Andy Serkis Tackles Force Awakens Rumors — Is He Really Playing Two Characters?

By David Wharton | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

SerkisThere are no shortage of mysteries circling J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but in the wake of the epic first teaser, several of those mysteries have involved actor and motion-capture master Andy Serkis. We’ve known for a while that he had a role in the next Star Wars film, but details about that character have been sparse and surrounded with crazy rumors. Now Serkis has gone on record to clarify a few things, and shoot down some of those rumors.

One of the biggest Serkis-related rumors suggested that he would be playing not one, but two different characters in Force Awakens (and possibly the films that followed). Given his mo-cap background, many — including me — speculated that one role might be CGI and the other live-action. Well, no dice. “I can say I only play one character,” Serkis told EW. And don’t expect him to give you any hints about that character’s nature, either. How about those rumors that he’ll be playing an old man who looks like he has “risen from the dead”? Serkis would say only that his Force Awakens character has “been through some stuff.”

Then there was that report from a while back that suggested Serkis’ character would be the leader of a “group of unbelievably athletic and acrobatic motion capture characters”? The speculation was that, if the rumor was true, these acrobatic characters would be Sith, or some other group of bad-nasties (I suggest naming them “Serkis Acrobats”). Serkis’ narration of the Force Awakens trailer is certainly creepy and foreboding, suggesting that, whoever he’s playing, he probably skews Dark Side. Still, Serkis says we shouldn’t expect his character to be parkouring all over the galaxy far, far away. He straight-up laughed this one off, giving the EW reporter an eyeball roll before saying, “I’m not leading a band of gymnasts or acrobats.”

How about that ominous narrator in the Force Awakens trailer? Once you know it’s Serkis, it’s easy enough to hear, but initially many people thought it was Benedict Cumberbatch, in spite of Cumberbatch never having been confirmed for a role in the new Star Wars movies. Well, whether Serkis’ character winds up being CGI, motion-capture, live-action, or something else entirely, the voice is pure Serkis. “There’s no digital manipulation,” he told EW. “That’s just me.”

We’ve still got a long wait until we get to see Serkis’ Star Wars character in action. The Force Awakens is set for release on December 18, 2015. If you watch the trailer 6,000 more times or so, the time should just fly by.

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