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 actors 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, we sit down (virtually) with Chris Parsons, an actor who has played numerous roles across the Star Wars universe, including the bounty hunter 4-LOM.
Forty years since The Empire Strikes Back first appeared in theaters, the bounty hunter 4-LOM has achieved a cult-like following of fans.
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DORK SIDE OF THE FORCE: When you heard about the casting call for The Empire Strikes Back movie, as an actor were you even more excited to try out because of the success of the original Star Wars?
CHRIS PARSONS: The first time I was made aware of the proposed sequel was when I was asked to attend EMI Elstree in England for an audition. My agent did not inform me what it was for. When I arrived at the studios, I was shown into a dressing room and on the bed was a C-3PO costume. The production team wanted someone to play a double for this character. To get the part I had to find out if I could fit in the costume. Because of what the character represented I was determined that it would fit.
The problem with other actor who had also attended was that the head piece, which is screwed together, was claustrophobic. That fortunately did not trouble me at all. I learned to walk the walk and talk the talk and the job was mine.
DSOF: In the Empire Strikes Back, the character of 4-LOM is part of that scene where Darth Vader is meeting with the bounty hunters. That scene is approximately 45 seconds long and yet all six of those characters have become iconic. Why do you think that is?
Parsons: I am puzzled but also humbled that the main bounty hunter scene is of such importance to the fans. I do not know why but obviously something in the scene has struck a lasting memory in the trilogy. Boba Fett was obviously the chief villain but we all had a dark history.
DSOF: Did you hold on to a keepsake from The Empire Strikes Back movie from your time on set. Maybe you kept a page of the script or a piece of the costume?
Parsons: Unfortunately, I do not have a piece of script or even better a piece of the costume. However, I do have a large number of original call sheets with my name on them, together with official Lucasfilm paperwork. I gratefully received at the appropriate times an original cloth crew badge for The Empire Strikes Back and also one for Return of the Jedi, which is actually embroidered as Revenge of The Jedi, which is what the film was originally going to be called.
DSOF: There are a host of 4-LOM action figures out there in the market today, and we know in doing our research you have some of these figures. Are they on display somewhere in your home or are they packed away?
Parons: I do have a number of 4-LOM action figures. At the moment they are stored in a cupboard but my plan is to acquire a display unit and place them all in there along with a few other Star Wars collectibles and plaques that I have been awarded by various organizations including the 501 Garrison.
DSOF: How many times would you say you have watched The Empire Strikes Back?
Parsons: The Empire Strikes Back is one of the more interesting of the films and not because I worked on it. I do watch it every now and again, probably around 10 times in total.
DSOF: In your IMDB profile, it shows you have appeared in more than 20 films including The Empire Strikes Back and within the Star Wars galaxy itself you have played multiple roles. Why does this one movie and role of 4-LOM hold such a special place in your heart?
Parsons: When I was asked to work on The Empire Strikes Back, it soon became obvious it was going to be special. It was like a family during filming. Obviously playing 4-LOM has enabled me to meet thousands of fans at shows over the years and has allowed me to give a small bit back through helping with charitable causes.
DSOF: On your Twitter account [@cparsonsactor] you give advice in the voice and tone of 4-LOM, which is awesome! You start off a Tweet with ‘4-LOM’ says …. What brought this idea to life?
Parsons: I started occasionally placing messages on Facebook and Twitter starting with ‘4-LOM says’ to attract the public’s attention on certain events in history and also the current health crisis. I don’t know what the interest is like with this caption but if it works, I will use it in the future for certain points that I feel strongly about.
DSOF: Is there a future Star Wars related projected you are involved in that we can tease to our Dork Side of the Force audience?
Parsons: Many fans have suggested to me that they would like to see 4-LOM in The Mandalorian with myself as the original actor inside the costume. At first I was honored that they felt that way and now I think “why not” as I am roughly the same size as 40 years ago and not knackered yet so can still deliver. Perhaps Mr. Filoni or Mr. Favreau would be interested in talking to me if they are fans of 4-LOM and read this interview, so who knows, maybe it can happen.
DSOF: 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 galaxy?
Parsons: It has been a pleasure to do this interview for all of the fans of Dork Side of the Force. I hope you have enjoyed my answers, and also to the rest of the Star Wars Galaxy, 4-LOM says In these uncertain times, please stay safe and follow the guidance, your health and families are important, hopefully we can all meet again soon at a future convention.
Stream The Empire Strikes Back on Disney+.