During his final year at drama school (LAMDA), Richard landed an uncredited role in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace as a Naboo fighter pilot. He was given a few lines but unfortunately they were cut. You will struggle to find him in the film, but I've found two pictures which I believe are him (definitely the first picture at least!) and you can see those in the Star Wars gallery.
The Phantom Menace was the fourth film in the Star Wars saga, although it is actually the first episode in George Lucas' 3-part prequel. Filmed at Leavesden studios in the UK and Tunisia, it received mixed reviews but broke many box office records shortly after its release (source: Wikipedia).
Richard on Star Wars:
According to an interview with the Sunday Mirror, 25 August 2002:
"I was an unnamed fighter pilot with two lines. But it was kind of cool to be on a big budget epic as your first acting job.
"I met Ewan McGregor, who was polite but pretty intense, and Natalie Portman who was just pretty. I kept embarrassing myself because I kept bumping into her double, who looked a lot like her and thinking it was Natalie.
"I'd be like 'Hi Natalie, how are you' - and she'd be looking at me blankly."
Natalie Portman's double, Keira Knightley, was less known then as she is now!
In an interview with the Eastern Daily Press, 5 February 2005, Richard recalls the exact words he was asked to say:
'His role as "fighter pilot number one" in Episode 1: Phantom Menace was pretty much a case of "blink and you'll miss it". But his line – yes, there was only one – remains firmly ingrained in his memory: "Nobody's on board sir."
'Richard says now: "I felt very nervous saying my line - I had practised it for three weeks! Then I missed it on screen as I was busy with my popcorn! I actually ended up as a computer graphic in the film, I think."'
(The article is no longer online, but click here for a screencap of the original article then click again on the image to zoom in.)
Richard talks about how daunting it was to work on such a big budget film in an interview with Tulsa World, 2 July 2005:
'Trained as a stage actor, his first on-camera appearance was a cameo in Star Wars: Episode One -- The Phantom Menace. "It was a shocker," he said.
"Going onto such a massive-scale shoot, it was like going off the deep end," he said. "I'd never even been in front of the camera before. It was like being punched in the face, trial by fire.
"I was shocked, appalled, scared -- and then excited."
He states that his one line is there but replaced with a computerised voice in an interview with The Independent on Sunday, 19 April 2006. He spotted an advert for casting while at LAMDA:
'It was there that he spotted a request on the noticeboard for tall men to play fighter pilots in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. "I got incredibly nervous on the set and delivered my one line very carefully. I wondered why the crew were looking at me strangely, but when I watched the film, I realised my voice was completely computerised. I'm in one of those blooming white outfits with my face covered up."'
Hollywood.com interviewed Richard specifically about his role in Star Wars, in an article published on 16 December 2012.
"I certainly turned up and filmed a day, but I can't find myself in the movie!" Armitage says. "I think I ended up as a droid. I thought I was a fighter pilot. I can't find where I am. I had a line to Ewan McGregor: 'No one's on board, sir.'"
This article contains a photo of Richard in the film, spotted by Hollywood.com, however I don't think it's him!
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace on IMDB
Star Wars gallery