Troy Kotsur consulted on ‘The Mandalorian’
After Troy Kotsur’s historic Oscar win for best supporting actor made him only the second deaf performer ever to receive the award, an old interview brought his involvement in The Mandalorian to light. Kotsur worked as a consultant to help develop the sign language the Tuskens people use to communicate. He even played an unnamed Tusken in episode 5 of the first season of The Mandalorian.
The Mandalorian tells the story of Din Djarin, a Mandalorian bounty hunter played by Pedro Pascal, who is contracted by Imperial forces to find and return the child Grogu to them. Instead, the Mandalorian becomes protective of the child, and works to return him to his own people, the Jedi order. While working towards this goal, the Mandalorian travels across the galaxy and encounters many diverse groups of people, such as the Tuskens. The Mandalorian must ask the Tuskens, also known as the Sand People, for safe passage through the planet Tatooine. In order to communicate with them, he uses a unique sign language — one developed specifically by Kotsur for the Star Wars universe.
This gig was a dream come true for Star Wars fan Kotsur. In an interview for the Daily Moth, Kotsur talks about how Star Wars impacted him as a deaf child:
“Remember that in the year of 1977, technology was limited and accessibility for Deaf people were limited, but that Star Wars movie blew my mind. It changed my life. Why? It was like “wet-eyes” – so visual for me. For the first 5 minutes, remember the opening of that movie? The spaceships shooting, the robots, C-3P0 scrambling, and all of that overwhelmed my eyes. I watched it 28 times. I watched the movie Star Wars: A New Hope 28 times.”
Kotsur was brought onto The Mandalorian when a hearing person advocated for a deaf person to consult on the show. In gratitude, Kotsur stated that: “This is a good example for why it is important to have sign language classes for hearing people, so they can become our allies for various opportunities out in the world.”
Kotsur’s work will continue to impact the Star Wars universe, not only The Mandalorian, but also in The Book of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi, again proving that representation matters.