill Career Sadness Rating: 96
Despite his total succumbing to the geek world, Prowse can't seem to get the recognition he so deeply craves. He even appeared as Vader in two fan films for website Order of the Sith, yet his lobby to get to play Vader in Episode III was denied, and he was excluded both from the Star Wars reunion documentary Empire of Dreams and the famous Star Wars cast photo for Vanity Fair.

This is how the guy gets treated? He makes millions for George Lucas, and these days Lucas can't drive past him without chucking a beer can at him and cackling as he drives away?

Well, we appreciate you, Prowse. And, when we watch the original trilogy, we'll always imagine you behind the mask instead of Hayden fucking Christensen.

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