Few actors create a more convincing villain than Giancarlo Esposito, so portraying the evil leader of the Galactic Empire was made easy by “The Mandalorian.” His performance on the Disney+ series didn’t go smoothly, however: Esposito had to compensate for his inability to wield a lightsaber without breaking it.
Appear “The Kelly Clarkson Show” This week, Esposito explained that he was constantly breaking lightsabers while filming “The Mandalorian” Season 3. The problem became so bad that the show’s prop department had to warn that they were running out of stock.
“I broke six lightsabers,” Esposito said. “On the fifth, the prop comes to me and sweats because he doesn’t tell anyone that I’m going to crush them.” It just pushes them away. He comes up to me and says, “I just want you to know, there’s one more. You have to be careful.’ Because he wants to push his chances. You have to be very careful, but it has to look good. We survived and I got a great, great, great scene and I learned a lot.”
Fortunately, the last lightsaber made it through and Esposito was able to finish the Season 3 storyline as Moff Gideon. Many saw the series finale as a farewell to his character (to the extent that someone actually left the “Star Wars” universe). But even if it means goodbye, Esposito has always been open about how much it meant to play a shade of “Star Wars” villain who wasn’t white.
“It means a lot to me because I’ve tried to be colorless throughout my career,” he told IndieWire. “I’m mixed race, half Italian, half African American, and I grew up playing thieves and gangsters. I learned to play Spanish accents, Spanish street characters who were killers, killers, robbers and stuff like that. So for me, it’s a crowning moment when I got a phone call from Jon Favreau and said, ‘I’ve written a role for you.’