One of the appealing aspects of Star Wars has always been the lived-in and constructed worlds that make up the galaxy far, far away. That's what makes for a lot of the fun of Star Wars: Resistance, which centers on a group of pilots, spies and pirates just trying to survive after the First Order moves to take over the galaxy. Comedy veteran Bobby Moynihan plays the merchant Orka in the series, living the dream of every Star Wars fan ever.
During an interview with CBR and other media outlets, Moynihan talked about getting to improvise with co-star Jim Rash, how his love for Star Wars has informed his performance, and offered oral history of the famed "Star Wars Undercover Boss" sketch from Saturday Night Live.
On Star Wars: Resistance, Moynihan plays Orka, one-half of the merchant duo alongside Flix. Rather than being the center of the action, Moynihan enjoys that he gets to play a role in the quieter aspects of the universe.
"The Cantina and Jabba's Palace, to me, are what Star Wars is," he said. "It's just a bunch of people in masks making a movie. That's the fun part of Star Wars, all the minutia, and weird little characters. That's what Resistance is. It's all the people who work in Star Wars, the people who don't have a lightsaber and are just going to work. That's just fascinating to me."
The relationships between the characters has been defined since the earliest days of the series, Moynihan explained. When he was given the scripts to Resistance under a different name to prevent leaks, the relationship between the pair was made as overt as possible. "I don't know if it's well known, but when I got the script originally it wasn't called Star Wars," he recalled. "And they weren't Orka and Flix, they were Oscar and Felix [from The Odd Couple]. That was their whole thing... What I always say about Orka and Flix, what I always force in there, when Flix says 'I love you,' Orka says 'I know.' They love each other. I think you'll get a little more Orka and Flix, you'll see them more outside of work [this season]. They're my favorite little couple. I want to do a family spin-off with them and their robots."
Working alongside Moynihan is his DuckTales co-star Jim Rash, who plays Flix, the more neurotic of the pair. Their rapport is what fuels the sequences with Orka and Flix, which might be in part because they actually get to record together. "Yeah, I actually got to record a lot with Jim [Rash]," Moynihan revealed. "He's the best. That's very rare in animation, so being able to do it with the other person... [Rash] is a great improviser, and with my vast knowledge of Star Wars and his vast lack of knowledge of Star Wars, it was perfect. I'm improvising about kyber crystals and he's like 'whatever.'"
Although both Moynihan and Rash have plenty of skill with improvisation, Moynihan explained how it can sometimes lead to more problems than solutions. Reflecting on how much he actually gets to improvise in the series, he said, "Not a lot. I think it's because they trusted me and [Rash] enough, and we're kind of the comedy in there, we're allowed to do that. I've definitely improvised some things they've had to tell me not to. I get very Star Wars nerdy, so [the directors] will be like, 'Just talk about what you did yesterday.'
"So I went, 'Oh, I went to the bar, they had this new band,' and I'm talking about the Catina band because I want to make Star Wars references and make my character a part of this universe. And [the staff] was like, 'That was hilarious. Don't do that again, because if you make something canon then it has to go through 700 people.' If you say something flippantly, there are fans who will pick it apart... I kept trying to insert Orka and Flix into other parts of the Star Wars universe, and they were very aware of what I was trying to do."
Moynihan has been a longtime Star Wars fan, so getting the opportunity to be a part of the universe has been an incredible experience for him. "I feel like, did you ever see that movie Space Camp where the kid gets to go to space? That's what it feels like. I worked real hard for a long time and now I'm enjoying it like a 15-year-old. I can't believe it."
That love for the franchise came to the forefront during his time as a performer and writer on Saturday Night Live. One of his most beloved sketches saw Adam Driver reprise his role as Kylo Ren for a spoof of the reality-television series Undercover Boss. Posing as "Matt the Radar Technician," the short-tempered Kylo lashed out at Stormtroopers, despite his attempts to maintain a low profile.
"I was on SNL for nine years, and that moment made it all worth it," Moynihan joked. "That's a shitty thing to say. I'm very aware of how lucky I was. That day, that week from start to finish with Adam Driver... I fell in love with him. Just as an actor, he's a talented, talented man. I don't think he's a big Star Wars nerd, but I don't think he's someone who doesn't respect or understand the people that are. I think he walks this amazing line of being in Star Wars, where he respects it and gets its. I'd be running up to children being like, 'You know I'm Kylo Ren, right?' Constantly. I'd be scaring children constantly.
"[The day we did the sketch], Mikey Day, Taran Killum and I are big Star Wars fans. We had a bunch of ideas that week, and we settled on that, and I'm so glad we did. It's the greatest and one of my favorite things I ever got to work on. When I go to Comic-Con and see fifteen [Matt the Radar Technical cosplayers] standing there, it's the craziest thing in the world. I'm not saying Matt is in the series or anything. It's not like Kylo Ren is going to show up and pull off his mask and have blond hair. I would be the first one to say 'you've made a grave mistake.'"
There were more than a couple of Star Wars sketches in that season of SNL, all of which utilized Moynihan's fandom to for all that it was worth. "I wrote the 'Matt the Radar Technician' thing, I also wrote the Star Wars toys sketch. That was 100 percent, all of that stuff is from my home. [Saturday Night Live] was like, 'We can't go out and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Star Wars collectibles,' and I was like, 'Just come to my house and pick it up. I have two full-size R2-D2s. I played Leia in one sketch, and that was my R2-D2. There was a year where I got to do a lot of Star Wars stuff, and I have a very distinct memory at the finale party, [producer Lorne Michaels] being like, 'Great season, maybe no more Star Wars?'"
Talking about his hopes for his future in Star Wars, Moynihan said, "I want Orka and Flix to come back in some capacity. I keep trying to pitch spinoffs for them. I would do it in a second. My dream would be to be a faceless monster, and I kind of am. Either an alien or just a pilot in an X-wing that gets shot down. Can I be Frank Porkins, the son of Porkins who gets shot down?"
Returning to Disney Channel on Sunday, Oct. 6, at 10 p.m. ET/PT, Star Wars Resistance stars Christopher Sean as Kazuda Xiono, Suzie McGrath as Tam Ryvora, Scott Lawrence as Jarek Yeager; Myrna Velasco as Torra Doza, Josh Brener as Neeku Vozo, Donald Faison as Hype Fazon, Elijah Wood as Rucklin, Jim Rash and Bobby Moynihan as Flix and Orka, Liam McIntyre as Commander Pyre, Jason Hightower as Captain Doza, Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma and Sumalee Montano as Agent Tierny. Also joining the cast are for Season 2 are Joe Manganiello as Ax Tagrin, Daveed Diggs as Norath Kev, Matthew Wood as Kylo Ren and Lucy Lawless as the Aeosian Queen.