From Chancellor Palpatine’s impassioned speech after taking over the Republic to C-3PO offering unsolicited commentary on the hero’s adventures, the Star Wars galaxy is known for its outspoken characters. In a similar vein, the actors behind some of Star Wars‘ leading characters have also been vocal about matters important to them — often without the lack of controversy too.
One of Lucasfilm’s latest additions to its already impressive roster of actors has weighed in on Disney’s stance to support its stars…but he suggests there’s a catch.
Premiering alongside the launch of Disney+, The Mandalorian issued a new era for the Star Wars universe. The record-breaking series from showrunner Jon Favreau demonstrated that there are more stories to tell besides the behemoth Skywalker Saga. Although a Skywalker did make a rather incredible cameo appearance later on in the Season 2 finale, The Mandalorian primarily introduced fans to the world of Din Djarin — Pedro Pascal’s eponymous Mandalorian warrior. Favreau’s series tackles the events following the conclusion of George Lucas’ original trilogy.
The Mandalorian’s escapades carried on into Season 2 where Din Djarin continued his quest to find answers surrounding his traveling companion, The Child AKA “Baby Yoda”. Meeting fan-favorites along the way like Jedi Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff), and bounty hunter Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison), the duo were pursued by Imperial officer, Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito), and his platoon of dark troopers.
Esposito isn’t a stranger to playing villainous characters. His most well-known role to date is that of Gustavo “Gus” Fring in AMC’s drama series, Breaking Bad, which saw him deliver an increasingly sinister performance. He is likely just as scary in The Mandalorian, going to the ends of the galaxy to secure the Force-sensitive Grogu for the Galactic Empire.
The Mandalorian Season 2 finale not only revealed the return of Luke Skywalker and his rather incredible Jedi powers when facing the dark trooper platoon but also saw Din Djarin becoming the rightful ruler of Mandalore after winning the legendary Darksaber from Esposito’s Moff Gideon.
It is not known what is next for Moff Gideon — and the rest of The Mandalorian‘s cast as a matter of fact following the end of the second season. Esposito has recently discussed his role in Star Wars‘ leading show and also issued his opinions on the Walt Disney Company’s — and by association, Lucasfilm’s — stance on supporting their actors amid free speech and real-life political situations.
Speaking to The Independent, Esposito weighed in on John Boyega’s active role in the Black Lives Matter protests as well as offering a wider statement on Disney’s responsibility to its “family”.
“I think it’s important to take care of the family […] Social media has gotten to the point where there’s this crazy fandom so when you put yourself out there, you’re opening yourself up to criticism…”
Social media has in fact played a huge role in criticism towards Disney and Star Wars in recent years. Rose Tico actress Kelly Marie Tran made the decision to leave social media due to backlash from her role in the Star Wars sequels.
The Mandalorian actor continued, suggesting the need for balance when openly discussing political views.
“I think Disney is a wonderful institution. And sometimes things happen where people speak out – and Star Wars is a great example of that – where people want to speak out politically […] Not that I want to always please the fans or the studio but there’s an appropriate way to express yourself and also be inclusive of the family of filmmakers you work with.”
“I would hope that [Disney] will always support what their stars say, but they have to be careful because if there’s vehement language connected to that…”
We know that Disney has a varied stance on supporting actors with their personal views. The Mandalorian received its fair share of controversy this year when Disney fired Cara Dune actress, Gina Carano, amid insensitive social media posts. Not discussing Carano specifically, Esposito comments on how mistakes are inevitable in the industry.
“I’m in the entertainment business. So are the folks at Disney who make films. Is there a responsibility? Of course there is. Do we all make mistakes? Yes, we do.”
Lastly, the Moff Gideon actor, had this to say regarding Boyega’s part in the BLM protests.
“He felt compelled to stand up [for BLM] and I think that’s great […] I just think, you know, that the ability to do it with grace is the way to do it […] You should be able to say what you need to say, but the forum is important.”
Boyega, who played the defective stormtrooper, Finn, in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, has in fact aired his grievances to Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy after being vocal about his character’s development in the latest Star Wars blockbusters. Esposito wraps up by clarifying that Boyega is a “great actor, a great humanitarian and a great human being”.
Recently another Mandalorian star has come under fire for liking a social media post that shared opinions on not receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, but at this time neither Disney nor Lucasfilm — or indeed the actress herself — has commented on the situation.
Esposito’s stance on publicly speaking about personal and political views is just one opinion from Lucasfilm’s camp of stars. It is safe to say, though, that the entertainment industry is facing increasing pressure to find a balance between responsibility, support, and action when it comes to actors openly discussing their own beliefs in public.
What do you think of Giancarlo Esposito’s comments? Let us know below!