Actor Clancy Brown Talks About Voicing Savage Opress for 'Star Wars: The Clone Wars'

Discusses Season Three DVDs and Next Appearance

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Savage Oppress in "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." Used with permission of Lucasfilm.
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Savage Oppress in "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." Used with permission of Lucasfilm.

I've been watching actor Clancy Brown in movies since I can remember. He's unforgettable in films like "Highlander," "Starship Troopers," and even "Pet Sematary Two." He is now voicing what most fans would call the coolest new addition to the world of "Star Wars" villains. I'm talking about Savage Opress. I had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Brown about his role as Opress for the release of "Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Complete Season Three" on Blu-ray/DVD and his future appearance in season four.

Savage Opress is one of the most important new villainous characters of "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." How does it feel to be that big of a part of the world of "Star Wars?"

First, I'm so grateful that I was invited to join the party. "Star Wars" has been a part of my life since I was in high school when I went and saw the original. It's like being asked to tour with Elvis. Any little piece of it would be terrific. It's also great because so many of my friends were already doing it like Dee Bradley Baker, James Arnold Taylor, Corey Burton, and those guys. I was always going to watch it for their sake but I fell in love with the show because it was so good and so original. Even though it's based on something that's 30 years old. It's really a spectacular job when you look at the technical aspects based on what I know about animation and movies. My son and I watched it together and were enjoying it so it was icing on the cake to be cast to do a little piece. Then to do such a cool and brand new character that really didn't have any expectations except what we already knew of his species. He was really an original character. I can't tell you how happy I am to be voicing Savage and being on "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." I am constantly amazed on every level at how lucky I am.

Why do you think that Savage Opress caught on so quickly with "Star Wars" fans?

He caught on so quickly because of the brevity and popularity of Darth Maul. We want to know more about his species. The older fans were connecting them to begin with and trying to understand more of Maul's story through Savage. I think younger fans recognized he was just a huge dude and there was nobody like him. He was raw power and it's the same kind of popularity as creatures like the Hulk and Thor. They're just big, overpowering, and unstoppable. The boys like that. They like the idea of growing up to be that way. There was also how he was made. He started out smaller, skilled, and more normal. He was turned into a monster against his will. It was okay to like that kind of power, even though it's from the Dark Side, because it wasn't something he chose to do. It was something he was forced to do.

Many "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" viewers felt that those particular three episodes you're in are the best of season three. Why do you think that is?

I felt like they went back and touched base with the first trilogy. They went back to the roots. They were magical with the sorcery. I love the fact that instead of all this technology and politics there was something a little more mysterious and other dimensional. It was a little scarier than technology. We didn't know what the Force was in the first trilogy. In the second trilogy, we got the Midi-chlorians. It became this scientific and medical thing.

How do you get into your character of Savage Opress? Where do you draw your influence from to get into the character?

I mostly look at the artwork and then see where I fit in within the storylines. The character is similar to one I played when I was very young. It was Frankenstein's Monster in a movie nobody saw called "The Bride." If I had to say where he came from it probably would be from there. Although he's much more magical and not a character of science. He really comes out of what is written. The scripts are very well written so you know exactly what you're supposed to do. It's just a matter of whether you can pull it off or not. All I can hope is that Savage resonates as much as some of the other characters in that world. There are many similarities and thematic points that he reflects. Get into it and don't be afraid to think about it philosophically.

What was the biggest challenge in taking on the role of Savage Opress?

I was completely intimidated by the whole operation. I feel like I've grown up with "Star Wars" and I just wanted to be good enough to be a part of it. When you see something that's so excellent it can be intimidating to walk into it no matter how many people you know. I think Dee Bradley Baker is doing some of the best work he's ever done. Corey Burton and James Arnold Taylor are without peer in voiceover. You get thrown in with the varsity there and just want to do your assignment well enough to be invited back. That was the biggest challenge. I've felt like that since I started out doing voiceover and acting.

We've been told we're going to see more of Savage in the near future. Can you expand on that as much as you can?

He's been sent on a quest so we'll find out what that is. It's impossible for me to tell how many episodes I'm in because of the way it's recorded. Sometimes you're recording more than one episode at a sitting. Often you can't get all the people in the same room. There's other times where you go back in and do things later. I never really know how big the arc is. I can't even remember what happens. I can remember bits and pieces but they're out of continuity. I'm waiting to see it as much as you. When we did it, I knew what it was. I also know that I have to go record something else, but I don't know if it's part of season three or season four. I do know that I still have that enormous dual bladed lightsaber.

Are there any special features on the upcoming DVD release of "Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Complete Season Three" that will focus on your character of Savage Opress?

I did an interview for it so I believe that will be in there. I saw some of the actors do their interviews. Everybody in the show is such a fan of it and of the world. You hear people like Dee talk about the psychology of the clones. Other folks talk about how the world has developed and where the show might go. We're not just functionaries doing this. We're enormous fans. They think about it so deeply and I think that is reflected in the show. I can listen to Dave Filoni talk about it all day long.

For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:

'Star Wars: The Clone Wars' Sound Designer/Voice Actor Talks About 'Nomad Droids'

Supervising Director Dave Filoni Tells Us What to Expect from Season 4 of 'Star Wars: The Clone Wars'

'Star Wars: The Clone Wars': Young Darth Vader Tells us What to Expect in Season 4

Eric Shirey is the founder and editor of Rondo Award nominated movie news websites MovieGeekFeed.com and TheSpectralRealm.com. His work has been featured on Yahoo! Movies, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! TV, Associated Content from Yahoo!, DC Comics, StarWars.com, KISSOnline.com, and other national entertainment websites. Eric has interviewed and worked with actors like Harrison Ford, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Gerard Butler, Brooke Shields, Brendan Fraser, Michelle Monaghan, Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Gene Simmons, Ashley Tisdale, Selena Gomez and many more.

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