Only a few original Star Wars cast members still alive as dozens have died since franchise started
| Last updated
Star Wars remains one of the best loved film franchises to this day, but 45 years since the franchise began there are only a handful of the original actors remaining.
Depending on how old you are, the 'main cast' of Star Wars could refer to a number of different people.
If you've only recently got into the franchise, you might name Felicity Jones, Daisy Ridley or John Boyega as the stars.
Go back a bit further and you'll know Ewan McGregor and Christopher Lee, but you need to go all the way back to the start to find the first appearances of Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher in 1977.
The story has since spanned almost five decades and 12 films, but over the last 45 years dozens of those who helped kick off the franchise have sadly passed away.
I won't list all of the actors - unfortunately we'd be here a while if I did - but here are some of those who have since died:
Perhaps the most recognisable of the original Star Wars actors to have died, Fisher played Princess Leia in the series and appeared in A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens, and, one year after her death, The Last Jedi.
The actor passed away in 2016 at the age of 60 after suffering a heart attack.
Following her death, filmmaker George Lucas described Fisher as 'extremely smart; a talented actress, writer, and comedienne with a very colourful personality that everyone loved'.
“In Star Wars, she was our great and powerful princess — feisty, wise and full of hope in a role that was more difficult than most people might think. My heart and prayers are with Billie, Debbie and all Carrie’s family, friends and fans. She will be missed by all," Lucas added.
Fans of the original Star Wars film may recognise Cushing as Wilhuff Tarkin; a ruthless proponent of military power who rose through the Imperial ranks to become Grand Moff and take charge of the construction of the Death Star.
Cushing passed away in 1994 at the age of 81 after being diagnosed with cancer, and was also known to have played Baron Frankenstein in films like Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell and Frankenstein Created Woman.
Before Ewan McGregor came along and made a name for himself as Obi-Wan, Guinness starred in the first Star Wars as Ben Kenobi.
He was presented as a mentor to Luke Skywalker as he taught him the ways of the Jedi, but his character was taken over by McGregor in the prequel trilogy which arrived a few years later.
Guinness died in 2000 at the age of 86 following years of poor health, but throughout his life he enjoyed a successful acting career which spanned 60 years.
Phil Brown and Shelagh Fraser
Way back when Luke Skywalker was an infant, it was Uncle Owen Lars and his wife Beru who was tasked with caring for him as they believed Luke's dad (spoilers, sorry) Anakin Skywalker had died due to his role as a Jedi.
Brown and Fraser both made just one appearance in the Star Wars franchise to play Luke's guardians before their characters met an early end at the hands of imperial storm troopers.
In real life, Brown he passed away in 2006 at the age of 89 after contracting pneumonia, while Fraser died in 2000 following a lengthy illness.
Another military man, McCrindle portrayed General Jan Dodonna in the 1977 film, establishing himself as a legendary officer who served with the navy of the Galactic Republic during the Clone Wars, within the navy of the Galactic Empire, and as a general in the rebellion against the Galactic Empire.
McCrindle racked up a number of other film and television credits following his role in Star Wars, but passed away in 1990 seven years after the original trilogy came to an end.
Other original actors who are no longer around include Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Kenny Baker (R2-D2), Eddie Byrne (General Willard), Don Henderson (General Taggi), Richard LeParmentier (General Motti), Gary Jay Friedkin (Ewok), Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett) and David Prowse (Darth Vader).
Thankfully, though, there are still some original actors around to remember the start of the franchise, with Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford (Han Solo) and Anthony Daniels (C3PO) still fighting the good fight.