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"As in all reboots there's always an opportunity for a beloved character to return to pass the torch, so to speak, from the original franchise to the new one."
Michael J. Nelson, the Riff Trax of Star Trek (2009)

It's become common in remakes (or "reimaginings") of classic films and TV shows to placate hesitant and suspicious fans, who aren't sure whether the remake is going to stink from the head like yesterday's fish or do the original justice, by having one of the stars of the original stunt-cast in a cameo (or perhaps even a supporting role) as a nod to the source material. Sometimes this is done just to give the new project some legitimacy by implying that the remake has the approval of the original cast. Other times, the creator of the remake is actually a fan of the original and casts the cameo as a tribute. This has almost become standard operating procedure in Hollywood.

Not to be mistaken for flashback storytelling, where one of the original actors is cast as the "old" version of a character, and someone new is cast as the "young" version of the same character.

If it's not a remake, but a based-on-a-real-story dramatization, it's a Real Person Cameo.

See also Cameo, Casting Gag, and Mythology Gag. Compare to: I Want You to Meet An Old Friend of Mine, Actor Allusion, and Continuity Cameo.

Examples of Remake Cameo include:


Film

  • Gary Chalk, who voiced Grounder in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Robotnik in Sonic Underground, plays a member of the military in Sonic the Hedgehog.
  • Brandon Crane, who played the young Ben Hanscom in the 1990 It movie, plays a real estate investor in It: Chapter 2.
  • Michael Stein, who played Dirk Diggler in Paul Thomas Anderson's short film The Dirk Diggler Story, appears in Boogie Nights as the customer that Buck fails to sell a stereo system to.
  • Charlton Heston makes a cameo in Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes remake... as an ape! His character is filled with allusions to both himself and the original character -- his last words are "DAMN THEM! Damn them all to...", and he gives a huge speech about how terrible the human invention of "guns" was.
    • Linda Harrison, who played Nova, appears as a prisoner of the apes.
  • Michael Caine plays loanshark/club owner Cliff Brumby in the 2000 remake of Get Carter. He played the titular Jack Carter in the original.
  • In an unusually large role by the standards of this trope, Burt Reynolds appears in the Adam Sandler remake of The Longest Yard as the prison football team's trainer. He was the hero of the original.
    • And he ends up saving the day in the remake, too. Geez.
  • Ken Foree, Scott Reiniger and Tom Savini, who starred in the original 1978 version of Dawn of the Dead, all had cameos in the 2004 remake. Foree even got to quote his famous "When hell is full..." line, in this case as The Fundamentalist blaming the dead walking on America's liberal-based sinfulness, rather than mentioning it as something his houngan grandfather used to say to him.
  • David Carradine had a cameo in the Death Race remake.
  • Bernie Kopell, who played enemy agent Siegfried in the original Get Smart TV series, had a cameo appearance in the film version starring Steve Carell. They even got him to use his "Siegfried" accent. (But he gets wanged by a car, so Smart swipes his vehicle for transport.
  • The remake of Cape Fear featured cameos by Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum, the hero and antagonist (respectively) of the original.
    • And Martin Balsam, who plays the police chief in the original.
  • The male and female leads (Gene Barry and Ann Robinson) of the 1953 version of War of the Worlds cameod as Tom Cruise's parents-in-law in Steven Spielberg's remake.
  • Most of the TV cast of Lost in Space cameoed in The Movie.
    • Dick Tufeld reprised his role as The Robot's voice.
    • Mark Goddard played the General who gives Major West his orders for the mission.
    • June Lockhart played the principal of Will Robinson's school.
    • Angela Cartwright and Marta Kristen appear as reporters.
  • Lou Ferrigno has cameo appearances in both Incredible Hulk movies. He also voiced the few lines of dialog the Hulk has in The Incredible Hulk, The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron.
  • In Chicago (2002), the older brunette that Roxy talks to just before Matron Mama Morton enters is Chita Rivera, who played Velma Kelly in the original production of the Broadway musical.
  • Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul had cameos in the Starsky and Hutch movie.
  • The film version of The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy had Simon Jones (the Arthur Dent from the radio and TV series) appearing as the hologram message from Magrathea. Oddly enough it seems that he had to ask for it. Wouldn't Douglas Adams have arranged it before his death, way at the start of production?
