Thundercat joins Star Wars

As the jazz-fusion bassist makes his acting debut in The Book Of Boba Fett, we celebrate the music world’s other best crossover TV cameos

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The force is now officially strong with Thundercat. Credited as Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner in Chapter 4 of the Disney+ Star Wars series, The Book Of Boba Fett, the funk virtuoso plays a cyberpunk body-mod expert with a robot arm – part desert tattoo artist, part space mechanic, all Grammy-winning bassist.

“Why cover all that beautiful machinery?” he grins, right after replacing one of the main character’s innards with exposed droid gears. Already lending tracks to the soundtrack of HBO series Insecure and Netflix’s Thundercats reboot (what else?), the acting debut marks a new step for Thundercat, who hasn’t released a new album since 2020’s It Is What It Is

Picking up a Grammy for Best Progressive R&B album at the time (beating the likes of Jhené Aiko, Chloe x Halle, Free Nationals and Robert Glasper), as well as winning a Libera and ranking on at least a dozen Best Of lists for the year, Thundercat has reportedly been working on new material for his upcoming tour. Playing three UK shows in March and April in Newcastle, Manchester and London, you can also catch Thundercat supporting Red Hot Chili Peppers in their summer stadium tour. 

While Bruner makes a pretty great robot techie/doctor/person in the Star Wars universe, he’s not the first musician to cameo in a TV series. If the Thundercat scene in The Book Of Boba Fett has put you in the mood for other unexpected crossovers, check out these other artists who have made the leap from main stage to small screen.

This list is strictly for musicians not playing themselves – so that means no Bowie in Extras, no Sonic Youth in Gossip Girl, and none of the hundred-odd bands who have walked through awkward scenes in Entourage

Justin BieberCSI

You know what’s not great PR for upcoming teenage heartthrobs? Playing a serial killer on prime time TV. Warning: the following contains graphic scenes of career self-sabotage (as well as some actual violence).

Justin Bieber gets shot on CSI

Ed SheeranGame Of Thrones

The weirdly well-known and slightly distracting singing voice of “unnamed Lanister soldier” divided fans back in 2017, but since Ed was in a show that also featured cameos from Mastadon, Coldplay, Snow Patrol and Sigur Rós, it probably didn’t matter that much.

Ed Sheeran's scene on Game of Thrones

Elvis CostelloFrasier

Elvis Costello probably won’t be including any Rolf Harris covers on his setlist anymore, but at least his 90s version of ‘Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport’, as “Ben” the annoying coffee shop busker, is way better than the original.

Elvis Costello sings Rolf`s `Tie me Kangaroo down sport` on Frasier

Usher – Sabrina The Teenage Witch 

Back in 2002 there was only really one guy that could have played “The Love Doctor” – a magical romance guru who lives in a room full of dry ice crooning sweet R&B to anybody who needs to hear it. It probably wasn’t much of a stretch for Usher.

Love Doctor feat. Usher

Britney Spears – How I Met Your Mother

How I Met Your Mother | Britney Spears AKA Abby the Receptionist | Part 1

Enrique Iglesias, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Katy Perry, Jennifer Lopez and Nicole Scherzinger have all added cameos to How I Met Your Mother, but Britney’s was the best because it felt like she literally just stepped into a bit part for the day. That’s some ace Mickey Mouse Club training there.

Taylor Swift – New Girl

“You’re not too short for me, I don’t care what your mother says!” Taylor’s wedding-wrecking appearance in New Girl only lasts a few seconds, but it’s enough to derail an entire relationship arc in the show – a genius bit of randomness that feels like someone hacked the screenwriter’s laptop whilst they were at lunch.

New Girl (Taylor Swift's scene)

Lady GagaAmerican Horror Story

Not one cameo here but two, since Lady Gaga played the Countess on American Horror Story: Hotel and Scáthach on American Horror Story: Roanoke. Now that she has an Oscar nomination (with more probably on the way) it’s a lot less of a curio – but that doesn’t stop this She Wants Revenge montage looking baddass.

Lady Gaga - American Horror Story - The Countess (Hunt Scene)

Jon Bon Jovi – Sex And The City

Jon Bon Jovi on "Sex And The City" part 1

Apparently Jon Bon Jovi didn’t even know what Sex And The City was when he agreed to play Carrie’s waiting room crush in Season 2. “I started taking these episodes of TV shows to get out there and have more people see me to put me in their movies”, he later told a radio show. It worked though. The very next year he got a ripe role in… U-571.