Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm’s first official casting announcement for the next Star Wars movie – now fully titled Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens – revealed that the film’s acting crew includes motion-capture expert Andy Serkis; the man behind Gollum, Peter Jackson’s King Kong, and Casaer the ape, among other CGI characters. The obvious assumption? Serkis is playing a CGI alien in Force Awakens.
It’s now been confirmed by multiple sources that Serkis was the mysterious narrator in the Force Awakens teaser that dropped over the Thanksgiving holiday frame, though the character’s identity (be they human, alien, or something else…) remains a mystery. Now the rumor is that Serkis is playing more than one character in director J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars movie.
Serkis will appear as a human in Avengers: Age of Ultron (speculated to be the Black Panther villain Ulysses Klaw), but he also lent a helping hand with the performance-capture aspect of Hulk and Ultron in the Avengers sequel.
Jedi News‘ sources are claiming that Serkis is managing a similar trick with The Force Awakens, as one of his roles in a member of “a group of unbelievably athletic and acrobatic motion capture characters”; relative newcomers Pip Anderson and Crystal Clarke (the former being an acknowledged Parkour athlete) are reported to also be bringing those (aliens?) to life. The more important Serkis character, however, is said to be the one heard in the teaser (and is reported to serve a “pivotal” role in the film’s opening act).
One distinct possibility is a desert turban-wearing, blue-skinned, alien who’s shown interacting with Daisy Ridley’s character in the leaked Force Awakens concept art; certain elements of that unconfirmed artwork have already been proven accurate by the film’s teaser footage (see: the design of the flying desert vehicle Ridley uses). Jedi News claims that Serkis’ main role “may have more to it than it seems in the first instance” and is connected to Ridley’s backstory, so a seemingly harmless alien – who either has knowledge of The Force and/or is a Force user who recognizes “there’s been an awakening” – would fit the bill.
The rumored Force Awakens story – cooked up by Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back) from an earlier script draft by Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3) – follows Ridley and John Boyega’s characters (the latter starts as a stormtrooper, as shown in the teaser) on a search for missing Jedi Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). Just as this turn of events brings dark Force users out of the woodwork (armed with new weaponry), they should also draw light side users from hiding… including, perhaps, Serkis’ character?
It’s certainly possible but, just as there’s a whole lot that we still don’t know about The Force Awakens – like what has Leia (Carrie Fisher) been up to and/or who leads the remnants of the Galactic Empire 30 years following the death of Emperor Palpatine – there could be a vastly different answer to the question of what Serkis’ main role in the movie is. Still, the rumored role(s) for Serkis sounds as though it (or, rather, they) would be befitting of his talents; and who knows, his character could be showing up in more than one future Star Wars project…
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Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens stars Gwendoline Christie, Lupita Nyong’o, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow alongside original Star Wars movie trilogy stars Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker. It opens in theaters on December 18th, 2015.