Who Was the Most Essential Actor or Actress to the Success of a Series or Film Franchise?

When I was younger, I asked my parents how TV shows and movies were made, and my mother responded that there were a lot of people who worked very hard to make them happen. Her answer may have been technically correct, but it was also missing something important; The actor or actress who played the starring role was just as important (if not more so) than the rest of the cast and crew. So which actors/actresses from film or television are the most essential? I’ve taken on this question in an effort to determine who exactly does deserve credit for being one of the most essential actors or actresses in Hollywood.

star wars

Star Wars

Star Wars is one of the most popular film franchises in history and has been so influential to pop culture. Fans have speculated for decades about who was the most essential actor to its success. Some people say that Harrison Ford’s Han Solo character was vital because he was such a key protagonist, while others believe it was Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia because she was such an iconic figure in female sci-fi heroes. Regardless of who you think deserves credit, there is no denying that they both played pivotal roles in making Star Wars what it is today.

Harry Potter

In the Harry Potter series, for example, there are many actors who played important roles. The three main characters were Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley, and Emma Watson as Hermione Granger. However, it is impossible to say that any one person was more essential than another. The success of this series largely depended on J.K. Rowling’s writing and creative directing abilities in addition to each actor’s ability in bringing their character to life on screen.

Sex and the City

Sarah Jessica Parker played Carrie Bradshaw in all six seasons of Sex and The City. Carrie was an intelligent, witty, and stylish woman who served as the show’s protagonist. She was also friends with her three best friends: Miranda Hobbes (played by Cynthia Nixon), Charlotte York (played by Kristin Davis), and Samantha Jones (played by Kim Cattrall). In many ways, Carrie embodied the female New Yorker that HBO needed for its series. This character became so important in pop culture that she even inspired a popular shoe style—the Carrie heel.

Jurassic Park

Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park was one of the most anticipated movie releases in 1993, and for good reason. The film had an all-star cast that included Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough and Samuel L Jackson. But it was the late great actor Richard Attenborough who played John Hammond that gave life to one of cinema’s most enduring franchises. He was not only an accomplished actor with over 50 years in Hollywood but he also knew how to create magic on screen. His uncanny ability as a director combined with his natural charm as an onscreen persona led audiences around the world into the world of Jurassic Park and made him essential not just to this film but also its three sequels.

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