One might recognize Sam Witwer’s face from his myriad of TV supporting appearances: Raptor pilot Crashdown in Battlestar GalacticaDavis Bloome/Doomsday on SmallvilleIce Truck Killer pretender Neil Perry in Dexterand the zombified tank soldier in the pilot of The Walking Deadand plenty more.
However, Witwer has achieved equal success as a voice actor, especially in Star Wars cartoons and video games. Witwer is a bona fide Star Wars fanboy — during a Clone Wars cast trivia game, he easily triumphed over his co-stars. It makes sense that he keeps coming back to act in the franchise, especially doing impressions of fan-favorite characters.
5 Galen Marek/Starkiller Was Modeled On Witwer
Galen Marek/Starkiller, the anti-hero of Star Wars: The Force Unleashedmight be the first Star Wars role that fans associate with Witwer for a few different reasons. The Force Unleashed was Witwer’s first major Star Wars role. Most importantly, Witwer wasn’t just the voice for Starkiller, but the model; Starkiller literally has Witwer’s face, something his other roles don’t.
The Force Unleashed has been relegated to “Legends,” like other pre-Disney Expanded Universe material. The production crew of Star Wars: Rebels considered reintroducing Starkiller as an inquisitor, but decided against it. They made the right call. The Force Unleashed‘s Starkiller feels like a character out of fan fiction: Darth Vader’s secret apprentice, who walks the line between light and dark, who’s even stronger than his master, and who plays a key role in forging the rebel alliance. Witwer’s other performance also proves he’s better as creepy villains than as action heroes.
4 Witwer Does A Mean Palpatine Impression
No one can beat Ian McDiarmid as Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious. However, not all Star Wars productions are willing to shell out the money needed to cast the Scottish thespian in his most famous role. Of the frequently-used backup actors, Witwer is one of the best. Considering his Star Wars fandom, it shouldn’t be surprising that Witwer had spent years honing his Palpatine impression before he officially played the part in The Force Unleashed (his favorite line is from Return Of The Jedi – “Your feeble skills are no match for the power of the dark side!”)
Witwer even got the chance to add to Palpatine’s characterization, adjusting a line “You will give me the names of your friends, allies…” with an addendum, spoken with lightning speed “and then you will die!” As Witwer correctly noted, Palpatine isn’t just a one-note dark lord; he relise evil. Witwer got to play Palpatine again in The Force Unleashed II, Battlefront II, Jedi: Fallen Order, and Season 2 premiere of Star Wars: Rebels, “The Siege Of Lothal.” For the rest of the latter series, McDiarmid returned to the part and re-dubbed Witwer’s original performance. No one was more thrilled than Witwer himself.
3 Witwer Debuted On The Clone Wars As The Son Of Mortis
Witwer migrated from video games to animation with Star Wars: The Clone Wars. His first major role on the series was as the Son, the antagonist of Season 3’s acclaimed “Mortis” trilogy (“Overlords,” “Altar of Mortis,” and “Ghosts of Mortis”). Mortis itself is ambiguously depicted — it’s implied to not be a physical place of existence, so much as a metaphysical home of the Force. Fitting this, the Son himself is a personification of the Dark Side, just as his sister personifies the Light and their father the Balance.
The Son wins Anakin to his side by showing him what he will become and offering him a way to prevent it. While the Son meets his end, one can never truly destroy the Dark Side of the Force. The Son never returned outside of his initial appearances, but Witwer’s first turn on The Clone Wars helped him earn an even bigger role down the line.
2 Witwer Has Helped Redefine Darth Maul
If there’s one character in Witwer’s Star Wars filmography who eclipsed Starkiller, it’s Darth Maul. Witwer has voiced the character since his return in The Clone Wars Season 4 — his performance is a big part of what turned Maul from “cool design, forgettable character” into one of the greatest Star Wars villains. Since Maul only had three lines in The Phantom Menace proper, Witwer consulted an early teaser focused on Maul (“Fear. Fear attracts the fearful, the strong, the weak, the innocent, the corrupt. Fear. Fear is my ally”).
He was also careful not to play Maul as a one-note villain, but as a tormented soul who’d lost everything and yearned with all his heart for revenge – even he was going to be careful about it. Maul also shows genuine concern for his brother Savage and, upon his return in Rebels, his self-proclaimed apprentice Ezra Bridger. In the ultimate testament to Witwer’s performance, both he and original Maul voice actor Peter Serafinowicz recorded dialogue for the villain’s cameo in Sol; Witwer’s performance was the one used in the final cut.
1 Hugh Sion Is Unlike The Villains Witwer Has Played
Sam Witwer’s latest Star Wars role is also easily the odd one out compared to his previous ones. In the animated series Star Wars: Resistance, he plays Hugh Sion. Hugh is not an impossibly cool action hero like Starkiller, a diabolical mastermind like Palpatine, or a pained tragic villain like Maul. Instead, Hugh is a plucky fighter pilot in the Resistance, and not too dissimilar from Star Wars‘ classic hero, Luke Skywalker himself.
Hugh also recalls Witwer’s role on Battlestar Galactica, though with a much less tragic end. As with Starkiller and (to a lesser extent) the Son, Witwer gets to use his natural voice with Hugh, as opposed to anchoring himself to others’ performances like with Palpatine and Maul.
NEXT: 10 Episodes Of Resistance Every Star Wars Fan Should Watch
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