Star Wars The Mandalorian: Giancarlo Esposito Talks About Playing an Imperial Villain of Color

Giancarlo Esposito is talking about the experience of playing an Imperial villain of color on Star Wars: The Mandalorian. Moff Gideon was playing for keeps near the end of the first season on Disney+. Once he pulled that Darksaber out in the aftermath of that impressive action sequence with Mando, fans were curious about what was coming next. But, when it comes to bad guys in the iconic franchise, Esposito occupies rarified air, as the sparsely represented villain played by a person of color. The Mandalorian star talked to IndieWire about the experience and how this characterization differs from all of his roles before. Some fans may not be aware that the actor is mixed race, and that experience colors his performance as well.

“Well, it means a lot to me because I’ve strived in my career to be colorless,” he explained to IndieWire. “I am of mixed race, half Italian, half African American, and I grew through the period of time where I was relegated to playing thieves and thugs. I learned how to do a Spanish accent, to play Spanish street characters, who were murderers, killers, robbers, the like. So for me, it’s a crowning moment when I could get a phone call from Jon Favreau, to say, ‘I wrote a role for you.'”

It’s been such a ride for the star as he secured an Emmy nomination for his work as Gideon on the show. He also told Entertainment Tonight that there were more surprises to come in Season 2 of the highly-anticipated Disney+ series. Anyone looking for some more Darksaber action should look no further because it’s coming in the fall.

"To be in the position of having that regal, graceful power but have this saber which delineates a different part of me than any other character," Esposito said this summer. "To have this saber means I can use it, and I can do my own dirty work, that I'm a fighter, that I'm a warrior. That's part of me. It also creates the possibility that he is one of the ones. He possibly has that, and that to me is interesting because is he really that fallen hero? Is he a descendant of Darth Vader. Who is he? What does he want? He knows all about everything, and you'll have to wait to find out. Yeah, he's actually pretty good with that Darksaber too."

How do you think Moff Gideon will factor into Season 2? Who is your favorite Star Wars villain? Let us know down in the comments!