Moff Gideon has been the ultimate big bad of The Mandalorian since Season 1. He killed countless people to bring “order” to the galaxy, he ordered the death of Kuiil, destroyed the Razor Crest, and oh, the biggest sin ever- kidnapping Grogu and threatening him with the Darksaber. But don’t think it was an easy task for actor Giancarlo Esposito to give viewers a truly evil villain that one can’t help but despise. He admits that he researched Star Wars‘ widespread history before playing his first scene in The Mandalorian as “the fans knew a whole lot more than I did about Star Wars.”
The first time The Mandalorian presented Moff Gideon was in Season 1, Chapter 7: The Reckoning, after a row of Death Troopers aided by a contingent of Stormtroopers surrounded the cantina Mando, Cara Dune, and Greef Karga were hiding in. Gideon arrived to give the trio an ultimatum- either hand over The Child or face the consequences.
In a recent video shared by Star Wars, Esposito shares how he wanted to play the character to the T and did his research but it was only after he ascended from the TIE fighter in his first-ever scene in the show that the magnitude of being Gideon hit him.
“I’ve been a very big fan of the early Star Wars movies and the world in which they exist. I was head over heels when I was asked to do this show by Jon Favreau. I was strongly affected by Peter Cushing who also played a Moff many, many years ago. And tried to do some research, because I knew the fans knew a whole lot more than I did about Star Wars. My first day of shooting, I came down in a TIE fighter and I landed. And then, I’m ushered into what is a standoff with 300 Stormtroopers. And all I can think in my brain is, “I’m Moff Gideon”.”
It was in that one moment which made him realize that he had to play Gideon in a way that relays his power and that “I don’t have to say or do much to get what I want because I’m going to get it.”
“That standoff was the beginning of me finding the balance of who this character is. For me, as an actor, I have to reflect the images that I see and feel that aren’t really in front of me, so that you can see this world reflected through my vision. And you get a true sense of that- you see something else, as its all built and put together. But it has to start somewhere, the kernel, the seed has to start somewhere…inside of Moff Gideon.”
Well, he has definitely served the best Star Wars villain in a long time and despite Giancarlo Esposito downplaying his knowledge about the Star Wars, he has always exhibited an acute understanding of its complex characters, especially Darth Vader. Like, in a chat with IGN during the last few episodes of The Mandalorian Season 2, he had explained that his armour is a reference to Darth Vader and how the formidable Sith Lord inspired his character.
“I think it’s a throwback to this guy…I mean, it really relates in a way to me, I like to think or imagine in my brain, that he has the kind of power that Darth Vader had. And so, seeing him in his armor and his cape and armed up tells me he’s a warrior. That tells me he is a soldier and has the skills to back that up and hopefully, you’ll see it soon in our [upcoming] episodes,” he had shared.
In his recent video chat, he once again discusses the Jedi who defected to the Dark Side and confessed that he has always been “fascinated” by Darth Vader. He believes that “inside that very, very hard, coarse exterior could be a human being that had the ability to bring some light to our space odyssey in our galaxy.” As the actor has already pointed out the similarities between him and Vader once, is the above deduction a sign that Gideon isn’t, or once wasn’t, as evil as we think he is? You can check out the full video chat https://youtu.be/SAA4EENPp_4|here.