It’s fair to say that Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi divided the fan community: some loved the new directions the characters went in, while others declared that director Rian Johnson had run the franchise into the ground.
Now it’s emerged that one of the franchise’s longest-running performers – 62-year-old actor and puppeteer Tim Rose, who has played the “body” of squid-like Rebel Admiral Ackbar since 1983’s Return of the Jedi alongside voice actors Erik Bauersfeld and Tom Kane – was also pretty unhappy, revealing he was “in tears” over what he perceived as a disrespectful attitude to his character.
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“After The Force Awakens – for whatever reason, length of picture, whatever, it all got cut out,” Rose told Jamie Stangroom in a lengthy YouTube interview.
“So after waiting 30 years to reprise Ackbar I was a little disappointed with Ackbar’s role in that picture. In The Last Jedi I was quite looking forward to them maybe giving him something more juicy.”
Unfortunately, what they had planned was Ackbar’s death instead, and Rose was less than happy with the character’s lack of presence.
“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?’” Rose said.
“And I looked at my script and I went ‘Oh Ackbar’s going out of the window, well that’s that then!’
He added: “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 ask me to look at camera and say ‘it’s a wrap’.
“I was actually in tears in the suit because I thought – after everything, after hoping they’d be something, after knowing there wasn’t going to be anything else, Ackbar’s final moment before he went in to the box was a big joke about it’s a wrap. And that was the sum total of my life as Ackbar!
“I disappeared down the back and couldn’t [come] out for a good 30 minutes after that. They take over bits of your life. They become part of us and we’re part of them.”
Still, Rose was still in fairly good spirits about his time in the movie as a whole, speaking warmly about his spectacular death scene.
“We filmed it all,” he said. “Even in this day of CG, we finished with our dialogue and then they brought in the stuntmen who were in their flame proof costumes, it was so dangerous that everybody had to leave set.
“The three stunt guys, they blew them right across the set and then of course the glass is broken on the capsule and they get sucked out into the void of space. So the explosion happened which blew them all towards camera and then they were on snatch lines so they just got sucked to the top of the stage. It was totally spectacular.
“I’m not privy to the editing side of things but having seen it for real I suspect that they looked at it and went: Oh my god what have we just done?”