Despite putting on what has widely been regarded as a fantastic performance as Migs Mayfeld, actor and comedian Bill Burr has gotten so criticism from fans for maintaining his Boston accent throughout his episode of Star Wars: The Mandalorian in which he teams up with Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), Cara Dune (Gina Carano), Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), and Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) to infiltrate an Empire refinery in their effort to rescue Grogu (AKA Baby Yoda AKA The Child) from the clutches of Moff Gideon).
To those critics, Burr goes straight to the root of the issue questioning how fans accept that all these people speak any form of English in the first place.
“What about English,” he asked appearing on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. “Isn’t that a little weird? If you went to ‘a galaxy far, far away’ and you get off and somebody’s like ‘Hey, how’s it going?’ and you totally understand him?”
“How about C-3PO with an English accent,” he added, “that was okay? This guy’s been knighted, he just played Royal Alber Hall, now he’s hanging out with [Luke Skywalker]? What about the fact that Han Solo’s talkin’ to a Bigfoot? He’s speaking Bigfoot, Han Solo’s speaking English, they never break character but one keeps going.”
Burr added a little reenactment to this bit, doing his own imitation of Wookiee noises–Kasheekian to the hardcore stans reading this piece–and then impersonating Solo saying “I said hit the button Chewie!”
“And none of that,” he exclaimed. “That’s all fine!”
While Burr framed this response as a bit of humor, he brings up a point about the Star Wars universe, primarily what is supposedly accepted without question and what inconsistencies stir up the fan base. Since Star Wars (now, Episode IV: A New Hope) was released in 1977, the English spoken appeared to be either with an English or the generalized conception of an “American” accent from Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamil), and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaacs), and subtle African American accents from black characters like Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson), and Carl Weathers (Greef Karga). As the universe expanded, it appeared that alien species got a pass on having an accent, and Jengo Fett, Boba Fett, and the other clones were allowed to have New Zealand accents. This cinematic universe is still expanding. Who’s to say there aren’t people with that Boston/New England dialect which Burr suggests seems far more likely in an English-speaking galaxy than Han and Chewie’s multi-lingual back-and-forth.
You can watch the full Jimmy Fallon’s full interview with Bill Burr here:
Burr also wasn’t the only character in season two to expand the diversity of human accents in the galaxy. Episode 1 introduced us to Timothy Olyphant’s character Marshal Cobb Vanth who boasted a western accent.
This is also not the first time Jon Favreau’s hit Disney+ show disrupted the Star Wars status quo. One of the most significant shakeups was making Giancarlo Esposito–a person of color–the chief antagonist and leader of the Empire which was inspired by the fascists of Nazi Germany, Moff Gideon.
Esposito, who jumped at the role, explained, “It means a lot to me because I’ve strived in my career to be colorless… Fascism, communism, for me, can be colorless, because it really boils down to power and money.”
As Lucasfilm gears up for an unprecedented expansion of its Star Wars universe through Disney+ original shows like Book of Boba Fett, Rangers of the New Republic, The Bad Batch, Ahsoka, and OBI-WAN KENOBI: The Original Series, it will be interesting to see how many more subtle ways–like regional accents–we see the diversity of the galaxy increase.
What did you think about Bill Burr’s performance in Star Wars: The Mandalorian? Let us know in the comments!