The best celebrity cameos from movies and TV are the ones that just make perfect sense. The idea of a cameo itself has transcended the idea of being a funny "add-on" and has become its own punchline of sorts. It can also be used to surprise the audience or may simply exist because an actor had nothing better to do. But some cameos are so extremely well thought out that when they happen, it hits you like a ton of bricks, realizing you were set up for an elaborate climax of a subtle joke.
These are the best television and movie cameos that had a long build-up but finally paid off in the most satisfying way.
- 1Photo: CBS
The Big Bang Theory brought together some of the most brilliant minds in television. Well, fictional that is, but they could've definitely fooled us. Especially Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper, one of the most (if not the most) famous TV nerds of all time. It was only a matter of time before they brought in a bonafide genius like Stephen Hawking on the show to challenge Sheldon and his infinite intelligence.
In the Season 5 episode, "The Hawking Excitation," Sheldon is finally able to meet his hero, Dr. Stephen Hawking, referring to him as "perhaps my only intellectual equal." After reading Sheldon's thesis, Hawking tells Sheldon that he clearly has a brilliant mind but points out a tiny error he made on page two, causing Sheldon to immediately faint from embarrassment. Stephen Hawking's appearance on The Big Bang Theory was inevitable, yet still a huge accomplishment, considering Hawking has only ever lent his likeness to a few other shows including Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Simpsons, two shows worthy of his presence. The cast admitted, unsurprisingly, he had been their dream guest for a while.Satisfying cameo?
- Photo: Buena Vista Pictures
Jack Sparrow is undoubtedly one of Johnny Depp's most iconic characters and possibly his most original. Sparrow isn't like any other pirate depicted on screen - he's more like a bumbling rock star coming off of a world tour (and guilty of all the vices that come with it). It was later revealed that Johnny Depp based the character of Jack Sparrow partly on legendary Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards (and partly on Pepe Le Pew?).
Looking back, the connection is quite obvious, from the outfit right down to the slurred cadence in his voice. Ironically, Richards would go on to play Jack's father, Captain Edward Teague, in not one but two Pirates of the Caribbean films - At World's End and On Stranger Tides. If that wasn't cool enough already, none other than Sir Paul McCartney played Captain Jack's uncle in 2017's Dead Men Tell No Tales.Satisfying cameo?
- Photo: Columbia Pictures
21 Jump Street came out around the time when Hollywood became really insistent on rebooting old properties instead of making original content. Theoretically, 21 Jump Street - a raunchy reboot of a forgotten police procedural from the 1980s starring Johnny Depp - shouldn't have worked as well as it did. Maybe it was the fact that it was completely self-aware of its hypocritical origins or the fact that it was made by the duo responsible for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and The Lego Movie, but the movie was praised by critics and fans alike.
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, an unlikely pairing, proved to have hilarious on-screen chemistry akin to Johnny Depp and Peter DeLuise in the original series. The biggest question in the film, however, was when and how the original duo might show up. In the opening sequence, Hill and Tatum's characters bump into a hilariously sketchy biker gang who make fun of them for being bicycle cops. Near the end of the film, it is revealed that the aggressively hyperbolized bikers are actually undercover DEA agents, played by Depp and DeLuise, reprising their original roles as Tom Hanson and Doug Penhall... until they're subsequently killed off.Satisfying cameo?
- Photo: Gramercy Pictures
Kevin Smith's Mallrats is the ultimate comic book nerd movie without actually being a movie about comic books or superheroes. Mallrats follows Brodie Bruce, an unemployed comic book-obsessed slacker who goes on a trip to the mall with his best friend after they are dumped by their girlfriends. At the mall, Brodie realizes that Marvel legend Stan Lee is in town signing comics but can't manage to get in line because of the overwhelming crowds.
The likes of Stan Lee being name-dropped in a Kevin Smith movie is to be expected, being that the indie director himself is openly a massive comic book nerd. However, it was a bit of a surprise when the Marvel creator himself actually appeared near the end of the film. Sporting a wicked beard, Brodie bumps into Lee outside of a lingerie store where he's been enjoying watching couples go about their business. Lee tells Brodie that he still thinks about a girl who broke his heart many years ago, revealing he created certain Marvel characters to cope with the loss of his lover. He gives Brodie exactly the advice he needs to hear before it's revealed that Lee plagiarized the pep talk from an old Spider-Man comic. Isn't Stan Lee just the greatest?Satisfying cameo?