The fourth day of Star Wars Celebration Chicago saw temperatures take a decidedly Hoth-like turn. Typical, if bitterly cold, Chicago spring weather gave way to sleet, inches of snow and horrible wet. However, that didn't prevent thousands of attendees from snaking around the Wintrust Arena and inside to see the charming Warwick Davis interview fellow Star Wars veteran Alan Tudyk about his life and career.
Following a standing ovation for Davis, who, in a slightly surreal touch, entered on a Segway and mingled with the crowd, and brief interviews with fans selected to sit onstage, Tudyk entered to cheers.
Tudyk was quick to acknowledge the closeness of Star Wars Celebration. He also acknowledged the "life-changing" event at Celebration Anaheim in 2015, where director Gareth Edwards showed him pre-production materials for Rogue One and asked him to play the reprogrammed Imperial security droid K-2SO.
Tudyk surprised attendees by admitting he didn't say "Yes" right away. At the time, his webseries Con Man was about to go into production, and he was worried schedules might overlap. After being assured they wouldn't, he agreed to the role.
When discussing his role as Rogue One's source of comic relief, Tudyk said the outpouring of K-2SO love he's seen is great. "All the love you’re putting into a movie is, you hope, returned by the audience," he said. He revealed that, at the film's premiere, it "didn’t hit until halfway through the movie that 'I’m a Star Wars droid.'"
Role(s) Of a Lifetime
Acknowledging the raucous applause when Davis mentioned Firefly, Tudyk recalled the process of developing a character like Hoban "Wash" Washburne.
“Wash is a character like me," he said. "He’s very close to me. He was the guy on the spaceship who asked. ‘Why do we have to kill people? Can't we just run?’ That’s me all over.” He even joked that, almost 15 years after Wash's death in Serenity, "I’m still processing it.”
When asked about his scene-stealing role as Steve the Pirate in Dodgeball, Tudyk explained his process was simply that,“I watched Harry Potter... Hagrid has a pirate accent to me.”
As for Sonny the robot in I, Robot, “[That] was a big deal. I got to go up to Vancouver a month ahead of time and decide how the robots moved. I had brought [a bunch of books on clowning and miming] and so did [the choreographer]. We just figured out how to move ergonomically. I sat up straight for a long time.”
Tudyk said he has so many voice credits because, “I do enjoy doing it. It's great, because you can do it from literally anywhere.” He revealed he also recorded lines for the Disney Channel series Star vs. the Forces of Evil (on which he plays both bad guy Ludo and supporting character King Butterfly) while on location for Rogue One.
When asked if he was a good-luck charm for Disney, as he's been in every animated film at the studio since Wreck-It Ralph, Tudyk joked, “I have a lot of dirt on them. I’ve heard that said, and I’m so glad they said it, because it is true."
Tudyk also revealed that one of the benefits of K-2SO is that he has basically no facial expressions. But because of that, “I can just change my lines every time. I improvised a lot.” In fact, a large number of improvised lines made their way into Rogue One. “When I slapped Cassian, I can’t believe that line made it into the movie."
Tudyk had to learn to walk on stilts with prosthetic feet "ILM bought the best ones available," he said, "and I had to use them." He also revealed he used high-tech robotic arms for K-2SO's long arm. “They were a little noisy," he recalled. "What’s so great about those arms is … that they just built them from the ground up. They just made them; ILM, they just made the things.”
When asked how he felt about reprising his role in the upcoming Cassian Andor series on the Disney+ streaming service, Tudyk said it's “so exciting. Diego Luna promised me a paella on Day One.”