With the release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, a major chapter in the career of Andy Serkis has (finally) come to a close. Lucky for him, in 2015 alone he’ll appear in both The Avengers: Age of Ultron and Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, so it isn’t as if Serkis has to worry about work drying up anytime soon.
In Age of Ultron, Serkis will appear as himself – that is to say, as a human, not a mo-capped, digital creature – with suspicions that he’ll be playing an iconic Black Panther villain. And while his role’s identity remains unconfirmed, we do know he’s also helped with the performance capture for Hulk and Ultron; a no brainer, really, given the man’s experience.
But When it comes to Serkis’ involvement in The Force Awakens, we know substantially less. His casting naturally led many to assume he would provide the motion-captured performance for some CGI alien creature. There were even rumors Serkis was playing multiple roles, not so unlike his mo-cap assistance on Age of Ultron. But so far, the only confirmed detail is that it’s Serkis’ character providing the narration heard in The Force Awakens teaser.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly while making final press rounds for The Hobbit, Serkis dropped a few more hints (through tightly-pressed lips) about his mysterious Star Wars role – the first being that his vocal talents are similarly impressive, as the booming voice heard in the announcement trailer “is the character. There’s no digital manipulation. That’s just me.“
In response to a question about the deliberate weariness of the character’s voice implying the character has seen plenty of action, Serkis confirms that he has, indeed, “been through some stuff.” But he was just as surprised as the fans to see his character so heavily focused upon:
“[Director J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy] told me, ‘You’re all over the trailer,’ but I didn’t know what that meant. I thought, ‘Oh great, they’re using the voice of the character I play for the trailer. That’s fantastic.’ Not thinking what that would actually translate into.”
Serkis also puts to rest the rumor he’s playing more than one role, calling it “not true at all,” but is unable to comment on whether or not he’ll be recognizable on screen, or augmented by performance capture or CGI, saying “These things will all come out in the fullness of time, I promise.”
These comments – combined with what we already learned from the teaser trailer – seem to indicate earlier rumors that Serkis is playing a Force-sensitive character are correct. The line referring to having “felt” an awakening and the implication his character has “been through some stuff“, for instance, could be seen as evidence supporting the theory. The voice-over is ominous to say the least, making his role as a Sith or perhaps one of the Inquisitors all the more likely.
Then again, next to nothing has been confirmed about the roles of any of the cast. A few of their names have been released, and it’s fairly certain that John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, and Oscar Isaac are playing the “good guys”, but beyond that, we, like every other fan, are basically still in the dark.
What do you think of the few hints Andy Serkis could give about his character in The Force Awakens? Is he a Jedi? Sith? Or neither? Will he appear as himself or through some digitally rendered character? Sound off in the comments below!
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens releases in theaters December 18, 2015.