When the first Star Wars film premiered, no one predicted it would become the phenomenon that it is today. But after decades spent generating movies, toys, and even theme park roller coasters, the sci-fi franchise has taken the world by storm. It’s safe to say that nearly everyone has seen the first six films.
Yet it’s crazy to think that the franchise’s first installment, A New Hope, was released over 40 years ago back in 1977. Once you see the series’ beloved actors when they first came on the scene compared to where they are today, your mind just might explode faster than the Death Star…
1. C-3PO: The highly intelligent droid was portrayed by Anthony Daniels, who turned the skinny, talkative golden robot into the perfect companion for R2-D2. Daniels has continued to reprise the role of C-3PO in nearly every Star Wars installment, including the sequel trilogy.
The Guardian / NetflixMovies
2. Obi-Wan Kenobi: Alec Guinness earned an Academy Award nomination for his role as Obi-Wan, who was known as “Ben Kenobi” until he revealed to Luke that he was secretly a Jedi master. Guinness died in 2000 at the age of 86, but his legacy within the Star Wars universe will live on forever.
3. Lando Calrissian: Billy Dee Williams first appeared as Han Solo’s old friend Lando in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back. Williams appeared on the 18th season of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars and voiced the character Two-Face in The Lego Batman Movie before reprising Lando in Rise of Skywalker.
4. Count Dooku: This menacing Sith lord was portrayed by Sir Christopher Lee, who passed away in 2015. The venerated English actor was known for playing a number of iconic roles during his 70-year career, including Francisco Scaramanga in the 007 film The Man with the Golden Gun and Saruman in The Lord of the Rings universe.
Star Wars Wiki / Digital Spy
5. Obi-Wan Kenobi: Though the character was played by Guinness in the original trilogy, it was Ewan McGregor who portrayed the younger version of the character in the prequels. Since then, McGregor has been featured heavily in Disney films, voicing Lumiere in 2017’s Beauty and the Beast and playing the title character in 2018’s Christopher Robin.
Nerdist / Vulture
6. R2-D2: Kenny Baker, who died in 2016, was the body behind R2-D2 in both the original trilogy and the prequels. In The Force Awakens, Baker was credited as “R2-D2 consultant” while Jimmy Vee – who also served as the character’s body in Rogue One – was the man inside the machine.
7. Luke Skywalker: Mark Hamill had a star-making role as Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars trilogy, which he reprised in Episode VII and Episode VIII. Hamill has since made appearances in a number of TV series, all the while preparing for another stint as Skywalker in 2019’s Episode IX.
8. Yoda: Frank Oz was the voice behind Yoda in each of the character’s appearances, as well as the puppeteer behind the Jedi master in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Also known for voicing beloved Muppet characters like Bert and Cookie Monster, Oz has since stepped away from Sesame Street, though he continues to lend his voice to Yoda.
Pinterest / Los Angeles Magazine
9. Darth Vader: James Earl Jones is the powerful voice behind Darth Vader, known in some circles as the greatest movie villain of all time. Jones has since reprised the role in 2016’s Rogue One, and fans of his work as Mufasa in The Lion King will be happy to know he’s lending his voice to the 2019 remake.
Vanity Fair / Good Housekeeping
10. Anakin Skywalker: The man who would become Darth Vader was played by Hayden Christensen in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Though his days of living in a galaxy far, far away are over, Christensen continues to make a name for himself on the indie-movie scene.
11. Han Solo: Harrison Ford made Han Solo one of the most memorable characters of the original Star Wars trilogy, and he even reprised the role in The Force Awakens in 2015. Ford continues to be a box-office draw and is even set to star as Indiana Jones – another of his iconic roles – in a 2021 film.
12. Emperor Palpatine: Also known as Darth Sidious, the Sith leader was portrayed by Ian McDiarmid in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, as well as throughout the entire prequel trilogy. After reprising the role in a number of 2018 Star Wars Rebels episodes, it appears that the 74-year-old’s talents are still in high demand.
13. Owen Lars: Joel Edgerton played a younger version of Luke Skywalker’s Uncle Owen in Episode II. This was a small role for sure, but the Aussie actor has since starred in and directed a number of films, the most recent being 2018’s Boy Erased.
