Star Wars Rogue Code: A Q&A with Julian Glover (General Veers)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 16: Julian Glover. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 16: Julian Glover. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images) /

Rogue Code is a series of Q&As conducted with members of the Star Wars galaxy exclusively for Dork Side of the Force.

Dork Side of the Force is going back in time and visiting with the Star Wars ctors that played some of the most iconic characters from the films we love as part of our Rogue Code Q&A series.

From his home in the United Kingdom, we spoke with actor Julian Glover who played General Maximilian Veers in The Empire Strikes Back, a film that just celebrated its 40th anniversary. Mr. Glover could not have been more gracious and courteous over the phone. He continues to have an iconic career in the entertainment industry with hundreds of stage, screen and television projects to his credit – including a more than 30-episode arc on Game of Thrones. But to the Star Wars universe, Mr. Glover will forever be General Veers and he is eternally grateful for that.

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Dork Side of the Force spoke with Mr. Glover about how he got the role of General Veers, the line of dialogue that gave him a bit of trouble, the future of Star Wars conventions, and how a week’s worth of acting work turned into a 40-year legacy. Below are the transcribed highlights from that conversation.

DORK SIDE: What do you recall about going in and reading for the part of General Veers more than 40 years ago?   

MR. GLOVER: I did not read for it at all. I happened to live next door to the Executive Producer Robert Watts. One day I was in the garden and he poked his head over the wall and said ‘What are you doing? We are making another Star Wars movie.’ I said ‘Well, that’s exciting’ and he said ‘Do you want to be in it? And I said ‘Oh, well, yes. Thank you very much.’

It was only a week’s work, and it was quite fun to do all the while having no idea, along with the other lads who were with me, what was going to happen.  We have all enjoyed Star Wars enormously at that time, as young actors. The film was such a breakthrough, so to be in the second one was great fun. And we thought that was the end of that. Well, history has told us otherwise. Here we are and I’ve got you on the phone calling me from America 40 years later (laughter).

DORK SIDE: When you see the script itself and see the character of General Veers, how was it written and described to you and how did you make it your own?

MR. GLOVER: Well, I hope I made it my own. I certainly did not change the script. He was simply described as Senior Imperial Officer. Whenever I go to a convention and do a Q&A on this, people tell me you are good at playing villains and I say thanks very much but General Veers was not a villain. He was on the wrong side as far as you are concerned. As far as he is concerned, he was a senior officer working for his own country, parliament, or cause, and he was a damn good officer and that is why he was general, not a private or a sergeant. He was just bloody good at his job and does not he do his job well? We can see him doing his job well in the film.

DORK SIDE: There is some great folklore about your character in Empire Strikes Back and around the General’s possible death. There are actual debates out there on if General Veers died on Hoth or survived. I know there are some books and extended Star Wars stories beyond the movie, but what do you think happened to the character?

MR. GLOVER: I know a lot of things have been written about his background. After the battle of Hoth, as far as I was concerned, General Veers was dead. There was going to be a small slot for General Veers in the next film but I was not able to do it because of a schedule conflict and I am really sorry about that. But with a part like General Veers, there is no point really in going into his background because in that sort of film, he has one objective: he was on the side he was on, and he was going to win the battle as he always has in the past. That is why Darth Vader has personal correspondence with him in the film. He is not just any old general, he is someone Darth Vader talks to. A great story about the dialogue from the film. I got through it all absolutely beautifully except for one line and I just could not hang on to it. I went to 15 takes which drove them all mad and I said I am terribly sorry. And the line was – ready for it? – ‘target the main generator.’ (laughter).

DORK SIDE: Why did Star Wars capture you so much out of all the movies, television, stage you have done in your career?

MR. GLOVER: I found out the objectives of the man through the script and played those objectives. They were good to play. People tell me I have a strong presence when I come on to the stage or set so I did not have to act this way, I just played him absolutely straight. But it was a serious piece of work for five days. We did not think this film would be anything more than an exciting film. We had no idea it would go to three, and span the universe as it has. The script was far and away a more sophisticated piece of film writing. Star Wars was an enormously enjoyable film. Enormously, gigantically enjoyable. And I thought the script for Empire had learned so much from Star Wars. In my opinion – and this has nothing to do with me being in it – it [ESB] – is the best of the three films as a piece of solid filmmaking.

DORK: When was the last time you watched Empire Strikes Back open to close?

MR GLOVER: I‘ve watched Empire I think four times. The last time was two years ago, they were playing it at a convention I was at during the day so I watched it. Again, I was impressed. It completely holds up over time and I think it will continue to hold up. Even the young kids who come to the conventions, they all prefer the early movies – especially Empire. I suppose their parents put them in front of the early movies first, a wise move.

DORK SIDE:  Do you have any idea on the value (price) of what is called mint on card AT-AT Commander is today? Approximately $500 dollars. What do you feel when you hear that?

MR. GLOVER: Thank you for saying that. That is exciting to hear. Related to this, I am actually having an auction of some of my bits and bobs on around the 24th of July. Normally this happens after someone passes, but I want to enjoy people enjoying my memorabilia today. My script from Indiana Jones, my sword from Ivanhoe are things I am thinking about. (editorial note: information on the auction will be available here:

DORK SIDE: Do you have a piece of memorabilia from your time on Empire Strikes Back that you kept? Maybe it was your script pages or your officer rankings from your uniform?

MR. GLOVER: I have my original badge of rank that goes across my chest and to me that is a very valuable memento. I think I am going to let that go in the auction.

DORK SIDE: With COVID19, things have changed and I have seen comic and movie conventions try to move to online and virtual models. You recently took part in one of these for the first time as part of How was that experience?

MR. GLOVER: I had the most wonderful time at In-House-Con. It was such fun and we really enjoyed ourselves. I even did individual ones where I would speak with fans for five minutes each from all over the world. People got up at four in the morning to talk to me which was terribly complimentary to me. And we did a big one where all of us were on screen at the same time and we laughed, we were interesting and interacting and people seemed to be enjoying it all. People like Derek Maki are finding ways through this terrible virus and it was well attended by the fans.

DORK SIDE: How can our audience follow where in the Star Wars universe you might be appearing, in terms of an autograph signing or virtual panel discussion. Do you have your own website or are you on social media? 

MR. GLOVER: I am not on social media or anything like that but people seem to find out about me and find out where I will be, and that is wonderful.

DORK: Final question – the galaxy is yours. What do you want to say to the readers of Dork Side of the Force and the entire Star Wars universe?

MR. GLOVER: To the Star Wars universe, I want to say thank you. Quite obviously Star Wars has one of the central pillars of my career. Whenever I tell people I was in Star Wars their ears perk up in whatever company I am in. It has proved to be an important part of my life. I am always grateful to it, and to the fans who go on watching it. So, thank you very much Star Wars universe and the great George Lucas.

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