Alan Tudyk has a rich history in the sci-fi genre, going all the way back to his 2002 turn in the cult hit Firefly, but later this month he will finally join what is arguably the biggest franchise in the business when he appears as enforcer droid K-2SO in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Tudyk is no stranger to voice acting, providing his talents to a number of Disney Animation Studios films in recent years. Notably, he can be heard as the character Heihei in Moana, already a major hit for the studio this year. In portraying K-2SO, however, Tudyk had a very different experience, as the role was brought to the screen through motion capture. Rather than just providing his vocal talents, Tudyk was intimately involved in K-2SO’s portrayal.
“It’s basically acting, but you’re wearing a silly costume and the actual costume comes later in post. But you’re working with the other actors, so the lines change and you’re affected by their performance. You’re part of making the role and making the movie there on set as opposed to animation, which is very different.”
— ComicBook NOW! (@ComicBookNOW) December 2, 2016
The Firefly veteran pointed to perhaps Star Wars‘ most hated character, Jar Jar Binks, as an example of a role brought to life purely through animation that “didn’t go well,” while speaking with The Hollywood Reporter. Portraying K-2SO was something far different, he noted, as Star Wars has a long and rich history of droid characters, some of whom are ranked amongst the most beloved faces in the franchise. The key to this is that the droids of the Star Wars universe aren’t emotionless robots, but rather fully formed individuals who interact with the rest of the cast in a way that many viewers likely take for granted, according to Tudyk.
“The whole world embraces them as fully formed personalities and characters. We almost don’t question that they have a soul.”
At ILM. Just saw the movie. Spoiler alert… you know what I should probably shut it. pic.twitter.com/0q1Hz9s2fZ
— alan tudyk (@AlanTudyk) December 2, 2016
With that said, K-2SO isn’t like any of the other droids that have appeared in Star Wars before, a fact that Tudyk attributes to Rogue One‘s writing staff. A reprogrammed security droid in the service of Captain Cassian Andor, Tudyk’s character was originally an enforcer droid for the Empire, so he projects a far more imposing presence than an astromech like R2-D2.
— SW Rogue One (SWNN) (@SW_ROGUE_ONE) November 22, 2016
One of the few aspects that K-2SO shares with his fellow Star Wars droids is their ageless, artificial nature, which allows the character to pop up in other storylines in a way that a human character can’t. As Polygon noted, Tudyk is open about the fact that he would like to see the enforcer droid appear in other parts of the franchise, assuming Rogue One proves a success. He conceded, however, that the cast of a Star Wars movie is told little about Disney’s ultimate plans for their characters, and can reveal even less to their fanbase.
— Heroic Hollywood (@heroichollywood) November 18, 2016
While Rogue One may be the biggest project on the horizon for Tudyk, it is by no means his only one. Season two of his acclaimed web series, Con Man, is nearing its debut. Featuring fellow Firefly alum Nathan Fillion, the show offers an exaggerated take on Tudyk’s experiences on the convention circuit. The actor is also in the midst of shooting a comedy series for NBC, Powerless. Set in the DC universe, it will focus on a group of individuals who nevertheless aren’t blessed with superpowers.
Rogue One, meanwhile, will open a new chapter in the Star Wars saga when it debuts later this month, staking its claim as the first of the franchise’s standalone films. The movie is widely expected to be a financial and critical success, and Alan Tudyk’s K-2SO will likely be an integral part of that when Rogue One debuts on December 16.
[Featured Image by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images for Walt Disney Studios]