The Star Wars Underworld / Wikipedia
14. Padmé Amidala: Natalie Portman portrayed Queen Amidala throughout the prequel trilogy, falling in love with Anakin Skywalker only to have her heart broken by his turn to the dark side. Portman has since been in high demand in Hollywood, starring in both the sci-fi thriller Annihilation and the musical drama Vox Lux in 2018 alone.
15. Darth Vader: James Earl Jones may have provided Darth Vader’s voice, but it was David Prowse who provided the Sith lord’s body. Prowse announced his retirement from public appearances in 2016, but the former bodybuilder will forever be known as the man behind one of history’s most iconic masks.
Critical Shots / Bucks Free Press
16. Anakin Skywalker: Jake Lloyd played the nine-year-old version of Anakin in The Phantom Menace, though he retired from acting shortly after. Sadly, Lloyd was arrested in 2015 on a number of reckless driving charges and was later placed in a psychiatric facility after being diagnosed with schizophrenia.
17. Bren Derlin: John Ratzenberger played Major Bren Derlin in Episode V, but the actor is best known for voicing Hamm in the Toy Story franchise, a role he will reprise in 2019’s Toy Story 4.
Wookiepedia / Biggest Movie Box
18. Bail Organa: Jimmy Smits played Senator Bail Organa (Princess Leia’s adoptive father) in Episode II and Episode III. He reprised his role for Rogue One in 2016 and currently has a recurring role on the ABC drama How to Get Away with Murder.
Rebel Legion / Pinterest
19. Wicket: The ewok that aided the Rebel Alliance in the Battle of Endor was played by Warwick Davis, who is also known for his appearances as Professor Filius Flitwick in the Harry Potter universe. Davis has since returned to the galaxy far, far away, playing Weazel in 2018’s Solo.
Wookiepedia / The Leaky Cauldron
20. Qui-Gon Jinn: Liam Neeson starred as Jedi master Qui-Gon Jinn, who served as young Obi-Wan Kenobi’s mentor before being killed by Darth Maul in Episode I. Neeson continues to be a mainstay of Hollywood action films, starring in The Commuter in 2018 as well as an upcoming Men in Black spinoff.
StarWars.com / The Source
21. Chewbacca: Peter Mayhew played Chewbacca, the lovable Wookiee who served as Han Solo’s friend and right-hand man in all of his appearances up until Rogue One. Following his retirement from the role in 2015, Finnish actor and former basketball player Joonas Suotamo has since taken up the mantle.
22. Chancellor Valorum: Terrence Stamp played Chancellor Valorum, the final legitimate Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic before Palpatine turned it into an empire. The 80-year-old English actor is still as intimidating as ever, starring as Odin in the 2018 fantasy action film Viking Destiny.
Reddit / BFI
23. Mace Windu: Played by Samuel L. Jackson, Mace Windu was a Jedi master as well as the Master of the High Council in the prequel trilogy. Despite a number of blockbuster appearances under his belt, Jackson is now mostly known for his recurring role as Nick Fury in the Marvel universe.
Wookiepedia / Variety
24. Dormé: A relatively small role played by Rose Byrne, Dormé served as Queen Padme Amidala’s handmaiden in Episode II. These days, the actress can usually be found starring in comedy films, her most recent project being Instant Family opposite Mark Wahlberg.
Wookiepedia / HawtCelebs
25. Princess Leia: The princess of Alderaan was played by Carrie Fisher, who sadly passed away in 2016. Even though she has since left this world, her body of work, and the struggles in life she overcame continue to influence and inspire people…
Heroes Wiki / Entertainment Weekly
Carrie Fisher was outspoken about her struggles with mental health and addiction. She chronicled her bipolar disorder and drug addiction in depth in her memoir, Wishful Drinking. She said, “It is a kind of a virus of the brain.”
2. Fisher had to act out many of her scenes in Star Wars with Harrison Ford while standing on top of a box. That’s because, at 5’1″, she was roughly a foot shorter than he was and the framing would have been off otherwise.
20th Century Fox
3. Fisher joked about drinking on the set of The Empire Strikes Back. She said, “Mark Hamill was off on Dagobah while Harrison Ford and I were were getting drunk in Cloud City.”
