So... have you seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet? Judging from the movie's global box office take, I'm guessing most of you have. That said, there might be things in this post that some might consider spoilers.
One of the surprise hit characters that has emerged from The Force Awakens is FN-2199, the badass Stormtrooper who wields that crazy baton against Finn during the attack on Maz's Castle. Affectionately dubbed "TR-8R" by fans for his single line of dialogue ("Traitor!"), the character has inspired a tide of memes.
Meet FN-2199, a.k.a. TR-8R: The Stormtrooper Behind the Meme
The Star Wars book Before the Awakening by Greg Rucka reveals some more backstory about the Stormtrooper. Nicknamed "Nines," he trained and served on a squad with Finn in the First Order, prior to the events of the film. It certainly offers context to why this guy particularly has it out for Finn.
I bring this all up because it turns out there's an Asian guy under that bucket head.
Like Darth Vader and Boba Fett, the character's voice and physical performance were provided by two different people. Underneath that armor, FN-2199 is played by Liang Yang, a veteran stunt performer whose credits include Kingsman: The Secret Service, Edge of Tomorrow, World War Z, Skyfall, Game of Thrones and tons more. His voice -- and that single memorable line -- is provided by sound editor David Acord.
But let's face it, the reason we're talking about this Stormtrooper is because Mr. Yang spun the hell out of that baton. I've added FN-2199 to the list of All of the Asians in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Here's where it gets weird.
In the initial wake of popularity around the character, a fool-ass 23-year-old unknown actor named Alex Rolt claimed on Twitter that he played the unnamed Stormtrooper who took on Finn in The Force Awakens. He fondly recalled shooting the scene, praising star John Boyega as a "top guy."
In an interview with his local paper, Crawley News, Rolt said that he was initially cast as one of the Knights of Ren, and then was selected to face off in the scene against Boyega because of his fencing experience. He gave an account of learning fight choreography, rehearsals, all that shit.
He became an internet sensation -- TR-R8 unmasked! Except that Rolt is a liar.
Rolt's ruse was outed when it was revealed that he was merely a background extra on The Force Awakens. Lucasfilm officially confirmed that Liang Yang was the man under the mask. Gotcha, sucka.
On Thursday, Rolt confessed on Twitter that he lied about the role, claiming it was "a joke that got out of hand."
Rolt has since deleted his Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts.
If you think about it, this is a guy who (inadvertently) attempted to retroactively whitewash a role that was performed by Asian actor under a mask. Isn't that some kind of bullshit? You kind of have to marvel at the idiotic gall it requires to publicly take credit for something like this and somehow think you can get away with it.
Anyway, all props to Liang Yang and FN-2199. Maybe we see him again in a galaxy far, far away.
More here: Behind the Mask of FN-2199 - the Meme-ified Stormtrooper Known as "TR-8R"