    • By coincidence, an actress who played Trillian in one of the stage shows was cast as an extra in the bar scene. This wasn't discovered until later.
  • Buddy Ebsen (who played Jed Clampett in the original) appears in the Beverly Hillbillies movie... as Barnaby Jones, another Buddy Ebsen character. Possibly the only funny moment in the film.
  • Kirk Allyn and Noel Neill, who were Superman and Lois in the original movie serials, played Lois Lane's parents in Superman The Movie.
    • Superman Returns had Sam Huntington, playing Jimmy Olsen, talking to a bartender, Jack Larsen. Larsen played Jimmy Olsen in the 1950's The Adventures of Superman TV series.
    • It also cast Noel Neill as the dying Gertrude Vanderworth.
  • The 1998 remake of Mighty Joe Young featured Terry Moore, Jill in the 1948 original.
  • Faye Dunaway in The Thomas Crown Affair; the investigator/love interest in the first film, and Crown's psychiatrist in the remake.
  • The scheming gold digger from the original The Parent Trap played the mother of the gold digger in the Lindsay Lohan version.
  • The kid from the original Invaders from Mars plays a cop in the remake.
  • Barbara Billingsley, Ken Osmond and Frank Bank made cameo appearances in the Leave It to Beaver film adaptation.
  • The film of the Broadway play Once Upon A Mattress featured Carol Burnett, who played Princess Fred (short for Winnifred) in the play, playing the overbearing queen.
  • Patrick Macnee played John Steed in the Live Action TV series The Avengers and Colonel Jones, the invisible Ministry official in The Film of the Series, The Avengers 1998.
  • James Garner had a pretty big role in the Maverick film... and an even bigger one in the original TV series. In a sense, his role in the film is a reprise of a role he played on the series - in one episode he played both Bret Maverick and his Pappy, and in the film he turns out to be Maverick's dad!
  • Star Trek (2009) (which is more of an alternate continuity than a strict reboot) featured Majel Barrett Roddenberry (Nurse Chapel and Lwaxana Troi) as the voice of the Enterprise's computer and Wil Wheaton voices all the additional Romulan crew, the others just have his voice altered digitally.
    • She's always been the voice of the Enterprise computer, even on the original series.
  • The French film Les Visiteurs has an odd variation of this: both main characters were played by the same actors (Jean Reno and Christian Clavier) in the original and the American remake (Just Visiting).
  • John Larroquette, the narrator of the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, reprised the role for the remake and its prequel.
  • Probably a coincidence, but Howard Lew Lewis, who played Rabies in Maid Marian and Her Merry Men, pops up as a peasant in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
  • In the 1999 film version of My Favorite Martian, Ray Walston appears as a SETI official named Armitan who later reveals himself to be a Martian named Neenert. Walston played Uncle Martin in the original 1960s series.
  • Several actors from the original The Brady Bunch appear in the movie. Barry Williams (Greg) plays a record exec who turns Greg down, Christopher Knight (Peter) plays a high school coach who stops two boys from bullying Peter, Ann B. Davis (Alice) plays a truck driver, and Florence Henderson (Carol) plays the Brady kids' grandmother.
  • Dirk Benedict and Dwight Schultz show up in The Stinger of The a Team, alongside their new counterparts.
  • In the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Kevin McCarthy, the star of the 1956 version, appears briefly as a man on the street frantically screaming "They're here!", which is how the earlier version ended.
  • Peter Fernandez made a cameo in the Warshowski's live action Speed Racer as an announcer. His voice is quite recognizable.
  • Harvey Stephens who played the original Damien Thorn in The Omen (1976), has a cameo as a tabloid reporter in the 2006 remake.
  • The truck driver who gives Rogue a lift in the beginning of X-Men 1 is played by George Buza, the voice of Beast on X Men the Animated Series.
  • Similarly, the 2010 Live Action Adaptation of Uchuu Senkan Yamato brings back Analyzer's seiyu in his original role, and Isao Sasaki, who famously performed the anime's theme song, as the narrator.
    It also featured Masato Ibu and Miyuki Ueda, the original voices of Dessler(Desslock) and Queen Starsha, as the voices of their Energy Being counterparts in the film.
  • In the 1999 made for TV adaptation of Annie, Andrea McArdle, the star of the original Broadway play, has a cameo as a theatrical ingenue during a musical number.
  • The 2003 version of Freaky Friday has Marc McClure reprise his role as Boris, Jodie Foster's love interest in the original movie, who had apparently become a mailman during the decades that passed.
  • The 2011 version of Fright Night has a cameo from Chris Sarandon, who starred in the original 1985 film.
  • Ike Eisenmann and Kim Richards played a sheriff and a waitress in Race to Witch Mountain - they were originally the children in Escape to Witch Mountain.


