In light of Benicio del Toro confirming his rumored role as a villain in Star Wars: Episode VIII, the Jedi Council at Dork Side of the Force has convened once again to offer up our top choices for actors and actresses we’d like to see play villains in Star Wars.
Elaine Tveit: Out of all the characters rendered Star Wars Legends, there is one I am wild to see become canon and appear in a Star Wars film. Cool as his deep blue skin, perceptive as his gleaming red eyes, and as cultured as the military cut of his white Imperial Admiral’s uniform, the Chiss Mitth’raw’nuorodo, or Thrawn, was the genius mind that nearly retook galactic dominance for the Empire from the New Republic in Timothy Zahn’s landmark Heir to the Empire trilogy.
Image via Benedict Catbatch
While Thrawn is, as far as we know, a legend of the Legends (though a recent canon novel might provide ground for dispute about that), his function as a brilliant enemy for the fledgling New Republic of any Star Wars universe, cannon or no, would still be entirely useful, and his character irreplaceable.
And who better to portray Thrawn in Star Wars on the big screen than an actor who has had ample experience playing cultured individuals with cunning minds. Of course, I am referring to Benedict Cumberbatch, who played the nefarious reincarnation of Khan in the latest Star Trek film, Into Darkness, as well as a modern version of Sherlock Holmes in BBC’s Sherlock. With his aristocratic profile, deep thrumming voice, and accomplished acting ability, Cumberbatch would fit the role of Thrawn like a glove.
And I’m not the only one who thinks that, as the fan picture of Cumberbatch as Thrawn with kittens and lasers indicates (via Benedict Catbatch).
Kyle Warnke: It’s no secret that part of Disney’s mission with Star Wars is to update the diversity of a galaxy far, far away so it doesn’t seem like it was made a long time ago. That doesn’t just mean bringing in actors of different races and nationalities, but also providing more opportunities for women.
Thier progress so far has been encouraging. Both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One will feature a female lead, and even Marvel has gotten in on the deal with a comic series solely about Princess Leia, which even topped the sales charts for a month.
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It’s great that young female fans now have a heroine to cheer for, but the franchise is still lacking on the Dark Side. That’s why I think Cate Blanchett would be a great choice for the first real villainess in the Star Wars universe.
Blanchett is no stranger to blockbuster franchises, having played the elf queen Galadriel in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies. But I think she’d be more suited to a role that resembles her turn as the antagonist in the fourth Indiana Jones movie, where she played a hardass Nazi.
Rather than a Sith or a bounty hunter, I’m picturing Blanchett as some kind of Imperial general (perhaps even Admiral Rae Sloane, if the character makes the jump from the Expanded Universe literature to the big screen) who despises the rebels and wants to see the glory of the Empire return. Her star power and her steely, ice-cold gaze would work perfectly for the role.
David ‘Razor’ Harris: I love Elaine’s pick, Thrawn would be such a huge win for fans of the old EU (now legends) and would fill the void left empty by Tarkin. I also really like Kyle’s idea of a female villain, and Cate Blanchett in Imperial greys would be fantastic, but I am leaning a little farther toward the Dark Side with my pick.
I want a female Sith Lord, and the only woman in all of Hollywood, in my mind, that can play a female Dark Lord of the Sith with such seething hatred and evil beneath a surface of calm, would be Famke Janssen. Since her turn as the Dark Phoenix in X-Men: The Last Stand, I have long held that she would be a perfect female Sith Lord.
For The Force Awakens we’ve seen villains like General Hux, Captain Phasma, and Kylo Ren — who seems to be a puppet for a much more powerful entity — and we’ve only heard about Supreme Leader Snoke. However, the film is lacking in more disciples of the Dark Side…in my opinion. Maybe this new trilogy is not the right time or place to bring in more Sith or Jedi; maybe Disney and Lucasfilm are trying to tell a more generalized Star Wars story. However, there has to be room in this new age of Star Wars storytelling, for a film — or series of films — where multiple Sith face off against multiple Jedi, and it’s here that I feel my dream for a Famke Janssen female Sith Lord, may finally be realized.