4. Fisher found it difficult to verbally spar with Peter Cushing, who played Grand Moff Tarkin in A New Hope. He was so nice to her on set that being fierce with him when cameras were rolling didn’t jive with her.
20th Century Fox
5. Carrie Fisher was the daughter of famous actors and singers Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher. Her parents got divorced when she was just two, and it was later revealed that Eddie left Debbie to be with Elizabeth Taylor.
6. Like mother Debbie, who starred in Singin’ In The Rain, Carrie Fisher became famous at the age of 19 while starring alongside two male actors. She went on to make note of this coincidence in her 2008 memoir, Wishful Drinking.
7. In all the time she spent on the sets of Star Wars, her favorite moments were during her scenes where she was arguing with Harrison Ford. No surprise, since Fisher revealed they had an affair while filming.
20th Century Fox
8. Fisher wasn’t allowed to wear any underwear under her Princess Leia costume, and she had to have her breasts taped down with gaffer tape for the films. She once joked, “As we all know, there is no underwear in space.”
9. Fisher became engaged to comedian/actor Dan Ackroyd after he gave her the Heimlich while she choked on a Brussels sprout. “He saved my life, and then he asked me to marry him. And I thought… wow, what if that happens again? I should probably marry him.” She didn’t go through with the marriage though.
10. She was a successful movie script re-writer, renowned for her talent at polishing film dialogue. She’s credited with having worked on the scripts for some of the Star Wars prequels, as well as The Wedding Singer, The River Wild, Hook, and Sister Act.
11. Fisher revealed in her memoir Wishful Drinking that she had previously had a relationship with U.S. Senator Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut). Once, when questioned about it, he said, “it was a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.”
James Atherton/Bill Snead/The Washington Post
12. Carrie Fisher hated those iconic “Leia Buns.” For fear of being fired, however, she neglected to ever mention that to director George Lucas.
13. Surprisingly, the budget for A New Hope was so low that Fisher and the crew had to fly to England in economy class. The studio didn’t have enough faith in the project to give it a budget of more than 11 million dollars — a relatively paltry amount.
14. The pop-punk rock band Blink-182 once paid homage to Fisher by immortalizing her in their song “A New Hope.” In both the song and in real life, she was said to be lead singer Tom Delonge’s dream woman.
15. Fisher’s first-ever film role came in the 1975 film Shampoo, where she starred alongside Warren Beatty and Goldie Hawn. Landing this particular role only served to further her interest in making a career out of acting.
16. Fisher had said that she was inspired by her mother to pursue her dream of acting. She even dropped out of high school to pursue it as a career.
17. The Star Wars trilogy isn’t the only set of films where Fisher co-starred alongside actor Mark Hamill. Both appeared in Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, even though neither of them were aware the other would be starring!
18. Fisher was a fan of the arts from an early age. At 15, while attending Beverly Hills High School, she appeared in the Broadway show Irene as a debutante singer. The show also, coincidentally, had starred her mother, Debbie Reynolds.
Ron Galella / WireImage
19. Since Fisher had been an animal lover from an early age, her French Bulldog, Gary, accompanied her practically everywhere she went. As her “comfort dog,” he sat on the couches while she was interviewed for talk shows and press releases.
Lou Rocco / ABC
20. Fisher had her only child, Billie Lourd, with famed film agent Bryan Lourd. Billie made a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo alongside her mother in Star Wars: The Force Awakens as Lieutenant Connix.
21. Though Fisher didn’t continue school after starring as Princess Leia in the Star Wars films, she did previously attend Central School of Speech and Drama in London, England.
Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
22. Fisher knew from an early age that she was destined to be an actress. In fact, it’s all she ever wanted to do. “I always wanted to do what my mother did — get all dressed up, shoot people, fall in the mud. I never considered anything else,” she said in an interview.
23. Though she was a wildly successful and popular actress for several decades, it wasn’t until 2003 that she made her first European autograph signing appearance. The event took place in a hotel library in London and was limited to 500 fans.
24. Fisher understood the dark underbelly of show business. She once said, “Acting engenders and harbors qualities that are best left way behind in adolescence. People-pleasing, going on those interviews and jamming your whole personality into getting the job, ingratiating yourself to people you wouldn’t spit on if they were on fire.”
