Deaf Actor Troy Kotsur Helped Form Tusken Raider Sign Language for ‘The Mandalorian‘. Just for safe keeping, this post contains MINOR SPOILERS for the new episode of The Mandalorian. If you wish to avoid any spoilers please stop reading past this point. Thanks!
With promises of more inclusivity by Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, Star Wars fans were delighted to see a form of Sign Language being used by the Tusken Raiders in the first season of The Mandalorian, but the first episode of Season 2 really took the cake, with a primary focus in the story involving the cooperation between the raiders and a local village against a Krayt Dragon that threatened the wellbeing of both groups.
I won’t go much further than that as I don’t want to spoil the entire episode for those who have not had the chance to see it yet, but it’s a good one! (Psst… Go watch it now on Disney+!) That being said, a post went viral online after it was shared that a hearing member of the production team recommended a deaf actor be hired to help develop the sign language used by the Tusken Raiders in Star Wars and that’s where we were introduced to deaf actor Troy Kotsur.
Troy recently interviewed with The Daily Moth and shared about his experience on set and with the production team and how he was first introduced to the Star Wars films a long time ago in a galaxy not so far away. Check out the interview below:
RENCA DUNN (The Daily Moth): You mentioned that you were a Star Wars fan since how old?
TROY KOTSUR: Eight years old! I have been a fan since that age. Remember that in the year of 1977, technology was limited and accessibility for Deaf people were limited, but that Star Wars movie blew my mind. It changed my life. Why? It was like “wet-eyes” – so visual for me. For the first 5 minutes, remember the opening of that movie? The spaceships shooting, the robots, C-3P0 scrambling, and all of that overwhelmed my eyes. I watched it 28 times. I watched the movie “Star Wars: A New Hope” 28 times.
RENCA: Oh wow!
TROY: My hearing parents were probably annoyed, but they were fine with it because they would go food shopping every time and then picked me up when the movie was over.
RENCA: Wow! Well, I am curious of your view on the Star Wars movies from back in the old days and up until today with all the modern technology in the movies. Do you miss the old days with how Star Wars movies were made? Or do you like the modern technology used today?
TROY: Good question. Good question. You would need to ask people like your parents’ age and your grandparents, what the best movie they have seen. I am sure they would say “Gone with the Wind” movie. Because it was the first movie with colors, had a swear word, and other things. So, like that- Star Wars was our first experience of seeing new things that blew my mind. I do wonder what the next generation’s movie “inspiration” would be. I am sure that is your experience too. What do you think?
RENCA: Right, that is true. We have to think about what is the “inspiration” for that specific generation. For me, my perspective, I would say…”Avengers” ?
TROY: Ah yes perhaps!
RENCA: I have seen people talk a lot about “Avengers: Infinity War.”
TROY: I want to emphasize the “wet-eyes” instead of ears because I am Deaf. You know how I feel. It is what you feel with your eyes. So, I do not blame the Deaf community, many of us love Star Wars because of a million reasons. Star Wars has amazing visuals, characters, aliens, light sabers, so colorful, and everything else!
RENCA: You say you were a Star Wars fan since you were eight years old. How do you feel about getting this role with this show?
TROY: Really, it is a blessing! When I was eight years old, I dreamed to be part of Star Wars. Many, many years later, almost 40 years later- it is fate.
RENCA: Kotsur mentioned that when the team got script, it mentioned sign language. One hearing person on the team knows sign language and that person mentioned that a deaf person should consult the sign language and become the role of being a Tusken Raider. Kotsur said that this is a good example for why it is important to have sign language classes for hearing people so they can become our allies for various opportunities out in the world.
“We were curious about how Kotsur developed Tusken Sign Language.”
TROY: I did research on the culture and environment of Tusken Raiders. I researched on the desert called “sand people.” That is what Luke Skywalker calls them “sand people.” Anyway, my goal was to avoid ASL. I made sure it became Tusken Sign Language based on their culture and environment.
RENCA: Kotsur shared what the sign name for Mandalorian is.
TROY: (shows sign for Mandalorian). It’s based on the helmet and the “M” handshape.
RENCA: Is there anything you want to add for our Deaf community who is watching this interview?
TROY: I hope that you keep telling Disney + that you want to see more sign language. I hope that the producers keep an open mind because this is just the beginning.
RENCA: Thank you so much for your time.
TROY: Wait, one more! I want to say “stay with the light!”
RENCA: Haha yes, right!
Watch the full interview between The Daily Moth and Troy Kotsur via video by CLICKING HERE
I want to thank you to all Deaf/HH/ASL students and Fans communities to support Star Wars’ The Mandalorian on Disney Plus! pic.twitter.com/8hDSXbjloN
— Troy Kotsur (@TroyKotsur) December 13, 2019
Be sure to check back here at Chip and Co. for updates and all things Star Wars!
Featured Photo Credit: Lucasfilm
Source: The Daily Moth
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