Finding Star Wars actors in the strangest of places

It was last weekend in Cambridge when we walked inside a shop called Gifted – a rather nondescript gift shop that did have one redeeming feature, a large display of Funko Pop! figures. As a family of casual collectors this drew us in, and it was only then that the Harley Quinn glasses presented themselves to me, but that’s another story for another time.

Gifted store in cambridge

It was my wife who overheard one of the staff talking to a customer, and the fact that he’d been an extra in a Star Wars film… Um, what? I was in a shop, just a random shop in Cambridge, and all of a sudden I find out I’m in the presence of someone who appeared in one of the greatest films that has ever been created – mind blown.

We get chatting, and it turns out he was an extra in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking and you can stop right there, bucko. I happen to like The Phantom Menace, a lot, and I know that’s not a popular opinion, especially for someone who grew up with the Original Trilogy but you see that? Yeah, well that’s me not caring. The way I see it I have 7 Star Wars films to enjoy and naysayers only have 4, including The Force Awakens, so who’s the unlucky one really, hey?

Brain Watkins - Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace extra

Anyway, back on track and we had a great chat with Brian Watkins, the name of this fine chap who traveled over to Tunisia to be in the presence of acting royalty such as Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor. He told us a few stories of his time on set and spoke very fondly of the actors and the cinematic deity that is George Lucas. He may have been just a man in the background when Qui Gon Jinn and Watto were talking, but to my son and I that Sunday he was our hero du jour. Thanks for chatting Brian, and posing for a photo with some people for which Star Wars is more than just some films. I get the feeling you got quite kick from the attention, and why not, you had quite an adventure and were kind enough to share it with us.

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