Recasting the Star Wars saga: Hugh Bonneville as Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum
As Finis Valorum in The Phantom Menace, Academy Award-nominated actor Terence Stamp didn’t have much of a chance to show off, but he did what he could with his brief time on screen. Velorum is the Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic, but we hear from Palpatine that he’s weak. When called upon to act regarding the ongoing crisis on Naboo, Velorum gives in to pressure from advisors and tries to stall. When it becomes clear that the members of the Galactic Senate are tired of his leadership, his face falls. This is a powerful man who’s lost his way.
Hugh Bonneville has experience playing powerful men from the upper crust. He’s done that for six seasons on Downton Abbey, where he plays an English aristocrat struggling with the shifting social mores in the first half of the 20th Century. He’s not quite out of his depth, as Velorum is, but you sense he could get there.
Bonneville also has the right look and demeanor to play Velorum. He’s got a weathered, characterful face and a powerful, English-accented voice. He might not have quite the acting reputation of Stamp (you may recognize a young Stamp as General Zod in Superman II), but he’ll deliver what the role needs.
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