Portraying both Hero and Villain, Veteran Voice Actor James Arnold Taylor Faces Off Against Himself in an All-New Episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Jay Cochran - March 01, 2011
Having freed the prisoners, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker search for a way out of the impenetrable Citadel prison. The brutal warden has more traps, perils and pitfalls in store for them, however, and the heroes must overcome their own differences in order to escape. After surviving their own daring break-in, it’s time for a “Counterattack” – the second chapter of a thrilling three-part storyline, airing at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT Friday, March 4 on Cartoon Network.
While Taylor is best known for providing the voice of The Clone Wars’ Obi-Wan Kenobi, he does far more for the series than just the staid and dulcet tones of that temperate Jedi Master. In the Citadel trilogy alone, he voices three very distinct characters – on both sides of the action-packed prison escape. In addition to Obi-Wan’s voice of reason, Taylor breathes life into Jedi Master Plo Koon and even the sadistic Citadel warden, Osi Sobeck.
“Most of the time, we work as a cast and we say our lines in sequence. Some actors need to kind of stay in the mode of the character, but [on The Clone Wars], we’re all very comfortable with just switching back and forth,” he says. “So when we did these sessions, it was a lot of fun. There was a point where I was doing all three [characters] in a scene, jumping from voice to voice. I love doing that stuff. I’m a ham. The fun thing about Osi – we’ll see, but I’m sure people have realized who I am actually doing. It’s not an impersonation, but it’s inspired by someone in particular – and as we went through the episode, it grew and changed. We’re not making fun; we’re paying homage to his acting beats and his style, but we’re not trying to fool anybody. Hopefully people will enjoy that and have fun with that, because that’s what we were doing.”
With so much fun going on behind the scenes, Taylor is understandably enthusiastic about being part of an ongoing project he enjoys so much. And while the sessions themselves are always so entertaining, he’s also quick to express his appreciation for the finished product, taken on its own merits.
“I watch the show because I’m a fan,” he says. “I love visually how it looks. I watch it from a study perspective, and I watch it because of the vital Star Wars elements that are in these episodes. I like these fun, swashbuckling, action episodes. That’s what was so fun about these; the [recording] sessions are like that, too. OK, we’re moving, you’re shouting, you’re fighting. The action ones, I can sink my teeth into immediately. I mean, come on, it doesn’t get any more Star Wars than that.”