Chris Bartlett: acting in The Mandalorian

Christ Bartlett
(Image: Chris Bartlett)

Fans can see Chris Bartlett as Zero in Chapter 6, “The Prisoner.” Though he didn’t end up voicing the character, it was Bartlett’s extensive experience as a droid actor that physically brought the nuanced character to life. That talent for nuance led to producers casting the talented actor in multiple, other roles, including a Zero-esque bounty hunter in Chapter 3, and two other, original trilogy throwback roles, as well: the Kubaz ferryman in the very first chapter, and an RA-7 (Imperial) protocol droid in The Mandalorian’s seventh chapter. (That, of course, is when we get to meet Moff Gideon.) When asked what it was like to play such iconic-looking characters, Bartlett replied:

[The ferryman] was the second character that I had seen, but the first one that I was like, ‘wow, fans are really going to realize how much Jon and Dave, Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni loved what you would you call the obscure characters of star Wars. You know, because they’ve watched it a million times, just like us.”

The show’s attention to detail doesn’t end with its characters, however. Chris Bartlett excitedly discussed what went into filming the show, and how immersive and real the experience was for the actor. That included filming in what Chapter 5 director Bryce Dallas Howard once likened to a Star Trek holodeck. He went on to describe filming the ferryman scene:

“It felt like everything slowed down to super slow motion…”

… because as I’m walking up and stepping up onto the pier. And my boot steps on what looks and feels like real snow, and there’s water and wood, old beaten up wood and the wind is blowing and there’s snow and everything. And I thought ‘this is what I always hoped for, what I always dreamed of.’”

Chris Bartlett
Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.

The experience “flying” the Razor Crest as Zero felt every bit as real, too:

It’s the most real thing you could imagine. When I’m in the cockpit as Zero and I say ‘jumping to hyperspace’ now all of a sudden all around me in what looks like 360 degrees hyperspace stars, you know, stretch to infinity.”

What’s next for Chris Bartlett

Of course we couldn’t let Bartlett go without asking what’s next, and if we’d see him in The Mandalorian again. (Droids do have a tendency to return in The Mandalorian, after all.) Bartlett was coy, and expectedly wouldn’t divulge any spoilers. He did, however, assure us that Season 2 would be as exciting as the first:

I love star Wars, love portraying these characters. I have for a nearly 14 years. And I hope I’ll be able to do it forever. I’m very excited for the fall coming up, what has been announced and, I’m really excited to see the characters as much as I think you will be.”

On the possibility of ever stepping into Anthony’s Daniels’ shoes as C-3PO permanently, as Joonas Suotamo did for the late Peter Mayhew, Chris Bartlett was nothing but reverent and deferential:

The truth is, I’d be so honored to work with Anthony to follow in his footsteps to bring the curiosity and fun of his beloved Threepio to the world on the big screen. But out of my deference to Anthony’s work, and his place in cinematic history, I’d rather not think about him retiring sooner than need be. Let’s watch his distinguished work and enjoy that for now. He’s given us so much.”

Thank you!

Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.

We’d like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Chris Bartlett for taking the time to talk to us and provide such great insight into the world of Star Wars. To learn more about Chris, you can follow him on Facebook and Instagram at @ChrisFBartlett. (And if you missed last night’s episode of Lego Masters, the episode is also now available on Hulu.)