The Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser trailer (watch it here) has been making waves all over the Internet since it was released yesterday morning. Giving us our first official glimpses into what director J.J. Abrams and his team have in store, the 88-second clip raised its fair share of questions while seemingly confirming previously leaked plot details. As fans debate the practicality of a cross guard on a lightsaber and gush over that Millennium Falcon shot, the identity of the actor whose voice was heard in the preview was one of the most talked about details.
After everyone got a chance to hear it, opinions were all over regarding who was responsible for it. Some suggested it was Benedict Cumberbatch. Others said it was Max Von Sydow. As it turns out, it was none other than Andy Serkis who did the honors, according to new reports on the matter.
Drew McWeeny of HitFlix was able to confirm that the ominous voice discussing the awakening of the dark side and the light belongs to the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes star. Steven Weintraub at Collider also verified this information, tweeting the following:
The voice in the new STAR WARS trailer is Andy Serkis.— Steven Weintraub (@colliderfrosty) November 28, 2014
While the news will be disappointing to conspiracy theorists who believed that Abrams had in fact managed to sneak in the oft-rumored Cumberbatch into the film, it’s still a noteworthy development for a few reasons. In typical Bad Robot style, the Force Awakens production has largely been kept under wraps, and we still don’t know who the new franchise additions (John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, etc.) are playing or what side they’re on. Knowing that Serkis provided the voiceover marks the first clue for his character.
In their writeup, HitFlix mentioned that even though Serkis won’t have a tremendous amount of screen time in the movie, he still plays a “pivotal” role. They obviously couldn’t get into specifics, but it’s more than we knew just a few days ago concerning the fan-favorite motion-capture actor.
Where we stand right now, it sounds as if Serkis will be playing a Force-sensitive individual in the new Star Wars film. The opening line in the trailer – where he asks someone if they have “felt” the awakening – supports this, since Jedi and Sith throughout the series have used the Force to sense and feel various presences and disturbances. It’s not out of the question for this aspect to be carried over in the sequels.
As for the nature of Serkis’ supposed Force-user, that, like so many other elements of Episode VII, is open for debate. His voice certainly sounds like that of an evildoer, and the pairing of his deep, baritone speech with shots of the principle cast looking nervous only adds fuel to that fire.
From what we know so far, the trio of Boyega, Ridley, and Isaac seem to be portraying the new heroes, but little is known about the villains (thought to be the Inquisitors). As the first of many marketing pushes commences, now would be as good a time as any to begin to introduce the new threat the Rebels will be facing. The prospect of a talent like Serkis sinking his teeth into that kind of part is one that would excite many fans – mo-cap or not.
Of course, this is merely speculation based on a sliver of information. For all we know, Serkis could be an ally of Luke and use the Force for good. Maybe he’s somewhere in between. Either way, the man who has been Gollum and Caesar the ape looks to be adding “Jedi or Sith” to his impressive résumé, so whatever his major role is, it should be a treat to watch.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be in theaters December 18, 2015.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.