Casting the EU: Captain Pellaeon
Tim here from Open-Airlock Policy. Thirty years ago this year, Heir to the Empire was released. One of the ways we’re celebrating the anniversary is by contemporarily casting the Thrawn trilogy, which introduced many new archetypal characters into the Star Wars universe.
Up this time is Captain Pellaeon. To anyone with slightly more than fleeting knowledge of Sherlock Holmes lore, the recognition of what Timothy Zahn was doing with the relationship between Thrawn and Pellaeon was instant. Thrawn: an eccentric and almost mysterious man who is highly effective in his craft, which is devising strategy and tactics in space combat and galactic politics. He devises these plans by intense analysis of the observable facts and determining the best course of action. Pellaeon: the frustrated yet intrigued companion of Thrawn constantly bewildered (at first) by his blue-skinned commanding officer’s conclusions and instructions until the methods wind up working out in their favor, leading the good captain to amazement. Such that happened in 221B Baker Street also took place in Thrawn’s meditation chamber...and Pellaeon, as the Watson, played the reader’s perspective to the tee.
So who better to portray Pellaeon than Watson in the version of Holmes considered to be quintessential? Of course, we are referring to Jeremy Brett’s brilliant portrayal of the consulting detective from the 1980s and 1990s. But wait! There were two John Watsons in the programming. The good doctor was first played by David Burke in the first series and subsequently by Edward Hardwicke. In my opinion, both put in applaudable performances to complement Brett’s Holmes, but for Pellaeon I am turning to Burke, who had a rougher edge in the interpretation of the character. As established in the opening scene in Heir to the Empire, Pellaeon had developed a habit of curt sharpness with the young crews of the Imperial remnant. Burke’s Watson, with some slight modification to his demeanor and appearance, would fit the bill almost perfectly.
David Burke has been in science-fiction before. First, in a starring role in 1971’s The Guardians, a dystopian-future story about a fascist UK government, and then in a guest spot under alien makeup on Space Precinct, a sci-fi police procedural.
Who would you cast as Captain Pellaeon?