The following article contains Rogue One SPOILERS so if you’d rather not read what we’re about to reveal, LOOK AWAY NOW.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hit cinemas at the tail-end of last week, and fans were treated to a host of cameos from some much-loved characters. The most talked about so far have been Grand Moff Tarkin’s spectacular CGI appearance, as well as a computer-generated Princess Leia who pops up at the film’s high-impact finale.
On top of a return for the good old Mouse droid, and, of course, C-3PO and R2-D2 as well as audience-rousing appearances from Red Leader and Gold Leader (which were created using original footage from Episode IV), fans won’t have failed to notice a cameo from another favourite – Cornelius Evazan. He crops on Jedha with cohort Ponda Baba and has a familiar exchange with Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor. When they brush past one another in a busy city marketplace, Evazan gestures to his companion and says, “He doesn’t like you.” This line is lifted directly from the exchange between the pair and Luke Skywalker in the Mos Eisley cantina on Tatooine in Episode IV.
What you might not have noticed, however, is who was under the make up. It’s none other than Belfast-born actor Michael Smiley, pictured above, who revealed his closely guarded secret on Twitter at the weekend.
Dr Evazan, I presume pic.twitter.com/7SaUd9UZXv
— Michael Smiley (@mrmichaelsmiley) December 17, 2016
Smiley, who has appeared in Ben Wheatley films Kill List and A Field in England as well as TV series ‘Spaced‘ and ‘Luther‘, shared a photo of himself in the make-up room as he was getting into character for the scene, and captioned the picture: “Dr Evazan, I presume”.
He refers to Evazan’s backstory as a doctor. The character had been a cosmetic surgeon before a descent into insanity led him to start practicing “creative surgery” on his patients, horribly disfiguring them. His own face was mutilated in a set-to with a bounty hunter, from which he was rescued by Ponda Baba. After this, the unlikely duo teamed up.
At the point where Evazan encounters a very green Luke Skywalker at the cantina bar, he’s clearly looking for trouble and tells Luke that along with Ponda Baba, the pair of them are wanted men. “I have the death sentence on 12 systems,” he warns.
No stranger to a secret cameo, Smiley (who also played a zombie in Shaun of the Dead) is clearly thrilled at the opportunity to pick up this classic role in the Star Wars saga. With Easter Eggs and hush-hush cameos gradually being revealed, we’re sure it’s just a matter of time before more secret appearances come to light. One half of hip-hop act Rizzle Kicks, Jordan Stephens, has already been exposed as a rebel fighter – perhaps a Ponda Baba exposé will be next…