By Josh Reilly B.
Troy Kotsur won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor on Sunday night, becoming just the second deaf performer to receive the honor. Kotsur appeared in CODA, which also won Best Picture at the event, and was a film that centered on a daughter of two deaf parents and the only member of the family who has hearing. It’s a feel good, emotional drama that Kotsur excels in, and his incredible performance has rightfully thrusted the 53 year old into the spotlight.
Kotsur has been in the film industry since the 1990’s, and has appeared in some notable television shows in particular, as well as being a theater actor. One of his latest TV appearances was in The Mandalorian, and the actor’s role as well as his behind the scenes input helped craft key details in the Din Djarin focused series as well as the more recent The Book of Boba Fett.
Kotsur appeared in The Mandalorian: Chapter 5 – The Gunslinger, the first of the series to be both written and directed by Dave Filoni, an episode which saw Din Djarin teaming up with a young bounty hunter as they attempt to catch Fennec Shand. The Gunslinger has some significant moments for the future of The Mandalorian as a show, with the introduction of Fennec Shand (and even Boba Fett, although his identity isn’t revealed until season 2), Tatooine on Star Wars TV, and the first appearance of Tusken Raiders in the Jon Favreau created shows. Tusken Raiders have a long history in the franchise, but they’ve been used in a significant way ever since The Mandalorian season 1.
Tony Kotsur played one of two Tusken Raiders than Djarin communicates with to get safe passage across their land, but he also developed the sign language used by his character and their species. Since then, the sign language has been used in The Mandalorian season 2, when Mando goes back to Tatooine and helps the Tusken Raiders and Cobb Vanth defeat the Krayt Dragon, and in this year’s The Book of Boba Fett. Although a different tribe, the Tusken Raiders play a big role in the Temuera Morrison-led series as they rescue Boba Fett from the Sarlaac Pit and welcome him into their family. Kotsur’s work to craft the Tusken’s hand symbols and movements appears prominently in the show, especially as Boba is unable to speak their language, meaning both sides are forced to use signs to communicate.
With Tony Kotsur winning an Oscar at this year’s ceremony, it’s a good time for Star Wars fans to remember the actor’s work in the franchise.
Images courtesy of Disney and Lucasfilm