25. Fisher beat out many now-famous actresses to land the role of Princess Leia. These included such icons as Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver, Kim Basinger, Anjelica Huston, Farrah Fawcett, Glenn Close, and Jessica Lange, to name a few. Naturally, fans have strong opinions about the best portrayals of these characters.
Although Star Wars fans knew that iconic characters like Chewbacca and Han Solo weren’t real, they can’t help but feel possessive of them. When the integrity of these characters was in doubt, these “Warsies” always went to one man.
That would be George Lucas. As the creator of the Star Wars universe, he established himself as the ultimate authority on every film, video game, and action figure in the franchise. Still, George proved to be a surprisingly polarizing figure.
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Lucas drew criticism for his constant tinkering with the canon of his films. In A New Hope, he eyed Han’s introductory scene, where the smuggler shoots bounty hunter Greedo without provocation. Undermining his ruthlessness, George re-edited the scene in 1977 to make it appear that the bad guy was about to kill Han.
The filmmaker also gained a reputation for his overly convenient explanations of plot points. Infamously, he revealed in the prequels that the mysterious Force came down to whether an individual had microscopic Midi-chlorians in their body. It could be determined by a simple blood test!
But it wasn’t until 2019 that Lucas addressed arguably the biggest inconsistency in the entire series. It had to do with the treatment of Chewbacca, the heroic Wookiee who’s appeared in most of the films. Many thought George disrespected him.
Even the greenest Star Wars viewer would know that Chewbacca plays a key role in destroying the Death Star in the original film. Some might even say that he risked more than any other of the main characters.
After all, while Han and Luke Skywalker posed as Stormtroopers, Chewie endured getting paraded around as their prisoner. He put up with physical and verbal abuse for the sake of the mission and ended up getting the short end of the stick — or lightsaber.
The final scene presented the main heroes standing proudly at a rebel celebration. They each receive medals, which is a nice touch. But upon closer inspection, fans were horrified to notice that Chewbacca didn’t get one!
How could George Lucas and his team be so cruel? Warsies pointed out that Chewbacca was a favorite character. It wasn’t like he was Jar Jar Binks, whom everyone was grateful to see moved out of the main storyline.
There is also the fact that Chewie was a very personal character for George. His dog Indiana provided the initial spark of inspiration for the character, so it seemed strange that the creator would shove him aside.
Denver Art Museum
Original Chewie actor Peter Mayhew met tons of sci-fi buffs outraged by this slight, but he had a pretty reasonable take on the matter. He theorized that because Carrie Fisher wasn’t tall enough to place a medal around his neck, they just skipped him.
After all, the first Star Wars installment had a relatively low $11 million budget. Relying on practical effects for space sequences and the famous opening crawl, producers very well could have saved a few bucks by not buying Chewbacca a medal.
However, Lucas rarely admitted that any story detail came down to production finances. He instead suggested that a cultural ideology propelled their decision to not have Chewbacca wear a medal. This explanation really divided fans.
The filmmaker explained, “Chewbacca wasn’t given a medal because medals don’t really mean much to Wookiees. They don’t really put too much credence in them.” He went on to assure viewers that the Wookiees held their own offscreen celebration shortly afterward.
A Marvel comic book, simply titled Chewbacca, sort of corroborated Lucas’ reasoning. Its story had the Wookiee adventuring and bonding with a girl named Zarro. At one point, he gave her a shiny rebellion medal, and Chewie certainly didn’t seem too attached to it.
With Star Wars devotees being such a passionate bunch, George’s official explanation didn’t exactly end the great Chewbacca-medal debate. A few people have gone really out of their way to correct this injustice.
For one thing, a number of convention attendees recreated the scene to include the Wookiee receiving his gleaming reward. But they weren’t the only ones to do so. Big-name talents also stepped up in this regard.
At the 1997 MTV Movie Awards, Chewbacca received a Lifetime Achievement Award. That was cool enough, but the crowd went nuts when none other than Carrie Fisher presented it to him — in the form of a huge gold medallion, no less.
