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How the Characters of STAR WARS RESISTANCE Take After Their Actors

How the Characters of STAR WARS RESISTANCE Take After Their Actors

Any Saturday Night Live fan worth their salt has likely become very familiar with the physical comedy of alumnus Bobby Moynihan. And although his next big role is in animation, we’ll still get to see his physicality translated to his new character: the starship parts-dealing alien Orka on the new Star Wars animated series Resistance.

“I am a very physical comedian,” Moynihan said. “I like to pride myself on that, but I’m also turning 42 soon, and I’m tired, you know? Animation affords you that fluidity, and you don’t age. You just show up and sound like you’re aging. Orka’s a physical guy too, but it’s not my fault—it’s hundreds of other people’s fault.” Should the character ever be required in live-action, however, the actor says he’s up for it, adding, “I would need to somehow be only three feet tall, but that’s not a challenge anymore. You see him jump up on a chair, and it’s like, that’s kinda how I would have done that.”

With Star Wars being as secretive as it is, the cast didn’t get to spend a lot of time in advance learning all the ins and outs of their characters. “I think on the first day they showed me a still,” said Moynihan, who also plays a couple of other minor supporting alien roles. “But it was a character design and that was it. It wasn’t like I got to take it home, look at it, analyze it. I’m a big Star Wars guy. He’s got patches on both of his shoulders and I wanna know what those are; I want to know everything about it.”

For costar Donald Faison, who plays a hotshot Rodian pilot named Hype, much of the appeal is in the mystery. “You know a little bit, but you don’t know what’s coming,” he said. “You can go in as a fan and just do your role and pay no attention, and be just as surprised as everyone else when they’re watching the show.”

And the animators are always watching. Christopher Sean, who plays protagonist Kazuda Xiono, a hotshot pilot recruited to be a spy by the Resistance on the water world of Castilon prior to the events of The Force Awakens, said, “The coolest thing about it is they have a camera recording you. So there’s one line in the show where my character is confident and not confident, and he’s flip-flopping back and forth, and as he’s saying these lines, I’m kind of up, like ‘Of course! Wait, I did, but…'” He raised and lowered his eyebrows dramatically, like a conflicted Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, then finished his thought. “And all of those expressions are captured to camera, and they transpose that on to film. It’s really cool to see my expressions on Kaz.”

Moynihan expressed similar sentiments, saying, “I have a giggle, a laugh that I know about, and it comes out sometimes, and to watch the character’s shoulders bounce because of your laugh, it’s like you’re adding to the physicality of that and they’re animating it, so it’s crazy.”

Star Wars Resistance debuts Saturday, October 7 on Disney XD.

Images: Lucasfilm

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