Rather like the recent furore over the ending of Game of Thrones, the fan fury over Episode 8 was directed at the character arcs and some of the major deaths. Fans are often willing to embrace the loss of beloved character, but only if it is honourably handled and consistent with the established arcs. Unusually, Game of Thrones actors have started voicing discontent with the final season, but it is very rare for a Star Wars actor to step out of line. A powerful new video interview with Star Wars commentator Jamie Stangroom allows an iconic figure to vent his frustrations over The Last Jedi.
Puppeteer and actor Tim Rose has played Ackbar on screen since the beginning, as well as other iconic Star Wars creatures.
Upset with the way Ackbar went, he reveals his hurt at the disregard and lack of respect he was shown on set after he wrapped his final scene actually reduced him to tears. Not only that but there was even hugely “dangerous” footage that was never even used.
Rose said: “We filmed it all. Even in this day of CGI, we finished our dialogue and then they brought in stuntmen in flame-proof costumes. My death scene was so dangerous, everybody had to leave the set. They blew the three stunt guys right across the set. They get sucked out into the void of peace so the explosion happened so they were blown towards camera and then they were on snatch lines so they got sucked to the top of the stage. It was totally spectacular… having seen it for reason I suspect they looked at it and thought, ‘Oh my God, what have we done.'”
But that wasn’t what really upset him.
He had already filmed scene for The Force Awakens which had been cut: “So after waiting 30 years to reprise Ackbar I was a little disappointed with Ackbar’s role in that picture. So in The Last Jedi, I was quite looking forward to maybe them giving him something more juicy.
“We were only given the script on the day when we were shooting that piece of script, so each day I would come to work going, ‘Is today the day when Ackbar gets something a bit more involving?’ And I looked at my script and I went, ‘Oh, Ackbar’s going out of the window. Well, that’s that, then!’”
“We finished all of our bits and they asked me to come down to camera. And I thought, ‘Oh well, maybe they’re going to say thank you for being one of the heritage characters and giving 30 years and all that.’ But what they did was, they gave me a Millennium Falcon sign that had the day and the date on it, the scene number, and they said, ‘Can you look at the camera and say ‘It’s a wrap’? ‘Because that would be really funny.'”
Rose revealed he went through with the request and even gamely tagged on a laugh at the end.
“I was actually in tears in the suit because I thought – after everything, after hoping there’d be something, after knowing there wasn’t going to be anything else – Ackbar’s final moment before he went into the box was a big joke about ‘It’s a wrap.’ They just thought ‘Wouldn’t it be funny?’ And that was the sum total of my life as Ackbar. I disappeared down the back and couldn’t come out for 30 minutes.
“People think because its a puppet or a body suit they can put anyone in it. They quickly discover it becomes a whole different character. They become part of us and we become part of them.”