Many still prefer to think of this stunt as part of the official Star Wars saga. Wasn’t it high time everyone’s favorite furry hero got the love that he deserved? Fans will do anything to get closer to these characters, and now they can get closer than ever.
With the latest batch of Star Wars films, the galaxy far, far away is at peak popularity. Fans want nothing more than to throw themselves right into the story alongside their favorite heroes and villains. Thanks to Disney, that fantasy will soon be a reality.
In 2015, Disney announced plans for a Star Wars theme park. Versions would open in both Orlando and Anaheim locations, featuring an unprecedented level of immersion. That’s what the entertainment giant claimed, anyway.
They were so tight-lipped on the exact details of experience for the next couple years you’d think they were guarding the actual Death Star plans. Once concept art and ride descriptions started to emerge, however, this idea seemed like it could really take off.
Disney Imagineer Scott Trowbridge, the supervisor of the project, shared that the park would be called Galaxy’s Edge. It would introduce a completely original Star Wars setting: Black Spire Outpost.
Anticipation soared as construction on the 14-acre site got underway. There was a lot to do before the park’s August 2019 opening, but even then, some Star Wars nerds couldn’t wait. They demanded a sneak peek.
Disney obliged, releasing more concept art and behind-the-scenes photos of full-scale Imperial AT-AT walkers. A few fans, however, couldn’t help but get a closer look. There were fences all over the perimeter of the site, but maybe that wouldn’t be a problem.
Disneyland Resort Public Affairs
One Twitter user took his drone out for a spin and snapped photos of the sprawling Disney complex. Though the images very much showed a work in progress, Galaxy’s Edge already had enough intricacies built in to confirm rumors about the park.
Twitter / bioreconstruct
For instance, even the most casual Star Wars watcher will recognize the Millennium Falcon parked in a spaceport. The ship isn’t just there for show, apparently. It serves as the centerpiece for one of the park’s main rides.
Twitter / bioreconstruct
The interactive journey will make visitors feel like they’re right in the middle of their favorite movie moments. They will be tasked with flying the Falcon on a simulated mission, in which the ship will directly respond to their performance.
If enemy vessels shoot them up, for instance, the Falcon’s painstakingly detailed interior will appear battered at the conclusion of the ride. The high-tech experience also puts fans face-to-face with intergalactic creatures.
While waiting to board the Millennium Falcon, riders will meet Hondo Ohnaka — or at least a robotic version of him. The alien pirate is the second-most complicated animatronic Disney’s ever developed, after Avatar’s Shaman of Songs.
YouTube / Orlando Informer
Photos alone can’t sum up the full rush of the Falcon ride. Based on the range of aerial shots, that’s not the only attraction that has fans chomping at the bit either.
Disney claimed they designed the park sightlines to prevent visitors from seeing anything from the real world. They’re also making good on that promise by filling the space with Star Wars goodies. Take a look at this hanger, for starters.
This space, plus many others, will feature life-size ships that blend in seamlessly for the environment. If there is an X-Wing Fighter, for instance, Disney employees dressed as members of The Resistance will emerge periodically and perform “maintenance.”
Like any other Disney site, guests won’t go home hungry. The flagship of their Star Wars hospitality will be Oga’s Cantina. This restaurant will show off the weird aliens and funky music that made fans fall in love with the original film.
Naturally, the Cantina boasts an impressive menu of galactic fare. In a rare move for Disney, they’re offering alcoholic beverages in the form of deep-space cocktails. No visit will be complete without a refreshing Carbon Freeze or Jabba Juice.
Disney has also assured shoppers that they will not leave disappointed. Black Spire Outpost, as isolated in the galaxy as it is, contains stores like the droid depot. Guests can buy their own robots, which will interact with the park around them!
These photos, both official and leaked, escalated fan excitement to an all-time high. It’s quite possible that the popularity of this theme park could overshadow that of any of the actual films.
Because Galaxy’s Edge is a living, breathing experience, Scott and the other Imagineers can continually improve upon their work. Just like our galaxy, this theme park will just keep expanding.
YouTube / Orlando Informer
In fact, the biggest source of entertainment in the Star Wars park might be the visitors’ interaction with characters. They’ll likely take a cue from the Disneyland stormtroopers, who are trained to march in formation behind any kids dressed as Darth Vader or Kylo Ren.