Live Action TV

  • Richard Hatch, who played Captain Apollo in the original Battlestar Galactica series, played terrorist-turned-politician Tom Zarek in the reimagined series, much to the delight of the fans.
  • Christopher Reeve's appearance on Smallville as Doctor Virgil Swann was a particularly poignant example of this trope.
    • Annette O'Toole, who plays Martha Kent, played Lana Lang in Superman III.
      • This casting turned out to be a random fluke. The crew didn't even know at first, being surprised at just how much she knew about the mythology. They were apparently gob-smacked when she told them.
    • Likewise, Terrence Stamp, who played General Zod in Superman II, was cast as Jor-El.
    • Also, Margot Kidder played Virgil Swann's assistant (and would-be love interest.)
    • Dean Cain (Lois and Clark's Clark/Superman) appeared as what may have been the series' version of Vandal Savage.
    • Teri Hatcher (Lois Lane in Lois and Clark) played Lois' mother in one episode.
  • Superboy (1988-92) cast both Noel Neill and Jack Larson in a 1991 episode titled "Paranoia"; as previously noted, Larson played Jimmy Olsen in The Adventures of Superman alongside Neill's Lois Lane.
  • Lois and Clark nodded to the continuity of Superman shows by casting Phyllis Coates as Lois's mother, and by casting Jack Larson as an old Jimmy Olsen in the episode "Brutal Youth". Coates played Lois Lane for the first season of The Adventures of Superman.
  • In the 2000 ITV telemovie of The Railway Children Jenny Agutter played the mother. She had previously played the eldest daughter in the 1970 film.
  • John Astin once guest-starred on The New Addams Family as Grandpapa Addams, father to Gomez (now played by Glenn Taranto). Much humor was made from the very nature of the cameo. In fact, Astin's first words with his appearance were "Where's that Young Gomez?".
  • Patty Duke won an Oscar for playing Helen Keller in the film version of The Miracle Worker and an Emmy for playing Annie Sullivan in a 1979 made-for-TV version. (Both roles were winners of both awards.)
  • In the Made for TV Movie version of The Munsters, Herman ends up working as a waiter and gets a table with the series' original cast playing a normal family.
  • Two actors from the original V mini-series have appeared in the 2009 remake. Jane Badler reprises her role as Diana, who is now the V's deposed queen, although whether or not there are any ties to the original is unclear. Marc Singer, who played the main character of the mini-series, returns in the season 2 finale as Lars Tremont, a member of a secret organization established to fight V's.


Music

  • The 2000 Jay recording of the musical The Most Happy Fella melds this nicely with Tuckerization: the one-line character "Sullivan" is played by Jo Sullivan Loesser, the original Rosabella. (She also sings one of Rosabella's Cut Songs.)
  • The 2005 Justin Hawkins cover of Sparks's "This Town Ain't Big Enough For The Both Of Us" includes both Mael brothers in the video. In fact, Russell Mael is the only one shown singing any of the lyrics.


Radio

  • The Quintessential Phase of The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy radio series had Sandra Dickinson voice Tricia McMillan (Trillian's Alternate Universe counterpart). Dickinson was the TV Trillian.
    • The Quandary Phase also saw David Dixon, the TV Ford Prefect, in a cameo.
  • The BBC Radio 4 adaptations of the Hercule Poirot novels have Phillip Jackson play Inspector Japp. Jackson is best known for ITV's Poirot, where he plays ... Inspector Japp.


Theatre


Video Games


Western Animation

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