(Warning — the following contains at least one moderate SPOILER for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. If you still haven't gotten around to seeing it, proceed with whatever level of caution that suggests to you is prudent...)
Now, if there's one thing that the Internet has grown determinedly good at in recent years, it's sniffing out fakery. From Earth-shattering corporate lies through to minor personal details about minor Internet celebrities, there's seemingly always someone out there willing to expose fraudulence, deception and good ol' fashioned pranking for what they are: a trick.
As a result, it's perhaps not too surprising that the latest poster-child for false Internet exposure didn't actually manage to last that long — though it may have come as something a surprise to him, seeing as he had intentionally chosen someone distinctly tricky to identify. Y'see...
A 23-Year Old Guy From England Pretended He Was TR-8R in 'Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens'
Yup, that's right. That TR-8R. The stormtrooper who confronted Finn during the assault on Maz Kanata's castle, and stole the Internet's heart in the process.
And who, if you were to believe Twitter about a week ago, was played by a fresh-faced young English actor and chef, Alex Rolt.
Who, in a (now-deleted) interview with his local newspaper, The Crawley News, revealed that he had originally been cast as one of the Knights of Ren, before being asked — thanks to his fencing training — to take on the role later affectionately dubbed TR-8R:
"To be honest, I didn't think it would get used because it was rehearsed so quickly. I had to have some training with the prop. They got me in the Stormtrooper outfit but the prop (sword) didn't have a clip or anything on the uniform, so I had to hold it in a certain way then deliver the line "Traitor!", move from point A to point B then engage, and John would do his thing and we would start fighting."
He even had some sweet words for John Boyega, a.k.a. Finn, his opponent in the scene:
"He is a really nice guy... You build up this image of celebrities but he's just an average bloke. We bonded really quickly... When I took my helmet off and spoke to him he was amazed that I was some guy who lived down the road from him (Boyega is from Peckham). He assumed all the Stormtroopers would be American actors. We had lunch and chatted. It really helped the scene because we bonded."
The only problem?
Alex Rolt Didn't Actually Play TR-8R.
Indeed, Rolt had not only not played the Stormtrooper, but he hadn't actually been in the movie at all — with Lucasfilm revealing that the role was in fact played by an actor named Liang Yang. Rolt, it seemed, had made the whole thing up.
Which, as it turned out, the Internet (and, presumably, the guy who actually played him) didn't take to kindly to. Rolt has now deleted all of his social media accounts and released a number of pretty genuine-seeming apologies, but it seems unlikely he'll be invited to appear in Episode VIII anytime soon.
Should we really be all that mad at him, though? After all, who hasn't told the entire Internet and a major local news source that they were in one of the highest grossing movies of all time? Uh, guys? Guys?
What do you think, though?