The political themes in #StarWars may be prolific, but that doesn't mean they're always obvious.
#RogueOne is set to feature some all-new aliens, and some of them actually look a little familiar. Special effects artist Neal Scanlan, who worked on both The Force Awakens and Rogue One, has revealed his creative team will often use famous figures as inspiration for new characters. One of those characters is Admiral Raddus, a Mon Calamari alien and potential relative of Ackbar. He's got a little more meat on him than Ackbar, and for good reason: his appearance is based on former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
The resemblance is clear to see— just look at those jowls! However, Scanlon did note that the inspiration wasn't purely visual.
“Admiral Raddus is a very strong figure. We would use [Churchill] not only as visual reference for his physical features, but also when it came to performing him and expressing him through the actor."
Scanlon said a number of other cinema greats will now be forever immortalised through their new alien counterparts, including Bela Lugosi, Lee Van Cleef and Peter Lorre.
He also made mention of Ernest Borgnine, who looks to have inspired either Pao or Bistan— or both!
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In the past, George Lucas has drawn inspiration for his characters from all sorts of places. The idea for Chewbacca came from Lucas' dog Indiana, who would sit in the passenger seat of his car on rides; and Jar Jar Binks' behavior is based off Disney character Goofy (no surprises there).
Luckily, Lucasfilm also likes to create characters that aren't based on dogs, fictional or otherwise. Check out these politicians who have served as inspiration for the Star Wars universe:
Richard Nixon— Emperor Palpatine
George Lucas was definitely not a fan of Richard Nixon. He was so appalled at the Vietnam War that his reaction was to create a film with the idea that "democracies get turned into dictatorships". That film was A New Hope. In 1981, he quashed the idea that Palpatine had once been a Jedi by revealing his true backstory:
"No, he was a politician. Richard M. Nixon was his name. He subverted the senate and finally took over and became an imperial guy and he was really evil. But he pretended to be a really nice guy."
Bill Clinton— Finis Valorum
At the other end of the spectrum to Nixon we have Finis Valorum, Palpatine's predecessor. Not nearly as cunning as Palpatine and nowhere near as powerful, Valorum wasn't the most effective of politicians. He was unseated after Padme was tricked in to voting against him, passing his title to Palpatine.
Lucas has stated that Valorum is "a good man but he's beleaguered— a bit like Clinton". Wait, wouldn't that make George W. Bush Darth Sidius?
Arnold Schwarzenegger— ?
Arnie was one of the most notable names dropped by Scanlon for Rogue One. That's right: we're going to be seeing an alien based on the former Californian Governor. Could it be Kindergarten Cop Arnie? Terminator Arnie? Pregnant Junior Arnie? Either way, the alien in question should be easy to spot: he'll be buff as hell.
Can you spot Arnold Schwarzenegger's alien counterpart in the latest Rogue One featurette?
[Source: Entertainment Weekly]