ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

2016 has already seen far more disturbances in the force than followers of popular culture could have reasonably imagined, but it seems that devoted fans are going to have to brace themselves for yet another: Peter Sumner, one of the stars of , has sadly passed away.

With his portrayal of the (unnamed on screen) Lt. Pol Treidum, Sumner was the only Australian cast member in the original on-screen Star Wars adventure, but will perhaps be best remembered for his oddly iconic line: "TK-421, why aren’t you at your post? TK-421, do you copy?"

For many fans, though, Sumner will be long remembered for far more than an oft-quoted line, or an apparent on-screen death at the hands of . He was, after all, one of the most dutiful and well-respected Star Wars stars around, and was well known for responding to every one of his (thousands of) fan letters. As he told the Sydney Morning Herald last year:

"I was so moved by some of the early letters from kids who were sick and the only thing in their lives was 'Star Wars' that I decided I’d answer every single letter. And I did."

It's all well and good being a fan-favorite actor from Star Wars, after all, but it's far more meaningful to be a decent person. Peter Sumner will surely, then, be fondly remembered by all those who knew him or were touched by his evident generosity — not least by his children, who will at least always have Star Wars to remember him by. As Sumner himself revealed:

"When [Star Wars] was re-released in the '80s, my son was 8 or 9. We took him to see it on the big screen... It was an absolutely packed house. When I came on the screen for my brief appearance, he leapt to his feet and shouted, 'That's my dad.'"

And it always will be.

Sumner was 74, and he will be missed.

Do you have any particularly fond memories of Sumner? Let us know below!

[Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope/Lucasfilm]
[Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope/Lucasfilm]

[Sydney Morning Herald, The AV Club]


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