The Big Star Wars Controversy Surrounding Fan Favorite Stormtrooper TR-8R
UPDATE - 01/07/16 06:07 pm
We now know that TR-8R's canon First Order designation is actually FN-2199.
"Traitor!" It's not much of a line, but its delivery and the subsequent melee that followed it has helped Stormtrooper TR-8R become a runaway hit with fans of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Despite TR-8R's popularity, a great deal of mystery surrounded the character, and more importantly, who was inside his suit.
While we know that James Bond actor Daniel Craig cameoed as a slightly less bad-ass trooper, the identity of the actor playing TR-8R has, over the last day or so, become something of a controversy. Yesterday, numerous media outlets started reporting that they had discovered the identity of everyone's new favorite Stormtrooper. Alex Rolt, an aspiring young actor from the UK was held up by countless outlets as the man behind the mask of TR-8R, and he humbly accepted the outpouring of praise he subsequently received on social media. Rolt claimed that he was chosen out of 7,000 other candidates because he had extensive training experience, bashfully stating that he wasn't sure his scenes would actually make the cut. Even Peter Mayhew saluted Rolt's work...
So, what's the big deal? Well, the problem is, it's all a big fat stinking lie. Just hours after all the hubbub broke, the story started to crumble. It soon turned out that Rolt wasn't the man in TR-8R's suit, and he'd just been going along with the false praise in an attempt to launch his fledgling acting career.
Weeks earlier, John Boyega and Daisy Ridley actually confirmed TR-8R's in an interview with Piki's Eric Nam. Check out the video below and skip to 14:40 to hear the moment that they reveal the actor's identity.
So it turns out that TR-8R wasn't played by a young English wannabe, and was instead played by a highly trained martial arts coordinator known as Liang.
Why did Rolt go along with the story and take claim for another actor's work? A Reddit user who knows the man spoke out, saying that Rolt is a compulsive liar who saw the buzz around TR-8R and jumped on in it in an attempt to score an actual acting job (his previous work was limited to commercials and short films) and win the praise of fans. Unfortunately for Rolt, who incidentally has now owned up to his lies via social media accounts that are now deleted, it looks like he'll be finding acting jobs incredibly hard to come by in the future.