As a matter of fact, all Disney park characters love interacting with park guests. It’s what makes the Disneyland experience so magical! Gaston, for instance, rebuked the idea of marriage — he had another lady on his mind!
Donald Duck’s nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie always get into trouble, which is probably why Donald is so protective of these actual ducks. On the other hand, maybe he’s chasing them out of the park because they didn’t buy tickets.
You want to dress comfortably when you’re out and about in the Disney heat, but make sure you don’t wear anything that could lead to an awkward situation. Minnie surely loves all kinds of music, but even she doesn’t need to see a shirt covered in mouse skulls.
Disney is where dreams come true…unless another tourist gets in your way. This poor man realized he was blocking a photo session of a surprise proposal, but it was already too late. On the bright side, he gave the couple a goofy photo they would never forget.
Reddit / SpnkyHappy
Did Woody and Jessie get caught sleeping on the job? Not quite. If you shout “Andy’s coming!” at the Toy Story characters in Disney, they will instantly drop to the ground and pretend to be inanimate.
Dean Norris is best known for playing tough guys, so it’s nice to see him embracing his inner princess. The Breaking Bad actor shared this photo via Twitter and joked that he was auditioning to be the eighth dwarf. That actually sounds like a movie worth seeing!
The internet is filled with wacky photos from the top of Splash Mountain, but this one takes the (urinal) cake. These friends expertly posed as if the camera caught them during their morning bathroom routine. That’s a lot of props to carry around on vacation, but it was definitely worth it.
Beware of dog! Goofy was probably just palling around with this toddler, though this picture makes it look like he’s getting ready to swallow the kid whole! Either way, we can only hope Goofy remembered to chew a breath mint before picking up the kid.
Tigger loves attention, so much so that he won’t let anyone else’s face appear in a group photo. Hopefully, he’ll someday learn that the Hundred Acre Wood is large enough for more than one big personality.
Most kids are thrilled to meet their favorite Disney characters, but this girl can’t wait for Sleeping Beauty to beat it. Maybe she could’ve been a better sport, but then again, the princess shouldn’t be interrupting strangers’ breakfasts first thing in the morning.
Everybody knows Gaston failed to woo Belle, but here he is striking out for a second time. Even for cartoons, Tinder dates can go off the rails. Maybe he shouldn’t have turned down that engagement ring from earlier!
We’re all used to seeing Hollywood love triangles in the tabloids, but this takes it to the next level! We expect this kind of behavior from Donald Duck, but from Goofy? It’s almost enough to break your heart.
Don’t worry — no horrific accident occurred here. One Disney guest just saw a golden opportunity to pay homage to cartoon classics by placing his head under this vault. Though he wasn’t in any danger here, we can only hope that no nauseous visitors got sick on that walkway earlier in the day.
Disney World is full of surprises! Case in point: Cristina was over the moon once she finished her Disney race, but then her boyfriend topped that by proposing! However, one of their fellow racegoers looks like she was even more blown away than Cristina.
You can’t beat dad humor! Where other people would’ve just seen a magic lamp decoration, this father recognized a prime photo opportunity. Coincidentally, this picture depicts exactly how you feel after eating your way through every country in Epcot.
Every kid dreams of going to Disneyland, but there can be too much of a good thing. This little girl couldn’t even keep up the energy for a nice family photo. Somebody get that tired kid some sugar, STAT!
They say that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. However, the guys in the Chip and Dale costumes appear to be enjoying their jobs a little bit too much here. Don’t they know it’s rude to stare, especially when you’re wearing a mask with giant eyeballs?
It turns out that Disney characters aren’t happy to see everybody. For this Little Mermaid, spotting her arch-nemesis Ursula on a guest’s shirt was enough to take her voice away. Awkward moments like this happen even under the sea.
Every parent who brings their kids to Disney deserves a medal, but this dad clinched first place! When his daughter dressed as Ariel for the day, he did the right thing and cosplayed as the great King Triton. He really earned that crown!
Would you get excited if we told you that a celebrity was making eyes at you from across the room? What if we told you that the celebrity was Mickey Mouse? It has to be hard to resist his charms, especially when he’s wearing his finest gloves and bowtie.