Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.
MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: ‘N Sync filmed appearances as Jedi knights in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones.
Perhaps the key moment in the second Star Wars prequel, Attack of the Clones, is what is known as “The First Battle of Geonosis,” where Mace Windu and a group of Jedi Knights are saved from Separatists led by former Jedi Knight Count Dooku by Yoda and the Republic’s new clone army. This was the first battle of what would become known as the Clone Wars and was also all part of then-Supreme Chancellor Palpatine’s secret plan to take complete control of the Republic by manufacturing a civil war that would require him to be given special powers that would lead to him becoming Emperor Palpatine. The battle featured a whole lot of Jedi Knights in the background.
There were so many that it would be pretty easy to sneak some well-known faces into the background without any one noticing. Reader Chris B. wrote in to ask if that’s exactly what was done with the members of the pop group ‘N Sync. Chris asked:
I remember back when Star Wars Episode II was coming out I heard a rumor that the members of NSync would be playing Jedi Knights during the climatic final scene. You know, the one where Sam Jackson defiantly exclaims “This Party’s Over!” (hate that part). Anyhoo, if you could work some mojo and grab me an answer, I would be eternally grateful.
Read on for the answer!
It appears as though the answer is yes, Chris.
‘N Sync, as you know, was a popular boy band from the late 1990s/early 2000s, which launched Justin Timberlake to stardom (the other members were Lance Bass, Joey Fatone, JC Chasez, and Chris Kirkpatrick).
They were working on the DVD release of their Popodyssey tour and were doing some work at the sound stage at Skywalker Ranch for the DVD when Joey Fatone kept talking about how the group were such huge fans of Star Wars. This information got to Star Wars producer Rick McCallum who said that if they wanted, they could serve as extras during the climactic battle in the film.
George Lucas appears to have had no actual involvement in the group being cast, despite very popular variations of this legend that state that he hired the band as a favor to his daughters Katie and Amanda (who would have been 13 and 20, respectively, at the time).
According to the group, Timberlake could not make the December filming date and when it came time to actually do the scene, Lance Bass had to back out, as well, giving his spot to Fatone’s brother, Steve (Bass later recalled that it “broke my heart”). So Joey Fatone, JC Chasez, Chris Kirkpatrick and Steve Fatone all filmed scenes as Jedi Knights.
However, when news of the cameo began to come out in early 2002, there was a lot of uproar from Star Wars fans. It got to the point where Joey Fatone released a statement, saying “I’m going to make it officially known that they dropped it because people made a big deal about it. We’re not going to be in it, and I’m not going to comment on it any more.”
At the time, though, Lucasfilm spokeswoman Lucy Hale denited that a decision had been made, “The ‘N Sync guys were shot as extras, and whether they’re in or out won’t be determined until the final edit.” She specifically claimed that Lucas would not be swayed by the public complaints, “George makes all his decisions himself. And the final edit of the film is what he determines it will be.”
Whether that was the case or not, when the final edit of the film was released, the band members did, indeed, get cut from the film. Adding to bad news for ‘N Sync fans, a couple of months after the news of their ill-fated cameo broke, the band went on a hiatus that has turned out to be a permanent one.
The legend is…
STATUS: True (although the “Lucas did it to appease his daughters” part appear to be False)
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.