Follying around

Actors whose talent was WASTED in STAR WARS movies and TV series

The closer to modern times, the more such actors in “Star Wars”.

Odys Korczyński

26 July 2023

In the first three parts, there was no such phenomenon or it was marginal. Maybe it’s also because castings were approached in a slightly different way than from the 1990s until today. Now, in subsequent productions from the Star Wars universe, producers try to use as many famous actors as possible, often giving them roles that are small and insignificant in practice, although sometimes with great potential. These are typically image-related measures, but they are often harmful to the careers of great actors, such as Benicio del Toro. Below are 10 examples of artists who appeared in the George Lucas universe, but the characters they played were not used in the films so that there were more of them on the screen. Both the characters and the actors portraying them should have a deeper impact on the story of the fight against the Empire.

Pedro Pascal as The Mandalorian

Some time ago, it was even suggested, based on the statements of Pedro Pascal himself, that he entered into something like a conflict or a sharper exchange of views with the producers of The Mandalorian on the issue of showing his face too rarely. Pascal, of course, suggested that he should appear more often without the helmet, because now he can be played by any double, and the viewer will not notice the difference anyway. Pascal’s conflict with the creators of the series, of course, was more of an overinterpretation of the media, but there is something in it that the actor so well-known now (the success of The Last of Us) should appear to the audience more often. I understand the character concept. It is impossible to avoid the helmet here, otherwise the Mandalorian will lose his character, which has become part of pop culture. This approach, however, separates the actor from the audience and wastes Pascal’s talent. This is beyond doubt. So the situation seems hopeless.

Benicio del Toro as DJ

I mentioned him at the beginning of the text, because in this list, like few other actors, he is generally wasted in his career, which promised to be so good after 21 grams, and yet slowed down – except for literally a few roles worth noting since then, i.e. 2003. The DJ in The Last Jedi appears in several locations, and it’s not as short an episode as Saw Gerrera was given, but the DJ is surprisingly stripped of all emotions. He is a character first on the light side of the force and then on the dark side, but this conversion is not visible at all. He is flat, as if he realized during the filming that this is not his place. Perhaps it was, and del Toro fares much better on the sets of strong sensational films, and not broadly understood fantasy, more or less unscientific. As for the character of the DJ itself, maybe it would be worth saying something more about his life, and not treating him like some next boss on the next level to be defeated with a nice design of the location, as in a computer game.

Thandiwe Newton as Val

Great performances in All the Old Knives with Chris Pine, in Westworld, in Starstar with John Bon Jovi. Give her a lot. She can take on the weight of the plot, balance the main character, help it enter into a relationship with the viewer, which in Solo the character of Val, Tobias Beckett’s partner in the thief trade, was certainly able to do. And so she appeared for a moment, quickly died dramatically and that’s it. There is no trace of her – not even an ideological one – in the plot, although Beckett seemed to treat her as something more than a partner in the team and sometimes even mentioned her. Successfully, Val’s role could be expanded perhaps even enough to replace Qi’ra’s wasted character.

Emilia Clarke as Qi'ra

I do not hide my great sentiment for Emilia Clarke mainly because of her role as Dany in Game of Thrones, but in Solo she did not try, or maybe the writers did not try to breathe more life, energy, action into the character of Qi’ra, everything that would make her a woman worth falling into and fighting for. And so she is a bit of a paper character proudly raising her head for most of the plot, and the viewer wonders what is really interesting about her that Han Solo can sacrifice “almost” everything for her. Maybe there would be a chance for Qi’ra in the next installment of Han’s adventures when he was still young and she would turn to the dark side of the force?

Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu

Samuel L. Jackson was already an iconic figure for his role in Pulp Fiction when he decided to star in Star Wars Episodes 1 to 3. So he should consider whether this type of creation suits him, and the viewers will not be disappointed by the character of Mace Windu – a conservative, static Jedi, a member of the paper council who is blind to everything around, and who, in addition, dies quite miserably. If only the creators of SW introduced some surrealism, waywardness, something that would provoke the viewer to think about who he is, what he thinks, maybe he sees something more, and does not rely on the standard judgment of the rest of the blind from the management of the Jedi order. Nothing of the sort happened, and Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu is bland, uninteresting, and quickly forgotten.

Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma

The situation is very similar to that of Pedro Pascal, with the slight difference that Gwendoline Christie is still not as famous as Pascal. However, she is very distinctive, and the only actress who can match her in this visual uniqueness is Tilda Swinton at the moment. So Gwendoline Christie was left unused due to being covered by a helmet, but Phasma herself was reduced to a simple tool for wreaking havoc, and yet she must have been something different from the stormtroopers if she was entrusted with such a role. There is a contradiction here, some deep misconception of her character.

Andy Serkis as Snoke

Andy Serkis is generally a wasted actor when it comes to his natural image. Whenever he appears on screen as himself rather than a digitally generated character, he proves that he should have stayed on the screen much longer. It is no different in the case of Snoke, except that here I expected that there would be more of him, that he would not be such a paper, cliché character, mostly sitting on his throne. With him, Darth Vader is a real master of walking, provoking the viewer, scaring everyone around, and Snoke is just a puppet without character. And even here, in the very art of impersonating digital characters, Andy Serkis has not been properly used. So he joined the trend of progressive blandness of the latest installments of Star Wars.

Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera

I fell for the content of the trailers. In the case of Rogue One, the creators focused on the image, although in the case of Forest Whitaker they fully used its potential. Whitaker is an extremely dramatic actor, and his face is suitable for playing even the most difficult, borderline emotions. This is what happened with Saw Gerrera. I see not using or even wasting his character as giving him too little episode to play compared to the possibilities of the story told in Rogue One. His death, although suggestive, in the context of the whole story means nothing, unlike, for example, the death of Galen Erso. Gerrera did not even manage to leave his hiding place for the viewer to get along with him in the wider space of the depicted world, with the exception of a fragment shot on the planet Lah’mu. Galen Erso, although also wasted, at least shows himself to the viewer in several scenes.

Mads Mikkelsen as Galen Erso

It was an image game, pumped up in terms of marketing, similar to Forest Whitaker’s performance. Both actors already had established positions in the industry. Both could therefore also be used to increase the ratings of Star Wars productions. And so it actually happened. Watching the trailers, I did not expect that the actors who are so stubbornly repeated in them would stay on the screen for only a few minutes. I should be prepared for this, but good marketing bypasses rational judgment. So Mads Mikkelsen fulfilled his role. It filled the gap in the rather illogically depicted destruction of the Death Star; but didn’t he die too quickly without explaining to us why he actually went over to the light side of the force, because somehow this over-romanticized relationship with his daughter doesn’t appeal to me?

Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn

After so many years from the first screening, his death still hurts. And in addition, it does not have a positive effect on his entire character, on the legend of the great master who passed all his knowledge to Obi-Wan, and was so easily surprised in a lightsaber fight by Darth Maul. But more would be expected from such a Jedi legend, so Liam Neeson’s great talent was wasted along with his character. However, I understand that with this story construction and the need to introduce Obi-Wan as a standalone character, there was no longer room for Qui-Gon Jinn. Nevertheless, his death is one of the most painful in the entire saga. Liam Neeson, on the other hand, proved that he can find himself in a star opera as easily as in a strong thriller, and this ability was denied him by many Star Wars fans at the time.

Odys Korczyński

Odys Korczyński

For years he has been passionate about computer games, in particular RPG productions, film, medicine, religious studies, psychoanalysis, artificial intelligence, physics, bioethics, as well as audiovisual media. He considers the story of a film to be a means and a pretext to talk about human culture in general, whose cinematography is one of many splinters.

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